Did your workspace undergo a work from home transition during the pandemic? If yes, you are no stranger to the security risks threatening virtual networks and connections.
The pandemic fueled the adoption of zero-trust security networks:
- 72% of organizations have already adopted or are in the process of adopting zero-trust security architecture.
- 90% of organizations have stated that zero trust security protocols are one of their top three IT and cybersecurity priorities.
And why shouldn’t it be? Deploying zero-trust practices can reduce the cost of a data breach by millions.
Are you looking to employ zero trust security protocols and not sure where to begin? Computers Nationwide is here with our guide on zero trust security to get you started with implementation.
Implementing a Zero Trust Environment
What is Zero Trust Security?
Zero Trust is not a product or a solution. Instead, it is a mindset of how to think about and construct your security architecture. It operates on a straightforward principle: Never Trust, Always Verify.
The framework protects data and resources by operating on the idea that no user, service, or device can be trusted inherently. It gives the minimum privileged access while continuously monitoring that the user/device is authenticated and has the authorization to access the resource.
“Zero trust can be defined as a security strategy designed to minimize the lateral movement of cyber attackers through the principle of “verify, but never trust.” In simpler terms, it’s basically a transition from the philosophy of implicit trust (that assumes everything inside the organization is safe) to a model where the corporate network is considered hostile and proactively verifies the security status of identities, endpoints, networks and other resources based on available security signals and data.” Forbes
Why is Zero Trust Security Important?
The rise of ‘as service platforms’ means that today data, applications, and software are not contained at local levels. This decentralization makes traditional security measures outdated and ineffective.
The ‘perimeter’ security model enforces trust at the boundaries, which means any user who comes in can move in anywhere without bounds. Malicious users can gain access to sensitive information without raising the alarm.
A zero-trust model, on the other hand, treats most connected devices as untrusted, enforcing strict security access around any data or IP that needs to be protected.
It follows the concept of perimeter-less security, following users wherever they go, and keeping all sensitive information safe. Zero trust security architecture, therefore, becomes an important strategy for cloud computing and remote work environments.
The Principles of Zero Trust
Zero-trust security models are based on three major principles:
- Grant required access only: Zero trust architecture offers the least amount of access needed for any individual to perform their job. Access is also time-sensitive, ensuring that nobody has access forever.
- Enable continuous verification: For zero-trust security models, there are no good guys. All users are required to authenticate their access to the information, data, systems, etc. before they can be allowed to enter the system.
- Keep monitoring: Compliance with zero trust security is ensured through real-time tracking and visibility of the actions taken by the active users.
View the diagram below to learn more about the zero-trust model from our partners at Microsoft:
Establishing a Zero Trust Environment at Your Workplace
- Understand the network, applications, and services in use – The first step is to identify all the physical and virtual aspects of your network including servers, routers, firewalls, wireless access points, virtual networks, electronic devices, etc. Once all the devices have been identified, you can draw your network to see what your users access and what you need to defend. All applications and services accessed with your network need to be cataloged including cloud services and workplace software such as project management software, cloud storage applications, email and communication applications, and data portals.
- Identify users having access to the network – The next step is to identify and group everyone who has access to your network into levels. All employees can be segmented based on job levels to grant the relevant authorization. Other collaborators such as contractual workers or freelancers will also need to be added to the system. This segmentation helps when granting authorization.
- Understand network behavior and data flows – This refers to understanding the daily functioning of your network. You should chalk out common processes that take place daily. How does the traffic flow through the network, who accesses the network, and when? Also identify how the network is usually used, what kinds of data changes hands among the employees, and when. This will help the security team to understand what the baseline behavior of the network is and the software can draw inferences regarding the security protocols that need to be established.
- Implement security tools to enforce zero-trust architecture – As zero-trust security is different from traditional security measures, implementation tools will require a change. You will have to adapt to new tools and technology to help you build an optimal structure for the company. Zero-trust tools include solutions such as identity management software, multi-factor authentication, user analytics, and unified portals to name a few. These help in identifying and understanding user behavior so malicious users or activity can be detected and apprehended beforehand. The portal creates an authorized funnel for applications so authenticated users can access data and access regular workflows and processes.
- Design and implement security protocols – Your mapped organization, authorized applications and personnel, and implemented tools cannot be successful unless you have the relevant security protocols in place. Your policies need to answer the following questions.
- Monitor and rework – Any implementation requires monitoring and constant improvement to meet new challenges and keep up with security concerns. Keeping a lookout for your zero-trust tools and weeding out any security issues can help you improve and better structure your strategy.
Looking for Professional Guidance in Creating a Zero-Trust Environment?
With the rapid development of IT and technology, keeping up with new cybersecurity concerns is a challenge for every business. Upgrading to the right security protocols can be daunting, costly, and ineffective if not handled with a trusted IT partner.
Whether you are looking for zero-trust security architecture, upgrading physical security, or need low-voltage cabling systems for your business, Computers Nationwide is your one-stop-shop for all business technology and security needs!
With efficient solutions and expert IT professionals, CN is the premier technology partner for businesses of all sizes in Illinois, Indiana, and Chicago.
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