By: Tony Pugielli on December 3rd, 2018

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How to Integrate Zero Trust into Your Cybersecurity Strategy Without the Productivity Loss

Cybersecurity

Combination lock showing all zerosZero Trust is a security paradigm that challenges enterprises to verify all sources of network traffic. Can this stringent approach be implemented without impeding productivity?

As cyberthreats across the globe become more prevalent and more sophisticated, enterprise CIOs are looking for bold new approaches to security that can protect their digital assets. One of those approaches is "Zero Trust" — a cybersecurity methodology that’s been practiced on the margins of enterprise IT for almost a decade now, but is increasingly coming into the mainstream.

Zero Trust is more like a general philosophy of cybersecurity than a particular technology, one that defines how CIOs and CISOs establish security protocols around how access is allocated throughout enterprise organizations. From a network perspective, Zero Trust comes down to one simple principle: don’t trust anyone, ever — no matter who they are or where they sit in the organization. Every user and every device must be authenticated every time confidential data is accessed. By eliminating the concept of “trust” within the network, you’re able to closely scrutinize all incoming and outgoing traffic and ensure all resources are accessed properly.

But as this new paradigm in cybersecurity gains attention from CIOs everywhere, the question is gradually changing from, “what is Zero Trust,” to, “how can I deploy it in a way that’s cost-effective?” In this blog, we’ll take you through not just what you need to do to implement Zero Trust protocols and infrastructure, but how you can do so in a way that doesn’t harm your day-to-day productivity.

 

Changing Your Cybersecurity Mindset

“Trust nothing, verify everything” is a simple motto, but it introduces new complexity that your IT team must be prepared to manage. For example, it entails the inspection and logging of all traffic, which requires that you set up “inspection points” throughout your infrastructure to verify the source of all traffic before granting permission to access any resource. To do that, you have to map out your business flows and establish clear, replicable protocols for how data and traffic should be managed across the network.

But implementing this new approach will usually require more than just changing your security team’s mindset. While Zero Trust may not refer to or require a specific device or application, it will likely require the implementation of specific technologies that support a Zero Trust philosophy. For example: consistent visibility into the source and context of all traffic demands a cutting-edge firewall with decryption capabilities. This firewall will allow you to perform micro-segmentation across the perimeters of your network assets. Two-factor authentication will enable you to secure the traffic moving within your network.

 

Balancing Security with Speed

If you’re worried that rigid adherence to a Zero Trust philosophy might impact the flexibility of your enterprise and cut into your IT team’s productivity, you’re not alone. CIOs are rightfully concerned that demanding permission for each and every new business innovation, interdepartmental collaboration, and experimental IT initiative with central security will make it impossible to stay agile and remain ahead of competitors.

The truth is that it’s a tricky balance that enterprises must strike. In some cases, the business may have to “fail fast” by building experimental new business processes first and then map out their data flows second. Ultimately, Zero Trust isn’t a silver bullet for all cybersecurity woes — it’s simply a very strict approach to achieving a nearly impossible goal of complete security. Companies that adopt Zero Trust should allow it to challenge them to take the security of their assets as seriously as they can, while still being flexible where it makes sense.

For organizations able to strike this balance, the benefits are considerable. Taking the time to gain a full understanding of your digital assets (unsurprisingly) makes it far easier to protect them. All that constant data logging also makes compliance in audit initiatives far simpler. Many companies have even been able to increase their agility by treating security issues individually, rather than having to shut down a host or block a port because of specific security issues at the network perimeter.

Perhaps the easiest way to ensure your company can capture these benefits without impacting productivity is to partner with a seasoned cybersecurity expert like Turn-key Technologies (TTI). We have two decades of experience in deploying and managing corporate networks that are as high-performing as they are secure. We have the knowledge and expertise required to unlock the benefits of a Zero Trust security policy without negatively impacting your business’ day-to-day. While this strategy demands that you distrust each and every source of traffic, you can trust TTI to verify each and every one of them with an effective, practical approach to enterprise network security.