The Importance of Zero Trust
October 13, 2023 | 8 min read
Traditionally, tech companies have relied on the perimeter security model, which makes it hard to obtain access from outside the network but assumes that everyone inside the network should be trusted and given access to every single resource - no questions asked. This security model only focused on who was going into and outside of the network and not necessarily what they did when they were inside the network.
Due to the digital transformation and the move to hybrid cloud infrastructure, the way companies do business has changed. They no longer have their data in one place, and certain information is often spread across cloud vendors. Also, thousands of individuals are now connecting from home computers outside an IT department’s control.
Since users, data, and resources are spread across the globe, following the assumption that a user with access to the network is automatically good doesn’t cut it anymore and could lead to data breaches, costing companies millions of dollars. We need to take our security a step further, and that’s where Zero Trust comes in! This article highlights the importance of the zero trust security model.
But first, what is Zero Trust?
Zero Trust is a security model that’s rooted in the principle of treating users, systems, and network traffic as fundamentally untrusted even though they are within the security perimeter established by a firewall. So, where the perimeter security model says to trust anyone and anything inside the network, zero Trust says to make no assumptions about Trust and explicitly check each time.
Zero Trust requires that we rework how we think about system identity and ensure that every access request is fully authenticated, authorized, and encrypted before it is granted access.
Why is Zero Trust important?
Today’s organizations, especially organizations adopting the cloud native architecture, need a security model that seamlessly embraces the hybrid workplace, adapts to the complexity of the modern environment, and protects people and resources (e.g., devices, apps, and data) wherever they’re located. Zero Trust provides that level of security! Let’s discuss in detail the benefits of adopting zero Trust:
1. Reduces the impact of data breaches
The zero trust security model provides robust protection for data by ensuring that access is granted only to those who need it for their specific tasks. This approach prevents unauthorized access and reduces the risk of data being moved or copied without permission.
Even when it comes to insider threats, whether accidental or malicious, Zero Trust mitigates this risk by applying the same rigorous access controls to everyone, regardless of their position in the company. With this, even compromised devices that are allowed entry into a network or cloud instance will not be able to access or steal data because of Zero Trust’s single secure segment capability that prevents attackers from moving laterally to more critical resources if an account or device is compromised.
Implementing the zero trust security model alleviates the impact and extremity of successful attacks, reducing cleanup time and cost.
2. Provides better system and network visibility
Since zero Trust always assumes breach and verifies each request, it has the uniqueness to be able to spot anomalies at different points in the application easily.
You can also select which resources and activities need coverage in your security strategy and set up monitoring specifically for them. This will enable you to monitor who is accessing what resources, at what time, and from which location.
This level of control makes detecting unusual activity faster and, in turn, prevents potential data breaches and other security incidents.
With improved visibility, organizations now better understand their network operations, identify potential vulnerabilities and make informed decisions about resource allocation and risk management.
3. Supports the continuous digital transformation of the world
The zero trust security model is highly adaptable to modern work environments, often involving remote work and personal devices. By granting access strictly on a need-to-know basis, zero Trust minimizes the attack surface and makes it substantially more challenging for potential intruders to gain unauthorized access. This heightened level of security is particularly beneficial in today’s technological landscape, where cyber threats are becoming more pervasive and sophisticated. If you’re looking for a way to improve your company’s security, especially in the wake of changes within the IT environment, Zero Trust may be the right solution.
4. Provides more access control of cloud and container environments
One of the greatest fears of security practitioners moving to the cloud is managing access and the loss of visibility. Zero Trust addresses these concerns by providing a safety net to maintain high security without the need to rely on a physical location to authenticate access to the applications & databases a user is authorized to access. It is a crucial component of securing hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments.
5. Makes staying complaint seamless
Implementing the zero trust security models enables companies to meet several compliance rules, all while allowing their users or employees to utilize and access their systems seamlessly after their identity is proven. Here are some scenarios of how zero Trust ensures continuous compliance across multiple industries and regulatory frameworks:
- Tracking the time, location, and applications involved in each access request creates a seamless and transparent audit trail. This visible chain of evidence for all access requests reduces the effort required to produce proof, making compliance reviews faster and more efficient.
- Zero Trust protects all user and workload connections from the internet to ensure they aren’t exploited or exposed. This makes it easier to demonstrate compliance with privacy standards and regulations, resulting in fewer findings during audits.
- With zero Trust, organizations can ensure their sensitive data is secure during storage and transit, helping them comply with data protection regulations and maintain customer trust.
The world has continued to evolve over the years. Many users, applications, and network traffic now reside outside of a traditional perimeter, depriving enterprises of control over a closed network. We’ve reached that point where we need to utilize a security model that caters to the complexity of the modern environment, embraces the mobile workforce, and protects people, devices, apps, and data wherever they’re located.
Zero Trust is a powerful security model that helps companies improve their security posture, increase efficiency, and meet compliance requirements. Embracing the zero trust security model means adopting technologies, ways of working, and policies that support business agility while enhancing security.
Of course, no security model is perfect, but the Zero Trust security model is among today’s most effective models. You should try it out!