Fresh Takes

How to Implement Zero Trust in Your Business

July 13, 2022

When it comes to data security, the term “zero trust” is becoming more and more prevalent. But what does it actually mean? In a nutshell, zero trust means that no one – nothing – is automatically trusted, not even people or devices within your own organization. Everyone and everything must be verified and authenticated before being granted access to sensitive data or systems.

It’s both security technology and a security philosophy. And because of that, it can seem overwhelming at first. Let’s take a deeper look at how to implement zero trust.

In Brief: What is Zero Trust?

Under a zero-trust security model, access to data and systems is never assumed – even if someone is already inside the network.

In the traditional security model, once someone gets past the perimeter defenses, they are generally assumed to be trustworthy. And that means that assets aren’t really secured, just the perimeter; once the perimeter is breached, nothing can be assumed.

Why is Zero Trust Becoming More Relevant Today?

The traditional security model simply doesn’t work in today’s world for a number of reasons:

First, the network perimeter is no longer as clear as it once was. With the rise of mobile devices and BYOD policies, there are more ways to access data than ever before. And that means that the perimeter is more porous than ever.

Second, today’s threats are more sophisticated than ever before. Hackers have become very good at spoofing identities and accessing data that they shouldn’t have access to.

Third, sensitive data is now spread across a variety of different systems and devices – both inside and outside the network. In the past, all an organization had to do was secure the perimeter and the data inside it. But now, sensitive data could be stored on a laptop, a smartphone, or in the cloud.

So how can businesses protect themselves?

Implement Zero Trust

How to Implement Zero Trust in Your Business

There are a few different ways to implement zero trust in your business:

1. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication

One of the most important things you can do to improve security is to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA). With MFA, a user is only granted access after they provide two or more pieces of evidence that they are who they say they are.

This could include something they know (like a password), something they have (like a smartphone), or something they are (like their fingerprint). By requiring multiple pieces of evidence, you can be sure that the person trying to access data is who they say they are.

2. Verify Devices and Users

Another important step is to verify both devices and users. When a user tries to access data, you should not only authenticate their identity but also verify that the device they are using is secure.

This can be done by requiring a VPN connection or by installing an agent on the device that verifies its security posture. You should also consider using a whitelist of approved devices to make sure that only authorized devices can access data.

3. Use Encryption

Encryption is another important tool for protecting data. When data is encrypted, it can only be accessed by someone with the proper decryption key.

This means that even if data is stolen, it would be useless to a hacker unless they also had the key. That key should be tightly controlled and only given to authorized users.

4. Limit Access

In a zero-trust environment, it’s important to limit access to data and systems. Only give users the access they need to do their job – no more and no less.

This might mean creating different levels of access for different users or using role-based access control to limit what different users can do.

5. Monitor Activity

It’s also important to monitor activity to look for signs of malicious activity. This could include things like unusual login attempts, unexpected changes in user behavior, or suspicious network traffic.

By monitoring activity, you can quickly detect and investigate any potential threats.

6. Avoid Permission Creep

One of the biggest dangers in a zero-trust environment is permission creep. This is when users are given more access than they need over time.

Permission creep can happen slowly and gradually, so it’s important to be aware of it. Periodically review user access to make sure that everyone still has the correct level of access.

Pitfalls of Zero Trust

The Most Common Challenges and Pitfalls of Zero Trust

Zero trust is not a silver bullet – it’s just a different way of looking at security. And like any security approach, it has its own challenges and pitfalls.

The most common challenges and pitfalls of zero trust are:

1. Implementation Costs

One of the biggest challenges of zero trust is the cost of implementation. In order to implement zero-trust, businesses need to invest in things like MFA and encryption.

This can be a significant upfront cost, especially for small businesses. But the cost of a security breach can be much higher, so it’s important to weigh the costs and benefits.

2. Lack of Awareness

Another challenge is that many people are still not aware of zero trust. This lack of awareness can make it difficult to get buy-in from decision-makers.

It’s important to educate decision-makers about zero trust and its benefits. Once they understand the concept, they’ll be more likely to support its implementation.

3. Changing User Behavior

Zero trust requires users to change their behavior in some cases. For example, they might need to use a VPN or different login methods.

This can be a challenge, especially if users are not aware of why the changes are being made. Educate users about the benefits of zero trust and how it will improve security. Get support from your authentication partner.

Implement Zero Trust and Single Sign-On with Axiad

Axiad is a leader in zero-trust security. We offer a full suite of authentication and identity management solutions that can help you implement zero trust, single-sign-on, and passwordless security.

Connect with us today to find out how we can help your organization remain safe, protected, and secure.

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