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The Advantages Of The Zero Trust Framework

Holli Hagene

Mar 04 2021

Introduction

In our last blog, we examined what the Zero Trust Framework is. Essentially, this is a newer approach to Cybersecurity in which nobody, in any of your internal or external environments, can be trusted. It involves implementing both multiple layers of security, as well as three or more different authentication mechanisms in order to fully confirm the legitimacy of the end user who is trying to gain access to the shared resources.

In this blog, we further examine the advantages of this kind of approach.

The Advantages

These are as follows:

  1. A much greater level of accountability: When the Remote Workforce started to take full swing last year because of COVID-19, many companies were in a rush to issue company devices. Unfortunately, not every business entity could do this, and as a result, employees were forced to use their own devices in order to conduct their daily tasks associated with work. Unfortunately, this also triggered a whole new host of security issues as well. Thankfully, as organizations are starting to implement the concept of Zero Trust, there is now a much higher degree of accountability with devices being used for this regard. For example, if an employee wishes to gain access to corporate resources on their own device, they can no longer do so. They now must use company issued equipment which possess these improved authentication mechanisms before access can be granted.
  2. It facilitates the use of centralized monitoring: When security tools and technologies are used in different combinations with no planning in mind, it can be very difficult for the IT Security team to keep track of all of the warnings and alerts that come in. This can make it very difficult to triage and escalate the real Cyber threats that are out there. With the Zero Trust methodology, since each device is accounted for in a logical manner, a centralized approach can be utilized. One example of this is what is known as the Security Incident and Event Management software application. With this, not only can the false positives be filtered out by making use of both Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), but the legitimate warnings and alerts can be presented in real-time through a centralized dashboard. The IT Security team can be far more proactive, and in turn, greatly reduce the response times to combating various threat vectors.
  3. An almost total elimination of passwords: The password has long been the de facto standard in order to authenticate an individual to gain access to shared resources. But despite the advancements of Password Managers, people are still stuck in their old ways, making passwords even more vulnerable than they were before. With the Zero Trust Framework, much greater efforts are now taken to totally eradicate the use of passwords and use much more robust authentication tools. For example, there is now a heavy reliance on using Biometric Technology. With this, a unique physiological or behavioral trait is extracted from the individual in order to 100% confirm their identity, which obviously, nobody else possesses. The biggest advantage of this is that different kinds and types of biometric modalities, such as fingerprint recognition, iris recognition, facial recognition, etc., can be implemented at different points in the corresponding security layers. They can be used individually and in tandem with each other to create a very secure environment.
  4. Scalability is offered: With the Remote Workforce now guaranteed to be a long-term phenomenon, many companies are opting to make greater use of cloud-based resources, such as those offered by the Amazon® Web Services or Microsoft® Azure. There are of course those entities that still choose to have a brick-and-mortar presence, and to a certain degree, still have some remnants of an on-premises solution. But whatever option is chosen, the Zero Trust Framework allows for the seamless transfer of apps, digital assets, and even the confidential information and data (especially the Personal Identifiable Information [PII] datasets) from one place to another in a much more secure fashion.
  5. Breaking in becomes close to impossible: Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many businesses adopted what is known as the “perimeter security” approach to protecting their digital assets. This simply means that there was only one line of defense separating the internal environment from the external environment. As a result, if the cyber attacker were to penetrate through this, they could gain access to just about anything in the IT and Network Infrastructure and move covertly in a lateral fashion. But with the Zero Trust Framework, the implementation of multiple layers of security means that it becomes that much harder for the cyber attacker to gain access to the proverbial “crown jewels”, as it will take much longer to break through every line of defense as they try to go deeper in. In the end, more than likely, he or she will likely give up.
  6. Greater adherence to compliance: With the heightened enforcement of the GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, etc., companies now must come into compliance with all of the various statutes and provisions that are applicable to them. By adopting the Zero Trust Framework, businesses will be forced to implement the right set of controls (i.e., authentication mechanisms) in order to protect their PII datasets and can be assured that they are compliant with whatever regulation they are governed by.

Conclusions

Overall, this blog has examined some of the key strengths that a Zero Trust Framework can bring to your business. It is important to keep in mind that there is not a “one size fits all” approach. You must first have a deep understanding of the security requirements of your unique security situation, which can only be done by first conducting and evaluating a thorough Cyber Risk Assessment. From there, you can start to deploy the various components of this framework in both a logical and secure fashion.

Finally, in the spirit of Zero Trust, it’s important to remember that you must assume that the danger is already inside your agency and you need to be prepared to stop it and investigate it. You might consider adding a single, robust solution for managing post-breach, HR and compliance investigations, like AD Enterprise. With AD Enterprise, you can respond quickly, remotely and covertly while maintaining chain of custody, and facilitate focused forensic investigations and post-breach analysis, without interruption to business operations. Contact us to learn more or request a demo.

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