There’s never a good enough reason to leave your assets unprotected. You may know this from experience, of course, but some people forget what happens when you put trust in the wrong system, the wrong user, or the wrong team. You eventually find out that your company is compromised, one way or another, and that it all started with an assumption: you assumed your company was in safe hands. Be it in your hands, or in the hands of your security team, you can never be too sure your company is safe from cyber threats.
The truth is, because cyber attackers are evolving all the time, so too should your approach to cybersecurity evolve. One way to evolve and keep yourself abreast of existing threats is to exercise a zero trust architecture.
What Is Zero Trust Architecture?
Here is your answer to what is zero trust: “Zero trust” is a term that refers to a methodology in security design, where you never assume, or “trust”, that your assets are completely safe. It’s an approach that emphasizes constant vigilance. But with the transition to a zero trust system comes the question, “Why?” With the utterly disruptive way that this approach affects your current security, why should it be adopted at all? The answer, of course, lies in the way that zero trust benefits you and your company as a whole. With that in mind, check out the four main reasons why a company like yours would need zero trust architecture.
It Keeps Things Simple
By assuming the worst and ensuring all best practices are in place to avoid attacks from omnipresent threats, you keep things simple in your approach. Zero trust systems don’t have varying levels of awareness — implementers of this protocol are on high alert all the time, reducing the time and effort it takes to raise alert levels in crisis. Additionally, it’s simpler than ever to view everything in your company all at once, understanding where and when attacks might happen. This is because zero trust emphasizes important factors such as the reduction of attack surface and increasing the overall visibility of your company’s network. Everything from entry points to the network, cloud services in use, and even user behavior are monitored by a zero trust architecture. This simplifies the idea of constant vigilance to a great degree, and it makes the whole company easier to defend in the case of an actual attack.
It Elevates Your Level Of Control
Within a zero trust architecture, there is still much that has to happen for daily operations. This includes user access, whether it’s on premise or in the cloud. However, without an emphasis on vigilant security protocol, there’s no way that a company can be expected to know, understand, and control all forms of activity and access within their enterprise’s network and systems. Zero trust, on the other hand, allows all these daily operations to happen with circumstantial access roles and a more significant contribution from authentication protocols. No longer is authentication a one-time thing: in zero trust, more authentications are used regularly, and they exercise more authority over users. Zero trust also emphasizes a company’s need to control — at any given time — the access roles given to any user for any activity or security layer. With these tools in your belt, you’re capable of keeping and exercising control over what goes on in your company like never before.
It Protects More Effectively
With the way a zero trust architecture is built into any given enterprise, the goal is clear: it’s to reduce the amount of leverage and movement a cyber attacker can gain once inside the network. There are various places in a network and beyond for any such threat to lie in wait for its golden opportunity. But with zero trust architecture, those places are not only all mapped out — they are also constantly watched and even reduced, making hiding spots that much harder to find for a cyber attacker on the prowl. The design of a security system using zero trust architecture is more effective at reducing attacks, reducing the effects of attacks, and even reducing the number of attackers that would find your company an ideal target. Thanks to zero trust systems also limiting data exfiltration attempts, attackers have to work harder than ever to achieve their agendas.
It Makes You A Smarter Defender
Not only does zero trust give a company more control over their security, but it also improves your security posture overall by keeping you abreast of both external and internal threat types. Use of zero trust architecture makes you more vigilant by default, but this is all the more true when you look at some of the structural changes it makes. More specifically, zero trust systems do not emphasize reliance on tools that fill a particular gap in security, like, say, firewalls or URL filters. Instead, by already assuming they are not reliable, a zero trust architecture works to protect from what would be successful attacks. This makes you and your company more privy to defensive maneuvers than you would be if you relied on these specific gaps to be filled by other security tools. These tools can help you defend your network, but they are not the main defense of a zero trust system: you are. By remaining vigilant with monitoring, by retaining control over activity and access, and by increasing effectiveness of your responses, you become the main source of protection against cyber threats.