Along with critical shifts such as the expanding hybrid workforce and continued migration of applications and data to the cloud, digital transformation is accelerating. With this transformation, information security teams have the opportunity to adopt a modern Zero Trust approach that fits these significant shifts.
While tools like single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and identity management enable zero trust, it’s essential to view zero trust as a move away from perimeter security based on firewalls and to a modern approach that uses cloud-based mobile authentication tools that let people securely work from anywhere
The following steps offer a road map for understanding the shift in mindset and what companies need to start their zero-trust journey.
Zero Trust as a Mindset
Security pros divided security into safe zones and unsafe zones, where firewalls guarded the bridge and decided whether traffic was good to let through or not. Firewalls have evolved, but they have limitations with so many different ways of getting content to users. Rather than have safe and unsafe zones with zero trust, it’s safer to assume it’s a dangerous world – that there’s no such thing as a safe zone.
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With a vast majority of office employees working from home some or all of the time, the public Internet has become an extension of the corporate network. Enterprises need to treat the Internet as an untrusted network. Security teams will have to validate and authenticate every time. This gets done by evaluating the following three parameters: the device’s posture, the likelihood of the claimed ID, and the criticality of what the user wants to access.
A user maybe be authenticated to retrieve critical data. But using zero trust, organizations base their decision on the specific parameters being presented at that particular time. Then analytics can be run to gauge continuous improvement on it.
Leverage Least Privilege
The pandemic definitely accelerated digital transformation, with the reality that most companies are getting out of the data center business because they now have cloud options that are cheaper, more efficient, and more secure. Moving to cloud apps makes it easier to manage the concept of least privilege access, which is assigning access to only the people who need an application.
Zero trust centers on the concept of least privileged access and moves users toward having the least number of privileges needed to complete their work safely. This is critical as more business processes focus on critical applications for enterprise resource planning, human capital management, and customer relationship management.
Also Read: Leaders’ Resolutions to Help Navigate the New Hybrid Work Model
Don’t Assume Security Is in Place
Again, the concept of zero assumptions comes into play. Security teams can’t assume security has been satisfied unless they do it themselves. Earlier, users were trusted because of their network location. While that can work for “truly” air-gapped networks, like a secure Defense Department or Energy Department network, nobody has a privileged network position anymore in the era of remote working. The system has to trust the endpoint and ensure zero malware.
Security teams are always searching for ways to reduce friction for users when it comes to applying security. Improved authentication tools such as SSO, MFA, and identity management have significantly enabled zero trust. For users especially, mobile-based tools like Authy and Google Authenticator have made security more usable with much less friction.
Users earlier had a password, and the hardware security tokens came on the scene. They, however, grew cumbersome. The application-based authentication model hits home for most people. The authentication tools are much better than DLP solutions, which would slow down users and work processes. While SSO has also helped, the user needs one good password and can authenticate each time they access an app.
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