Zero Trust 101: A Brief Guide Into the Future of Security

Develop a Robust Security Approach With Zero Trust

It’s highly likely that you’ve already heard about Zero Trust by now. Countless experts have already discussed the extreme importance of adhering to this security approach to face today’s cybersecurity challenges. Actually, many companies are already using this method to mitigate the potential risks associated with modern work.

However, the fact that Zero Trust isn’t a new concept doesn’t make it less valuable to review what it can mean for your organization. In fact, knowing the basics about it is essential for you to develop a more robust security approach for the so-called “new normal”, one capable of dealing with remote work, distributed teams, and increasingly cloud-based tech environments.

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What Is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is an approach to cybersecurity that relies on the continuous authentication, authorization, and validation of all the users of a particular system. With this approach, everyone who tries to access any level within a system has to be verified, as the system never trusts anyone. This means that every move within the system is extremely scrutinized regardless of who the user actually is. 

Thus, the guiding principle of Zero Trust is the least privilege, which covers everything in the system, including:

  • Applications
  • Data
  • Devices
  • Identities
  • Infrastructure
  • Network

The goal of the Zero Trust model is to create a stronger digital environment that extends beyond the corporate infrastructure to reach employees wherever they might be. That’s what makes it so valuable for the years to come – it’s the perfect security model for the remote work era. 

It’s worth noting that this approach implies moving away from the traditional “trust but verify” approach that became the standard over the last years. Experts realized that assuming everything in a corporate system is to be trusted was a bad approach, as doing that will likely fail to identify real threats disguised as proper users. 

How Does Zero Trust Work?

Though the proper implementation depends on the system on which it’ll be applied, we can say that Zero Trust works by following these principles:

  • Everything is a potential threat. All users and endpoints might pose a risk for the entire system, which is why the network requires authentication and authorization for everyone.
  • Least privilege access is the main policy. After authenticating and authorizing a particular user, the system only allows them the lowest privilege level possible to do their job.
  • The whole system is micro-segmented. The entire digital environment is divided into small fragments that allow the administrator to better contain an attack.
  • Everything is monitored at all times. The entire system is under surveillance 24/7 to identify breaches more quickly.
  • It leverages the latest security technologies. Zero Trust always resorts to the most robust and newest prevention techniques, such as multi-factor authentication and active session-based risk detection.

Implementing Zero Trust in Your Company

The first step towards a successful implementation of Zero Trust in your organization is to know the principles above in detail.  That will let you design a proper security strategy with this approach at its core. After that, you should follow these steps:

  • Assess your current security situation

    To properly protect your environment, you need to know its current state. This means analyzing which assets you have in place, including the platforms you use, the applications you integrate, and the devices that connect to your network, be them in-office or remote. Also, take a look at your current security solution to understand its pros and cons.

  • Implement new tech solutions to fill the gaps

    Your security system might have holes in it that need to be patched. Use the necessary tools to fill them up and review your protocols to ensure that your work practices are aligned with the security standards of the Zero Trust approach.

  • Redesign your security practices

    Integrating tools is just a part of the enhancement of your infrastructure. Next, you’ll need to redesign your security practices, changing them following the Zero Trust principles. This might mean tweaking a couple of small work practices or revamping your entire workflow. Either way, you’ll need to retrain your employees to comply with the new approach.

  • Establish a continuous monitoring protocol

    After implementing new tools and practices, it’ll be time to institute a control system that provides you with an overview of your entire digital environment in real-time. Though you have many alternatives, the best option out there is using AI algorithms to automate the surveillance tasks while improving your response times in case of attack or breach.

Zero Trust and Distributed Teams

Since Zero Trust is in part pushed by the rise in remote work and distributed teams, you might be asking what it means to implement this approach when you have people working from home. At BairesDev, we’ve been using distributed teams with this approach since day one, so we know that the following measures can do wonders for your organization:

  • Secure the hardware used by your remote employees

    Institute a protocol through which you can veto the devices used by your remote team. This is especially important if you can’t provide that hardware yourself, as you need to make sure that your employees are using the most secure apps and following the safest practices regarding software updates.

  • Create a protocol regarding safe practices

    Each and every one of your remote employees is a potential vulnerability. That’s why you need to create a security protocol covering everything about working remotely, including seemingly simple things like password creation and MFA.

  • Help your employees strengthen their digital environments

    On one hand, this means checking the security level of their internet connections and aiding them in making them safer. On the other hand, it can also mean installing a VPN in their devices to bring even more security.

  • Create an ongoing training program

    As it happens with all security efforts, Zero Trust isn’t a once-and-done effort. You’ll surely change practices and protocols many times and you’ll implement new security measures. That means you’ll need to train your workforce on every change you make, something that can only be done through an ongoing program.

The Future Starts Today

The rise of Zero Trust to the frontlines of cybersecurity isn’t a coincidence. With the increasing presence of threats and the multiplication of vulnerable endpoints due to the proliferation of cloud-based environments, companies needed a stricter approach to digital security. That’s why many are already jumping on board the Zero Trust wagon – because it provides them with the security level they need to face the new challenges of the digital world. 

And that’s why you should start embracing Zero Trust today – because every minute you don’t take any action is another minute you expose yourself to attacks. Besides, starting to adopt Zero Trust today will provide you with plenty of time to incrementally implement the necessary solutions to make that approach a reality.

So, if you’re ready to begin your journey into the cybersecurity approach for the future, don’t hesitate – contact BairesDev and let our Top 1% security experts help you define the better tools and platforms for your needs. We can help you build a strong foundation to better protect your digital assets from today’s threats and aid you with enforcing the Zero Trust approach.

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