Imagine that you’re in charge of protecting a castle. The castle has a drawbridge and a moat around it. You have guards stationed at the drawbridge who monitor the people coming into the castle. The guards let citizens in and keep known bad guys out. Because the guards prevent the bad guys from coming into the castle, the citizens can safely go about their business.
Now imagine that the bad guys have found other ways to get inside the castle besides the drawbridge. They’re scaling the walls unseen at night. They’re getting past the guards by disguising themselves as citizens. They’re even impersonating the king and queen, sending out edicts in their names.
Protecting the castle by controlling who gets across the drawbridge is no longer enough. Now you have to take greater measures to make sure that people wanting to enter the castle are who they say they are and have them go through checkpoints as they travel about the castle. You need to create a way to make sure that any edict is truly coming from the king and queen. And you need to have soldiers at the ready to fight to defend the castle and citizens when intruders are exposed.
This is an analogy for what’s happened in the digital world, and the reason for the Zero Trust approach to cybersecurity strategy.
Protecting Your Network Perimeter Isn’t Enough
Zero Trust has emerged because setting up technical barriers around your network isn’t enough to protect your organization from cyber-attacks. Cyber threats have evolved with Artificial Intelligence and easy access to Dark Web technology. Your network has evolved too as you’ve added cloud apps, remote workers and connected devices which means you don’t have a defined network perimeter like you used to.
With Zero Trust, the goal is not just to protect but to actively defend and prevent unauthorized access to data and applications.
Zero Trust is guided by three main principles: (Microsoft Evolving Zero Trust)
- Verify explicitly using multiple data points
- Use least privilege access
- Assume the network has been breached
Related: Learn about the Cybersecurity Basics You Can’t Ignore
How Trust is Earned
Zero Trust cybersecurity strategy is about setting up practices and processes that require people and systems to earn trust. If your organization is using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), you already have one experience with how trust is earned.
When a user or a device attempts to access data or an IT system, its identity must be verified. MFA is one layer of verification. Other attributes like geography can be added to the verification process.
Least Privilege Access
Least privilege simply means that people and IT systems only have access to what they need to perform their role.
Cyber intruders can move around undetected, doing damage and gathering intelligence for an attack, so defense measures should be ongoing.
Cyber Protection Becomes Cyber Defense
Zero Trust is achieved progressively, as your organization implements the layers that are necessary to automate security controls and educate users about expectations and behaviors. It’s a process that never stops because cyber threats are evolving at such a fast pace.
However, if your organization isn’t already operating with all of the tactics that are required for a modern cybersecurity defense, then fast action is necessary today to bring your security posture up to speed. Here’s why —
- 40% of cyber breaches actually originate with authorized users accessing unauthorized systems – IDC
- Nearly 60% of attacks involve lateral movement through an IT system – VMWare white paper pdf
- 71.4% of organizations have at least one compromised Microsoft account a month – McAfee
- VPN is exploited in 68% of major incidents involving remote access tools – IDC
- It can take 197 days to identify a cyber intruder and 69 days to contain a breach – IBM
Zero Trust is for YOU
Zero Trust is included in the May 2021 Executive Order of the White House that addresses the modernization of government cybersecurity.
The Zero Trust approach to cybersecurity isn’t just for big businesses and the government. It’s for every organization because the threats are real and the impact of a cyber-attack can be devastating, even to the point of business failure.
What’s more, the war on cybercrime requires vigilance on everyone’s part, government and private sector alike. When you guide your cybersecurity strategy toward a Zero Trust approach, you’ll be defending your business and playing a role in the global fight against cybercrime.
Cybersecurity Services for New Orleans Businesses
At Bellwether, we bring clients the cybersecurity expertise that’s necessary for creating and implementing a solid cybersecurity defense. Our dedicated Security Operations Center (SOC) is staffed locally by professionals who are certified experts in security.
Contact us for a cybersecurity assessment and take the first step towards security peace of mind.