You may have heard about “zero trust” security policies. What are they exactly? When are they important?
And how can you implement zero trust without making access to essential programs and functions overly cumbersome to your team members? Let’s talk through this important concept and distill it into useable information.
What Is Zero Trust?
It’s not a new concept—in fact, “zero trust” has been gaining traction for some years now. But it’s becoming more prevalent as security is folded into cloud services.
No longer VPN-based, perimeter security now relies on the assumption that “any user, device or application could be compromised”. In response, access is assigned on the basis of multifactorial algorithms—not to users or network locations.
Users and devices are granted conditional access to only the data and applications they need to perform their essential functions—and no more.
When Does Zero Trust Matter?
According to NIST publication 800-207, Zero Trust Architecture, zero trust makes the most sense for distributed situations—businesses with multiple locations, cloud-to-cloud networks, and contract employee, multi-organizational or public access. Today’s distributed work-from-home ecosystem would illustrate another “porous boundary” situation that might benefit from the extra scrutiny of zero trust.
Rather than trusting a machine (which might have an employee’s kid at the keyboard) or always-valid user credentialing (which might be intercepted or spoofed), the system requires credentials that are specific not only to the user but also to the service being accessed, the role being used and a host of other factors (for instance, the network and physical location of the incoming request, or even the time of day it originated). This heightened scrutiny works to provide secure access across an array of locations and devices.
Can Zero-Trust Be Cumbersome?
Yes, zero trust architecture may take some time to set up. Your IT team or tech services provider will work with your organization to identify data that should be protected and gain insight into all avenues of access.
But the end result, if properly applied, should be increased flexibility for your enterprise and users. You should also experience greatly heightened perimeter security and less exposure to data loss and liability.
At Clutch Solutions, we work with you to help you identify the best security architecture for your situation—and then make it a reality.
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