A new generation of cybersecurity threats requires a new cybersecurity strategy: Zero Trust security.
Enterprise investment in cybersecurity may be increasing, but cybercriminals are investing just as much — if not more. According to the 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report by Cybersecurity Ventures, the global cost of cybercrime is expected to exceed $6 trillion by 2021 — up from $3 trillion in 2015.
Indeed, it’s becoming more and more challenging for enterprise teams to keep their IT environments safe and their proprietary information secure. While bad actors themselves are becoming more adept at circumventing traditional network defenses, changes occurring in businesses around the world — BYOD, shadow IT, and more — are providing a compounding number of vulnerabilities for cybercriminals to leverage.
For businesses willing to invest the time, resources, and effort necessary to keep bad actors at bay, it’s clear that today’s digital landscape calls for more extensive and more comprehensive cybersecurity frameworks. While the right cybersecurity strategy for each enterprise will look different based on industry, budget, and other factors, businesses across various sectors should commit themselves to a reevaluation of their approach to cybersecurity. For an increasing number of enterprises, that new cybersecurity framework is Zero Trust.
Zero Trust security is an approach to cybersecurity that rethinks the way enterprise networks grant access to users, services, and more. Rather than allow entities within a network to flow freely without regularly validating who or what they are, Zero Trust places strict parameters on authentication and authorization at key points throughout a digital environment.
In the traditional approach to cybersecurity — one that cybersecurity experts call the castle-and-moat model — organizations invest most of their resources in securing perimeter defenses. This model supposes that everyone and everything inside that perimeter can be trusted.
The Zero Trust framework turns the castle-and-moat mindset on its head, arguing that organizations shouldn’t trust anything outside or inside of their network. Rather than build cybersecurity strategies from the outside in, Zero Trust builds them from the inside out.
As the Zero Trust framework gains traction in enterprise IT, it’s come to be associated with a number of emerging technologies and practices such as multi-factor authentication, encryption, stringent system permissions, and more. While each of these techniques can play a major role in any organization’s Zero Trust strategy, it’s important to note that Zero Trust is a security concept and organizational frame of mind enforced through these technologies rather than a product in and of itself.
Because Zero Trust is an overall framework for organizations to adapt to their needs rather than a one-size-fits-all solution, it’s difficult to point to iterative steps that enterprises can take to implement Zero Trust. While teams that adhere to Zero Trust have likely invested in network segmentation, access controls, and strong user credentials, the way they deploy these practices will change from one team to the next.
However, what has become clear as an increasing number of businesses implement Zero Trust policies is that it’s difficult to retrofit these practices onto legacy security infrastructure. Indeed, Zero Trust so fundamentally reorients the cybersecurity landscape, that the entire cybersecurity architecture must often be rebuilt. Instead of forcing Zero Trust techniques onto older systems, it’s better to think of it as part of a long-term digital transformation strategy that must be enacted gradually, carefully, and comprehensively.
Enterprise teams interested in Zero Trust will need to begin planning for a comprehensive reordering of their cybersecurity strategy. Thankfully, emerging IT trends like cloud computing and distributed data centers are uniquely suited to the kind of access control protocols that are part and parcel of Zero Trust security. This means that organizations investing in next-generation network technology will have the chance to adopt Zero Trust policies as they shed legacy systems.
While moving to a Zero Trust model is a big undertaking — and a costly one — it may very well be a necessity for your organization as your team considers how best to prevent major data breaches. By taking the time now to develop a cybersecurity strategy suited to the evolving threats organizations currently face — one built on Zero Trust — it’s possible to mitigate the worst effects of cybersecurity attacks in the future.
If your team is preparing to move to a Zero Trust model, it’s important to have the guidance you need to ensure that you’re taking the necessary precautions — and that you’re keeping workflow disruptions to a minimum in the process. With help from the team at Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI), you can ensure a streamlined, successful transition.
July 16, 2019
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