Implementing Zero Trust is never a straightforward or simple task but the long-term benefits are certainly worth the effort in terms of improving cybersecurity. Any organization looking to implement a Zero Trust strategy is advised to start small and scale as necessary.
Below are three priorities to focus on when implementing Zero Trust in 2023, as well as the benefits that come with having a properly implemented Zero Trust architecture.
Zero Trust: What Is It?
A Zero Trust cybersecurity strategy effectively means that no one in or outside an organization is trusted by its network. Therefore, anyone attempting to access the network and use any of its resources is required to verify their identity each time they log in. This acts as an extra layer of security and is regarded as one of, if not the most effective way of minimizing the chances of a data breach.
Implementing Zero Trust Architecture: The Benefits
Cyberthreats continue to be a major concern in 2023 with experts believing the frequency of cyberattacks will grow further still. To mitigate this risk, organizations need to deploy a range of defenses, including Zero Trust to protect business operations and any individuals connected to the company. The benefits of implementing Zero Trust architecture include:
Ensures effective threat detection and containment
Results in long-term savings in terms of network security costs
Provides greater network visibilityHelps to achieve regulatory compliance
Extends security beyond single network locations
Can be implemented in any type of digital environment
Creates a faster and more secure user experience using multi-factor authentication
Allows for flexible architecture that can be easily adapted
Zero Trust In 2023: Three Priorities
Risk mitigation is at the forefront of Zero Trust architecture, allowing organizations to implement a flexible strategy that focuses on the detection and containment of threats. This is achieved by addressing three Zero Trust priorities, authentication, authorization, and security monitoring. Focusing on these three key areas allows organizations to develop an optimized and scalable solution that can be easily future-proofed.
By enhancing the authentication of users, places, and devices, the attack surface of an organization can be significantly reduced. When implementing Zero Trust, organizations need to prioritize a high level of authentication to ensure sufficient control across the network.
The implementation of strong authentication should be a gradual process, first securing users and devices with elevated permissions before shifting focus to those with fewer permissions, if necessary. Users that have access to sensitive data and have the authority to make critical decisions should be the primary focus in the beginning.
Often deemed to be the most difficult aspect to implement, authorization cannot be overlooked to deliver an effective solution.
A preferred starting point is to create a system that allows employees to label sensitive information. Starting with a small amount of labels that can be applied to email applications and cloud storage (Dropbox or OneDrive, for example) as these are two areas that are likely to contain vast amounts of sensitive information with minimal protection. Once labeled, authentication and monitoring can be implemented to provide the relevant security.
If sensitive information such as PDF contracts are being sent via email then the use of valid digital signatures is also encouraged, reducing the possibility of fraud.
3. Security Monitoring
Traditional IT environments lack the required transparency to provide enough security in 2023. Adopting a Zero Trust model ensures maximum transparency across the network, with advanced monitoring software and automation providing a range of functionality to boost security. Monitoring can identify suspicious behavior and lateral movement tactics, prevent data loss, and inform the CISO whenever a device or software requires a patch or update.
Monitoring is easy to implement and provides increased visibility so any issues or potential threats can be mitigated in a fast and effective manner. Like authorization, it is recommended to focus on cloud storage and email applications initially as many of these services have built-in monitoring tools already.
Zero Trust is essential to building a robust cybersecurity strategy in 2023, providing maximum network visibility to detect and contain threats effectively. When implementing Zero Trust architecture it is advised to start small and scale up as appropriate, prioritizing three key areas which are authorization, authentication, and security monitoring.