Zero Trust Security: How Does It Work and Who Needs It?
Gone are the days when employees worked from just one location, supported by a local IT infrastructure. Today, remote work arrangements are common and highly sought-after, and the traditional network perimeter doesn’t exist anymore because employees now rely on a combination of work and personal devices to access a growing number of cloud services.
This new IT environment has made traditional approaches to cybersecurity ineffective, leading to an explosion of data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other costly incidents. Fortunately, a more robust approach to cybersecurity already exists, and it’s called zero trust security. Let’s take a closer look at how it works and who should implement it.
What Is Zero Trust Security?
As the name implies, zero trust security is a security model that doesn’t trust any user, device, or application by default, regardless of whether they’re located within the main network or outside.
Don’t be surprised if this model seems familiar to you. It was actually first presented by an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in 2010. While many large enterprises have been relying on it for a long time, most SMBs were perfectly content with the castle-and-moat approach to security.
In the castle-and-moat approach, everything inside the network (= the castle) is trusted, and only outside connections are verified by a firewall or other security tools (= the moat). As you can imagine, this approach stops working when employees are forced to leave their offices because of a global pandemic, or when organizations embrace the cloud to increase their efficiency and lower their costs.
As soon as an intruder gets over the moat, they can do whatever they please inside the castle, and that’s unacceptable.
By always authenticating and authorizing all users, devices, and applications (even if they already reside inside the castle), zero trust security prevents a single intrusion from having disastrous consequences. Essentially, it ensures that all doors inside the castle are safely locked all the time and impossible to open by force.
When a remote employee working for an organization that has adopted the zero trust security model becomes compromised, the impact is highly localized because the threat is unable to move laterally across the network and keep spreading. The same happens when a third-party cloud vendor becomes infected with malware, or when one employee’s personal mobile device has spyware installed on it.
What Are the Main Benefits of Zero Trust Security?
According to a recently published report, the global market size of zero trust security is expected reach $51.6 billion by 2026 from $19.6 billion in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 17.4 percent.
Clearly, many organizations see zero trust security as the best way forward, and improved security posture isn’t the only benefit they’re attracted by. Here are three other important benefits of zero trust security you should know about:
- Enhanced compliance: Zero trust security relies heavily on microsegmentation, the creation of many small perimeters, making it possible for organizations to control exactly how, when, and by who certain types of data are accessed. Such a granular level of access control is a boon when it comes to supporting compliance initiatives.
- Accelerated digital transformation: Security is one of the biggest obstacles organizations need to overcome when they decide to embrace digital transformation. Zero trust security provides a holistic solution for addressing the challenges associated with moving from analog to digital, regardless of what the move involves.
- Improved network visibility: Because zero trust security assumes that all connections are potentially malicious, it requires real-time monitoring of the entire network to vet connections coming from both inside and outside the local network. As a result, organizations get to enjoy a comprehensive record of all network activity, allowing them to check every access request and see exactly who and when made it.
How to Achieve Zero Trust Security?
Zero trust security is a holistic security model, so it doesn’t depend on any specific technology. There are, however, certain principles that all zero trust security implementations must follow:
- Explicit verification: Always authenticate and authorize regardless of where the access request comes from.
- Least privileged access: Let trusted users, devices, and applications do only what they’re trusted for.
- Microsegmentation: Divide the network into microsegments to prevent malware from moving laterally across it.
Since there are countless different ways to achieve zero trust security, it’s paramount that you select the approach that best meets your needs and requirements.
At TechGen Consulting, we deploy ThreatLocker to empower organizations with application whitelisting, ringfencing, and data storage control capabilities, giving them everything they need to continuously monitor user behavior and authenticates every request.
ThreatLocker is affordable, and suitable for organizations of all sizes. Get in touch with us to learn more about how it can give you complete mastery over your endpoints.