What is Zero Trust and why should you care?

December 13, 2021 Claranet Limited

'A zero trust architecture is an approach to system design where inherent trust in the network is removed.'- National Cyber Security Centre

Zero Trust is a security model that aims to protect your IT infrastructure from cyber threats. It operates on the basis that you shouldn't trust users outside or inside your network. This means users must verify themselves before gaining access.

You can't buy or install Zero Trust. Instead, you have to implement a policy for identity authentication, levels of authorisation, and the security of your devices. This applies to every member of your organisation, from the CEO to the office intern—there are no exceptions.

Some cybersecurity firms are capitalising on the concept, marketing their products as being Zero Trust. The truth is you can't buy or install Zero Trust; it’s a framework, not a tool that magically makes your network breach-free. Best practice means you need to implement a policy for identity authentication, levels of authorisation, and the security of your devices, applying the ‘never trust, always verify’ model to every member of your organisation, from the CEO to the office intern—there are no exceptions.

Now you know what Zero Trust is, let's look at why you should care.

Security software isn't enough

You have anti-malware, phishing software and firewalls in place. And yet one tiny mistake could put your entire network at risk.

Don't believe us? The password '123456' is still the most common worldwide, despite the fact that between 2018 and 2019 it was responsible for 23.2 million breaches.

Weak passwords aren't the only ones targeted, however. After all, there's no such thing as a truly strong password.

If you want to guarantee access to authorised personnel only, enable multi-factor authentication. This asks users to enter a passcode or answer a security question only they know.

By regarding all users as suspicious until they're proven otherwise, you can prevent malicious insiders and outsiders from hacking into your network.

To err is human

Did you know that human error accounts for 23 percent of cyber breaches? It's often the result of a lack of training or plain forgetfulness.

With this in mind, why would you give access to every area of your network to each user within it?

By implementing an Identity and Access Management policy (IAM), only those with a higher level of clearance can access more sensitive data. This reduces the chances of human error.

Access from anywhere?

Since March 2020, the way we work has changed. Many businesses now have remote or hybrid working policies in place, allowing their employees to work not just from home, but from the coffee shop around the corner, or even from a beach hut on the other side of the world.

This has introduced two main concerns: the security of endpoint devices and the security of their connections.

With a zero-trust strategy in place, organisations can address the challenge of protecting off-network devices by improving endpoint visibility. Vulnerability scanning, robust patching policies, and web filtering are all critical elements of a zero-trust strategy. In addition, a zero-trust approach can enable secure remote access to networked resources via VPN connectivity. This allows security teams to see, control, and protect every asset whether it is on or off the network.

Going beyond VPN, ZTNA extends traditional ZTA network access to per-application usage, so systems administrators not only know who is on the network but even which applications they are currently using, with transactions and usage constantly being monitored and inspected.

You can implement these solutions as part of your Zero Trust architecture. But with the right cybersecurity partner, you can go much further.

Zero Trust for tighter security

Zero Trust is more than the security platform you use. It requires you to not only change how you implement security, but how you think about it.

That said, the shift to this new mindset isn't always easy. That's where Claranet comes in.

We provide penetration testing that will identify vulnerabilities, while our security training will help you secure your networks to the highest standard.

With 25 years of industry experience, you can trust Claranet to help you on your journey towards Zero Trust. Contact us today to find out more.

 

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