Zero Trust Security: What It Is, and How It Works

Security for your business is important, but often overlooked and undervalued. Security is a three-way relationship: business, technology, and an individual (which can be your employee or even yourself). Regardless of your company's size, staying secure could mean the difference between success and total loss. Implementing a zero-trust security approach is the best way to ensure your company's success.

So, what is zero trust security? At its core, zero trust security is a methodology based on the concept that all security should be defined before a risk is identified and a breach can occur. Zero trust is a security framework, methodology, mindset, and a way of thinking that empowers all users of a network to be continuously authenticated at all times, making sure they're following policy regardless of where they're at. To simplify, it is a security assessment that helps you identify potentially hostile software and malware already in your network before it has a chance to infect the company by making sure your organization's software and devices are protected from known and unknown threats.

Firewalls are great for controlling network flow, but what about something that is already in your environment? Zero trust is a proactive measure and gives the ability to lock down applications and determine which software can run on certain machines. We call this application control, and it allows us to ring fence your business's assets.

Zero trust operates under the assumption that there are threats both within and outside of your business's network so therefore, no machine or user should be fully and automatically trusted. Traditional security assumes anyone already inside the network is safe and can be trusted, just like in a castle surrounded by a moat. The moat is traditional security keeping attackers out, but anyone and anything already inside has free reign. A zero-trust approach to security scrutinizes and trusts nothing.

Zero trust doesn't come without its inconveniences, though. The number one biggest complaint by end users with this security protocol usually has to do with the extra time and effort it takes to go through multi-factor (MFA) just to log in to a website or a portal. Downloading new software or an application must go through an approval process and waiting on approval can be annoying. Staying secure and compliant and protecting your company's assets are just as much a part of any end users' job as the rest of their duties; some would even say it is the most important.

The reason zero trust is important is because of the protection it provides against even your own employees, and yourself. Least-privilege access gives users only as much access as they need to get their jobs done, and with device access control, zero trust monitors and controls your network with not just company owned devices, but also personal devices that try to access the network. Zero trust works by utilizing a process known as micro segmentation to carry out these tasks. Micro segmentation breaks up security parameters into small zones, forcing end users to have separate access for separate parts of the network. A person or program with access to one zone or file will need separate permissions and access to a different zone or file.

For more information on zero trust security, check out our webinar here. If you'd like to learn more about how you can implement zero trust into your security plan, give us a call at 877-468-1230.