What are zero trust networks, and why are they important to your business?

What are zero trust networks, and why are they important to your business?

Information security has long held the notion that enterprise IT systems exist in one big bubble protected by perimeter security measures like network firewalls and antivirus software. Things have changed with the rise of cloud and mobile computing since cybercriminals can infiltrate systems via a huge number of different devices and online accounts.

That’s why cybersecurity revolves around protecting business systems at the account level. It isn’t enough to put all your trust in securing individual devices, although that’s still important as well.

The zero trust model is all about securing access to confidential information based on parameters such as user identity, device, system, and location. It also involves monitoring traffic, identifying suspicious activities in real time, and giving employees access only to the systems and information they need to do their jobs.

Protecting your business against insider threat

Last year, almost two-thirds of organisations experienced an insider attack, or a cybersecurity incident perpetrated by an employee or third party with access to their systems. On top of that are unintentional insider threats, which typically stem from employees’ vulnerability to phishing scams. Whether down to human error or malicious intent, the high prevalence of insider threat is the number one reason why you need a zero trust architecture whereby you always verify the identity of the user accessing any business system.

Many businesses give employees access to far more applications and data than they really need, simply because it’s easier to do so. The challenge lies in making things accessible to the right people in a way that’s fast and efficient. On one hand, you can’t let security become a burden on employee productivity, but neither can you afford to compromise in a time when businesses across all industries are routinely targeted. Another challenge is when employees change roles and require different access privileges, not to mention when new platforms and applications are added into the mix. As the network grows, so does the attack surface.

Enabling business with a zero trust framework

Every organisation needs the ability to centrally manage access rights and monitor the flow of information to and from the network. These are now mission-critical capabilities for any modern business wanting to leverage the scalability and flexibility of cloud computing and other systems. It’s not about distrusting your employees, but rather assuming that each person in your company is a potential vulnerability.

One of the core elements of a zero trust framework is the principle of least privilege, whereby end users are only granted the level of access they need. This segments risk management, while also boosting employee productivity by eliminating unnecessary technology.

Another important step is to implement multifactor authentication (MFA), which protects against social engineering attacks. Instead of just entering a username and password to get into a system, users must provide additional verification, typically with a single-use security token or a biometric method like a fingerprint scan. This is especially important when end users are logging in from unrecognised devices or locations.

Finally, network administrators need a centralised dashboard for monitoring access rights and granting and revoking them as necessary. Instead of having confidential data stored on every device used for work, keeping everything in the cloud makes it possible to monitor and manage access to business resources online and from anywhere.

Office Tek provides the security measures your business needs to implement a zero trust framework. From access controls to device management, we can ensure your business is safe from insider threats. We’ll even give you expert guidance to minimise the risks that your employees inadvertently or deliberately cause. Call us today to find out more.

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