Why You Need a Zero Trust Security Model
Sep 19, 2019
In today’s hyper-connected world, security issues often seem to compete with what we want. We want everything to move fast and freely, but security causes additional layers which inevitably slow down processes. We want to trust our team and react to issues as they arise, but true security is eliminating threats before they come.
Most importantly, businesses want to think about opportunity and growth. But a security breakdown with sensitive data can be so catastrophic the thoughts linger in minds of executives.
This is the lens through which you have to consider a zero-trust security model. You want the best of business in collaboration and speed but absolutely can’t afford to take any chances with a security breakdown.
What is a zero-trust security model?
At its simplest level, a zero-trust security model means not allowing any access to a network until determining that whatever is trying to access the system is verified as safe.
Rather than starting from a place of trust and then reacting to potential threats, a zero-trust model treats everything as if it is a threat. Only when proper verification has been established, is someone or something allowed to access the system.
This means that in practice a zero-trust security model is as concerned with internal network threats as it is with outside threats.
Why use a zero-trust security model?
Due to the growing threats of data breaches, zero-trust models are rapidly growing in popularity.
According to a study by IBM, the global average cost of a data breach is $3.92 Million. The study also showed the average size of a breach is increasing to over 25,000 records.
Cybersecurity Ventures produces an annual report on cybercrime and estimates online security crime will cost over $6 Trillion annually by 2021. The issue of data security is not going away and can be devastating for businesses.
If a zero-trust security model is the most effective way to combat cybercrime it’s worth considering simply because of the extreme threat. However, some businesses may still hesitate to implement zero-trust due to fears about being cumbersome for collaboration.
Where to start with zero-trust security
Know your network: The essential first step in implementing a zero-trust security model is to understand the infrastructure of your network. With zero-trust you have the ability to restrict access and also actions. This means you may allow individuals to access a document, but it’s read-only and can’t be changed or printed.
Before you can determine what to restrict, you need to see a full layout of the network and understand where threats and vulnerabilities may lie.
Prioritize: Every company has sensitive information and other documents that are not as risky. You don’t want to create unnecessary hoops to jump through with your security. An example is to make everything with financial records zero-trust while allowing other pieces of a company to flow more freely.
To execute with zero-trust requires work upfront. You have to analyze your own systems to determine what’s most sensitive and where the potential threats lie. Once you have a layout of how everything is connected, you can make the decision to be open by default or closed by default based on what’s being accessed.
The work is worthwhile because the confidence in knowing your sensitive data can only be accessed by verified sources will be worth much more. To learn more on zero-trust and creating security confidence in our connected world, watch our webinar Information Security in an Insecure World.