Just as every rose has approximately 23.5 thorns, every business innovation gives rise to an array of cybercrimes designed to exploit it. As we become a more connected world — sharing data and processes, sending live communications over mountains and oceans, and logging on to apps hosted across any number of nations — nefarious threats rise to meet our best intentions.
It’s no wonder Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that, by 2021, businesses will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds.
As much as we’d love to believe that our firewalls are sound, that our sensitive interactions are private, and that our employees remember to log out of company applications, reality tells a different story. This is why companies of every size have implemented Zero Trust Architecture.
We dove into why every company should adopt a Zero Trust Architecture, and even how you can apply it to the public cloud. Here, we’ll look at the technologies and principles that make such an effective defense for your valuable business data.
You may also like: How to Go Zero Trust, Part 1: Why the Architecture Matters.
Popping the Bubble
Traditionally, businesses considered everything within their network to be secure. Imagine drawing a bubble around your place of business, and making the assumption that everything inside that bubble was safe. If a hacker was to infiltrate that bubble, nobody would know or care what they were up to because it was considered a safe zone. With Zero Trust Architecture, nothing inside that bubble is trusted.
Zero Trust is applied at the application-level and sets certain parameters around who can access the application, where they can access it from, and what validation steps they need to take to gain access.
Microsegmentation breaks up security parameters into small zones within your network. Accessing different parts of the network requires different levels of access and validation steps. This way, if there is sensitive information regarding billing, only those employees who are in billing can access it.
Microsegmentation helps IT professionals tailor security settings to different types of traffic, so certain devices can only talk to specific devices. This decreases the network attack surface, reducing the risk of a hacker moving from one compromised application to another once they’re inside your organization.
Moreover, Microsegmentation improves operational efficiency and drives down costs. Access control list and firewall policies require significant management overhead and can be difficult to scale. Microsegmentation makes it easy to define segments and modify them when needed.
You’ve probably seen this buzzword come up a lot if you’re purchasing collaboration tools that boast strong security. Multi-factor Authentication, or MFA, is a core part of Zero Trust Architecture. Basically, it means you need more than one piece of evidence before you are allowed access to a folder or application.
So, if you are trying to access a file from a computer that’s unknown to the application, it will prompt you to take steps to confirm your identity — like sending a code to your email. This ensures that every transaction at the application level is monitored and second-guessed.
Identity and Access Management
Identity and Access Management (IAM) enables you to manage access to company resources securely by creating and managing user permissions. IAM helps you take Zero Trust Architecture to its most granular level, specifying conditions like time of day that access is granted, IP addresses that are permitted, and the particular method of multi-factor authentication that’s implemented for each application. You can even grant temporary credentials that expire when a user is no longer allowed to view a file or use an application.
Smell the Roses
Cybersecurity is a constant battle. No one tool or strategy will protect you for longer than it takes hackers to devise a way around it. With Zero Trust Architecture, however, you can gain complete control over user permissions and network security. Gain peace of mind knowing your applications are constantly “aware” of potential threats, and make it harder on hackers by placing roadblocks at every step of the way.