Preventing “Privileged User” Fraud and Abuse

What Does Zero Trust Actually Mean?


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Zero Trust is about technology security. It’s one of the most secure ways to set up your network, although it can negatively affect productivity.

Most networks take a trust but verify approach. They assume every device that connects is supposed to be there. Access the network once, and you can go anywhere. Imagine you’re using a security pass to access a building, and once inside, there are no further security checks, so you can enter every room.

Cybercriminals love this approach for obvious reasons.

Zero Trust is the opposite approach. Every login and device is treated as a potential threat until it’s authenticated, validated, and authorized. Once in, you can’t access other parts of the network without going through this process again. Back to the building analogy – once inside the building, you are surrounded by security doors and must use your security pass to get through each one. If your key isn’t valid, you’re limited in where you can go.

Zero Trust has benefits, especially with many people working remotely. But it can have a negative effect on your workflow and can slow down your team.

Pros of using the Zero Trust Model

  • Less vulnerability. Once in place, the Zero Trust model better secures the company, especially from in-network lateral threats that could manifest under a different security model.
  • Strong policies for user identification and access. Zero Trust requires strong management of users inside the network, so their accounts are more secure, making the entire network more secure.
  • Smart segmentation of data. In a Zero Trust model, you wouldn’t have one big pool of data that all users could access. Segmenting data according to type, sensitivity, and use provides a more secure setup. This way, critical or sensitive data is protected, and potential attack surfaces are reduced.
  • Increased data protection. Zero Trust also keeps data well-guarded in both storage and transit. This means things like automated backups and encrypted or hashed message transmission.
  • Good security orchestration. In an ideal Zero Trust model, no holes are left uncovered, and the combined elements complement one another rather than presenting contradictions.

Challenges of using the Zero Trust Model

With all these additional security strengths, the Zero Trust model does make a security policy more complicated. Here are some of the other challenges that come with such a comprehensive strategy:

  • Time and effort to set up. Reorganizing policies within an existing network can be complex because it still needs to function during the transition. Often, it’s easier to build a new network from scratch and then switch over. If legacy systems are incompatible with the Zero Trust framework, starting from scratch will be necessary.
  • Increased management of varied users. Employee users must be monitored more closely, with access only granted as necessary. And users can go beyond employees. Customers, clients, and third-party vendors may also use the company’s website or access data. This means there’s a wide variety of access points, and a Zero Trust framework requires specific policies for each type of group.
  • More devices to manage. Today’s work environment includes not only different kinds of users but several types of devices for each of them. Different devices may have their own properties and communication protocols which must be monitored and secured specifically to their type.
  • More complicated application management. Likewise, applications are varied. Apps are often cloud-based with use across multiple platforms. They may be shared with third parties. In line with a Zero Trust mentality, app use should be planned, monitored, and tailored to user needs.
  • More careful data security. These days there’s more than one location data is stored, which means there are more sites to protect. Data configuration needs to be done responsibly with the highest security standards.

The Zero Trust model is a robust security framework–it just takes a lot of effort to set up. If the company does get penetrated by a cyberattack, the virus can’t move laterally through the network. So, this comprehensive, specified approach is a good idea in security terms. The question is whether and how your company can switch over to it.

If you want to talk through whether it’s right for your business, get in touch.

Information used in this article was provided by our partners at MSP Marketing Edge.


Want To Learn More?

Connect with one of our professionals today.