In an era when the world is fighting an uphill battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the digital world is likewise being hit by cyberattacks causing losses worth millions of dollars.
Witnessing the snowballing rate of cybercrimes, the President of the United States issued a Cybersecurity Executive Order in May 2021 that advises the federal government to use cybersecurity best practices, including Zero Trust Architecture and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
Businesses also need to take decisive steps to keep pace with the increasingly sophisticated and dynamic cyber threat environment, especially when enterprises leverage cloud-based applications on various networks. It’s high time enterprises understand the importance of a paradigm shift from the conventional network access model to a robust Zero Trust model reinforced by MFA.
Let’s dig into the idea behind the Zero Trust model and why organizations should adopt this stringent security model.
Why Zero Trust in 2022 and Beyond?
Zero Trust security is perhaps the most reliable IT security model that demands a strict authentication process for every user and device trying to access resources within a network regardless of whether they’re inside or outside the network perimeter.
As we know, businesses have adopted remote working environments and aren’t emphasizing robust firewalls to prevent unauthorized access. And since most enterprises rely on a castle-and-moat security model that blocks outside access to a network, everyone inside the network is by default trusted.
This can be pretty dangerous considering the current scenario when attackers are exploiting newly established remote working ecosystems. They are actively hunting for weak defense systems that allow them to sneak peek into a network.
On the other hand, the “never trust, always verify” concept strengthens security and verifies a user whether it’s inside or outside the network.
Here are some reasons why your cybersecurity practice must be backed by Zero Trust architecture.
1. Safeguard Consumers’ Data—and Your Business
Securing consumers’ data should be the #1 priority for businesses embarking on digital transformation.
Lack of a robust security mechanism could lead to compromised consumer identities that can further cause financial losses. Moreover, consumers’ refusal to do business with a breached enterprise will naturally affect overall revenues.
Enforcing an effective Zero Trust solution will not only ensure that only authenticated and authorized individuals and devices have access to resources and applications but will also help mitigate data breaches, preventing many of these negative consequences.
2. Greater Visibility Across the Organization
Since Zero Trust never trusts anyone, you can always decide what resources, data and activity you’ll need to add to your security strategy.
In a nutshell, all information and computing sources are secure. Once you have set up the monitoring that covers all your activities and resources, you gain complete visibility into how and who accesses your organization’s network.
This means you have precise data regarding the time, location and application involved in each request. Moreover, your overall security system helps to flag suspicious behaviors and keeps track of every activity that occurs.
One of the biggest challenges that IT organizations face today is the sudden shift to the remote working ecosystem. As per the Skybox Security 2020 report, around 73% of IT C-level executives are concerned that the distributed workforce has introduced new vulnerabilities along with a sudden increase in exposure.
With Zero Trust in place, identity is undeniably the perimeter and is attached to users, applications and devices seeking access, reinforcing security.
Moreover, the dependency on firewalls, which aren’t the best line of defense, is reduced as a robust security mechanism is reassuring that users that are spread across the world can securely access data across the cloud.
4. Security and User Experience Go Hand in Hand
In the past, enterprises have had to compromise user experience to achieve security.
Since highly secure passwords are complicated to remember, they were considered to hamper productivity as the user needs to re-enter multiple and lengthy passwords. Troubleshooting issues related to passwords was also a tough nut to crack for users who were miles away from a flawless user experience.
Zero Trust solution is a game-changer in strengthening the overall security mechanism and delivering a seamless user experience. With features like Multi-Factor Authentication and Single Sign-On (SSO), users are delivered the best of security along with an experience that thrusts productivity to another level.
Furthermore, SSO allows users to stay authenticated across all the applications without the hassle of re-entering passwords whenever a user wishes to switch an application within a network.
5. Facilitates Cloud Migration
Enterprises are inching toward modernizing their applications and overall infrastructure by leveraging Software-as-a-service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). As a result, a better and reliable security mechanism becomes the need of the hour.
The conventional system cannot be considered in this scenario as it has a long list of limitations and was not designed with unique cloud requirements in mind. Consequently, enterprises cannot secure cloud applications properly, hindering their ability to move to the cloud.
On the other hand, a cloud-based Zero Trust solution creates a new security paradigm uniquely designed to secure cloud applications. The hostile environment approach coupled with SSO capabilities delivers efficient and effective security for diverse cloud-based solutions. IT security managers need not fear providing access to clients, suppliers and partners as the overall security mechanism and access can be tightly controlled and tailored.
Final Thoughts on a Zero Trust Approach
The advantage of implementing Zero Trust surpasses security. Enterprises can not only ensure the security they need to protect data and resources, but they can also yield substantial business benefits.
Apart from improving visibility across the organization and enhancing the user experience, organizations can eventually enhance protection against ever-increasing cyberthreats that also helps in avoiding financial losses and reputational damages.