With a growing focus on work from anywhere and digital transformation, organizations must ensure secure access to applications, infrastructure and data. That requires a zero-trust framework. But implementing zero trust requires several policies, procedures and technologies. That can be daunting for many organizations.
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Security must change as the boundaries between work and home disintegrate and the remote workforce becomes the norm. Traditional perimeter-based security models must be replaced with new technologies that protect and secure an organization against modern threats.
Identity is the core component of a zero-trust architecture and is the key to the shift from implicit trust to authenticating and authorizing people based on their unique identity. The identity pillar relies on dynamic and contextual data analysis to ensure access is granted at the right time.
Many organizations have implemented various micro-segmentation tools, software-defined perimeter solutions and identity-aware proxies to support a zero-trust network access (ZTNA) model. However, these systems are often difficult to deploy and maintain, especially when running in a multi-cloud environment with users on both Windows and Mac computers. These tools are often incompatible with legacy and third-party applications designed around implicit trust. It leads to additional complexity, time and expense.
Instead, organizations should implement an end-to-end zero trust network access framework tightly integrated with their existing and widely used cloud applications and security infrastructure. This approach can simplify zero-trust deployment and help reduce costs.
A significant part of a zero-trust framework is the continuous evaluation and logging of access requests. It provides visibility into data and network activity, enabling companies to more accurately demonstrate compliance with privacy standards, regulations, and governance frameworks.
This visibility allows organizations to streamline audits and ensure their policies are updated with the latest technological changes. It makes it easier to meet compliance requirements and minimize the impact of an incident if it does occur.
As more and more employees work remotely and bring their own devices, it’s increasingly important to implement a zero-trust framework that supports the diverse security needs of mobile users. It includes ensuring that access to critical data isn’t compromised due to insecure remote access methods.
With continuous access verification, organizations can ensure that only authorized users can access sensitive data. It eliminates lateral movement, making it much more difficult for attackers to steal or infect sensitive data and applications.
Zero trust requires granular context-based policies that verify user access privileges based on the type of content being accessed, location, and the application involved. These policies are adaptive and reassessed as user and device behavior changes.
Finally, it’s essential to ensure that all access requests are terminated in a way that prevents malicious files from being delivered, preventing ransomware attacks and malware. It enables zero-trust systems to identify and mitigate threats as they happen, reducing the risk of data breaches.
In a digital world where data is the lifeblood of business, organizations have no choice but to embrace a zero-trust framework. This cybersecurity model requires all users to be authenticated and authorized before granting access to systems and data.
It also requires security controls to be applied granularly to applications, systems and data. This approach enables security teams to enforce accurate, least privileged per-request access decisions.
However, this new model does require a change in mindset at all levels of an organization. All employees need to understand the value of data and how to protect it from threats.
A vital element of a zero-trust security model is multi-factor authentication, which involves using more than one piece of evidence to authenticate users. Typically, this requires a password plus a second factor, such as a code sent to a user’s phone.
Another central element of a zero-trust security model is the ability to secure multiple devices simultaneously, such as mobile phones and laptops. It is essential in a workplace where employees have work-from-home environments, which often include their home Wi-Fi routers, IoT devices, and more.
Ultimately, this approach helps to protect businesses from cyber-attacks. Additionally, it lessens the chance of malware and data breaches, which can spread fast and readily across unprotected networks.
Today’s businesses face an ever-changing landscape that includes digital transformation, hybrid workplaces, and the emergence of cloud-based services. A zero-trust framework helps address these challenges by providing continuous verification based on identity attributes.
The first step is defining the policy governing the zero-trust environment. It requires a detailed analysis of the current network, resources, and security protocols. It should also account for the expansion of the network perimeter and the emergence of IoT devices, which pose a significant threat to internal networks.
Once the policy is defined, it can be applied to various networks. It should be able to track and enforce policy violations in real-time. It should also enhance alerts with meaningful contextual data. For example, it should be able to detect whether an employee is accessing the corporate network from a known physical device that is not protected by antivirus software. If a policy violation occurs, it should be able to immediately revoke the user’s access and provide them with a new password.
While a zero-trust framework isn’t necessarily easy to implement, it does offer long-term benefits. It can help organizations scale securely, minimize staffing and solutions-based overhead, and simplify management with centralized control. Additionally, making an effort to safeguard the assets and infrastructure of your business against cyberattacks is worthwhile.
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