As a business owner or member of management, you may have heard of the term Zero Trust when it comes to your company’s cybersecurity, but you still may not understand what it is or how it protects your valuable data. The IT and cybersecurity experts at ORAM Corporate Advisors take a look at Zero Trust, what it is, and how it works to secure your business.

What Is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a security model that has quickly become popular with both government agencies and enterprise businesses alike. This security model is becoming more commonplace because it takes a holistic approach to implement cybersecurity across an organization to provide the best in data security.

The idea is to consider all people, devices, and networks to be compromised. That is the basis of Zero Trust; understand it as if everyone, every device, and every network has already been compromised and implement compromise monitoring and access management across your business to protect it.

Not only is Zero Trust imperative for best protecting against external and internal attacks against your business, but modern compliance laws dictate that security and access management are no longer optional. That means 24/7 monitoring and managing access both digitally and physically to prevent data loss.

Where to Begin?

To begin building your organization’s Zero Trust plan, you must know where your cybersecurity is currently sitting. That means you must begin with a complete assessment of your existing Zero Trust environment. You will need to look at your current physical and digital security initiatives, processes, and procedures.

Next, you can determine where your existing cybersecurity measures can be reused to save money and reduce duplication of efforts. This will help you set cybersecurity goals for your company to assure that your data is as secure as possible and will also guide you toward policies and procedures for an attack when one does occur.

The Right People

While your Zero Trust security measures should monitor all users from clients to employees, you also don’t want it to negatively impact the user experience. Identity and access management (IAM) has become ever more complex with the number and variety of users from customers and partners to internal staff and bots. Your cybersecurity technology should be able to address the different needs for access of each while addressing your most imperative security needs to protect your data.

Securely Access

You should also train your employees, partners, and clients to use best practices when it comes to passwords and access credentials. Encourage them to use more complicated password phrases they don’t use anywhere else that include numerals, special characters, and upper and lowercase letters. You will also want to employ other authentication methods such as biometrics, tokens, keys, and multifactor authentication. ORAM Corporate Advisors works with many vendors such as Microsoft that offer solutions beyond basic passwords, which are easy to crack.

With so many businesses now using cloud technology, you will want a cloud governance program that offers ongoing security through monitoring. Such cloud monitoring programs will need to offer threat detection, meet regulation requirements, and optimize cost and efficiency.

The Right Machines

Zero Trust applies to machines and devices as much as it does to people. One of the ways to apply Zero Trust is through your internet of things (IoT) devices. With the right security technology, you can create zones for your IoT devices to help isolate them from others as well as your network in the event an attack does occur. This ability to quarantine devices offers an additional layer of protection for your data and access to it by preventing the spread of viruses and malware across your machines. This can significantly reduce the risk of data loss for your business.

You can also use secure firmware to harden security for your network and IoT devices. This can provide everything from secure communications and secure patches to app updates as necessary. Some of the vendors that ORAM works with to accomplish these goals include Cisco and Intel.

Another thing to consider are endpoints outside of your control as a business with employees using their own devices at work and beyond the office. This has been a huge issue with so many employees working remotely over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your business will need to create bring your own device (BYOD) policies to shore up risky endpoints. Such private user devices from mobile phones to personal laptops and tablets can present issues with malicious software infections, ransomware, and malware. “Health checks” can be conducted on these devices before they are used to access your business networks and data using software from Cisco Duo, Ivanti, and Microsoft.

With the Right Privileges

Remember, Zero Trust means not trusting anyone so be sure to apply the principle of least privilege, even for your staff. This means giving access to data to the right people, just those who need access to perform their work responsibilities. No more, no less. This access should be reviewed and updated as employees onboard and exit your business as well as annually as their access requirements may change with promotions, demotions, changes in projects, etc. This is also true for business partners and customers.

Monitored for Compromise

Every network has boundaries that extend beyond its physical locations. This means segmenting applications and security around hosts such as cloud services, peers including clients and partners, and services such as remote access. Segmentation to reinforce security is possible through each host or through virtual network routing. One that we commonly recommend at ORAM is VMware.

While employees are a business’s first line of defense, they also pose the greatest risk. Web gateways can detect and block risky clicks when your employees are not paying enough attention to threatening links and attachments that could spell trouble. Modern firewalls also augment cloud security by decrypting and inspecting all traffic transiting the boundaries of your enterprise network and devices. ORAM recommends Check Point as a great option for such firewalls.

To best monitor your data, you need to classify your data, know where it is stored, and how it is accessed. Microsoft Information Protection is a great program for helping you maintain data security while reducing risk around access to sensitive data. Also, consider who is using what data and how often they are accessing it. You can best protect proprietary business data by controlling access, inspecting usage patterns, and monitoring how data is disposed of. Encryption is just one method for doing all of this.

For more information about Zero Trust and employing this security model for your business, contact ORAM Corporate Advisors at (617) 933-5060. The initial consultation is free and there is no obligation. Let ORAM secure your business data!