Zero Trust requires a complete change to your existing infrastructure. The transition can be a challenge and often involves the use of multiple technologies.
Look for a solution that offers granular visibility and reporting, supports risk-based conditional access, and can be deployed in stages without disrupting business operations. Also, incorporate micro-segmentation and a platform that can detect and respond to anomalies.
Zero trust network access uses software-defined perimeter tools, identity-aware proxies, and micro-segmentation to limit users’ direct exposure to applications, servers, and data assets. Instead, users must first go through a controlled gateway to access them. Allows administrators to monitor and control granularly what users can do with applications on a need-to-know basis. It enables organizations to reduce their reliance on VPNs and other traditional security systems that don’t provide the same level of protection.
Zero Trust also operates on a continuous verification model that authenticates, authorizes, and filters data and services based on risk–never trusting users, devices, or locations. It prevents rogue applications from downloading malware to employee devices and limits a breach’s “blast radius” once inside an organization’s defenses.
However, implementing Zero Trust requires a significant commitment of time and staffing. Many teams must assess each device, user, and application to determine whether they are a threat. If the process moves too slowly, it can increase costs and stifle organizational agility.
Another challenge is ensuring that Zero Trust doesn’t negatively impact end-user experience or performance. If the security measures are too strict, employees may become frustrated as they encounter roadblocks that make it challenging to complete their jobs. In addition, overly stringent authentication requirements can incentivize employees to circumvent them by reusing passwords and using less secure logging methods.
Reduced Risk of Data Breach
The Zero Trust model shifts from “trust but verify” to “never trust, always verify.” Users and devices are assumed to be hostile and must be verified, regardless of whether inside or outside the network. This approach evaluates access requests based on risk factors like user and device context and granular application-level access controls. It prevents attackers from stealing a credential and moving laterally into your organization.
Once you adopt a zero-trust security posture, you must continually monitor your network and assets and keep up with the latest patches and updates for applications and systems. Additionally, your network needs to be segmented into small pieces that minimize the damage if a breach does occur in one section.
It is the only way to implement a proper Zero Trust security posture that reduces the risks associated with sensitive data exposure. Fortunately, an MSP can help you identify your most valuable data and implement the proper protection measures to stop attacks before they happen.
Zero trust can also improve the way your employees interact with critical resources. For example, single sign-on reduces the number of password ends users need to manage, and multifactor authentication eliminates phishing attacks by ensuring that only authenticated users gain access. In addition, remote workers can get the same access to applications and infrastructure that they would in your corporate offices without having to deal with complicated VPN setups or constantly logging in and out of their devices.
Reduced Risk of Credential Theft
Zero trust relies on the principle of “never trust, always verify.” Authenticating users and assessing device context (including IP addresses, MAC addresses, and operating systems) before providing access helps limit the damage of an internal breach or ransomware attack.
Another core concept is using multifactor authentication (MFA) to verify that a user or device is who and what they say. Most modern online services require MFA to gain access—think of the two-factor verification used on your bank account or email provider when you log in with 2FA. Zero trust and MFA make it much more difficult for attackers to exploit user credentials stolen from your internal network to obtain illegal access.
By reducing the number of potential entry points for hostile actors, companies can lower the risk of internal breaches by implementing the concepts of Zero Trust and the direction of least privilege. For example, using the principles of Zero Trust to implement a secure microperimetry around specific assets determines how far attackers can move inside your network or cloud instance.
Deploying a Zero Trust strategy requires an investment in tools and personnel. However, reduced hosting and licensing costs for perimeter-based security tools and increased productivity from less time spent on manual tasks can offset this. Additionally, a 2021 study found that organizations with a mature Zero Trust approach saw significant cost savings in operational expenses.
Improved User Experience
As organizations migrate to Zero Trust, they need to focus on delivering a quality user experience. With it, employees may adopt the new processes and be more likely to follow security procedures or use the technology. It can lead to a loss of productivity and puts the organization at risk for attacks by unauthorized users with access to the network.
With Zero Trust, identity is the perimeter, so no device, user, or application is trusted to enter the enterprise until verified. It is a significant change from traditional network security that used a “trust but verify” method, which trusts all devices and users inside a private network’s perimeter until proven otherwise.
The Zero Trust approach allows for granular security policies that are adaptive and contextual to be created, meaning that security teams can reshape which devices, users, applications, and services are allowed to connect to their private networks based on data sensitivity, access patterns, device types, etc. It allows for continuous compliance and streamlines the creation of policies, reducing the time it takes to implement Zero Trust for any organization.
However, the human side of Zero Trust must also be addressed. Agencies should help their employees understand why they need to go through the extra steps to ensure their cybersecurity and provide them with a clear path that they can take if they encounter problems with the new process. It helps to avoid confusion, frustration, and a lack of adoption.