The pandemic stunned business leaders around the world. Shifting to remote workforces out of necessity was a culture shock that left too many vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches.

As companies reinvent brick-and-mortar facilities that include social distancing, work-from-home or work-from-anywhere policies will likely remain in place. Decision-makers need a fallback position should a surge strike in the fall or another unanticipated disruption occur. Although managed IT professionals proved they could rise to the challenge and quickly deliver remote infrastructure, threat actors put every organization at risk.

Sophisticated hacking schemes often rely on human error to breach an organization’s entire network. Sooner or later, an otherwise trusted employee will make a mistake by opening an email, downloading a file, clicking on a malicious link, or just using a weak password. That’s when online thieves seize control of your system or sell your digital assets on the dark web. Given that we could all remain in this state of flux well into 2021, industry leaders would be wise to harden their defenses. ‘Zero Trust’ cybersecurity could be the solution you need.

Lake Charles IT Services business professional Shawn Maggio with National Networks shares some insights into Zero Trust Cybersecurity.

1: What is Zero Trust Cybersecurity?

Some cybersecurity strategies focus on specific areas of concern to businesses. Zero trust, by contrast, employs a holistic approach that provides enhanced protections for all of your digital assets no matter where the user logs in. The underlying premise isn’t that people cannot be trusted for nefarious reasons. It’s that no one can be trusted to not make a mistake.

Zero trust cybersecurity operates under the notion that a breach could be triggered by anyone or anything accessing the network from anywhere at any given time. When zero trust cybersecurity has been achieved, an organization will be able to test and validate that every conceivable aspect of its network enjoys heightened defenses.

2: What is Zero Trust Architecture?

Using parameters such as user identity and location, zero trust architecture limits network access to only verifiable individuals and locations. The infrastructure confirms the authenticity of network traffic, reviews patterns, and then learns. Industry leaders who secure the help of third-party cybersecurity experts to build zero trust architecture are typically ranked among proactive thought leaders.

According to a Forbes Insight survey, 66 percent of executives tasked with security utilize zero-trust policies for devices, employee access, and applications. Upwards of 90 percent of organizations consider executives who harden their defenses through zero trust architecture “cybersecurity trailblazers.” The strategy has been widely attributed to cybersecurity innovation and considered a defining leadership quality.

3: Why Zero Trust Protects Against Insider Attacks

Entrepreneurs, CEOs, and other decision-makers typically enjoy good working relationships with team members. Based on these positive experiences, trust grows between the leadership team and employees. But when it comes to cybersecurity, a staggering number of major incursions come from within an organization.

According to Accenture’s 2018 State of Cyber Resilience, confidential information accidentally leaked by company insiders can be even more damaging than external cyber-attacks. Zero trust cybersecurity takes into account the fact that in-house device misuse tends to be exceedingly difficult to detect and effectively respond to emerging threats. Although valued employees may not have malicious intentions, they remain a critical threat. Employees who are not provided ongoing cybersecurity awareness training rank among the most vulnerable.

4: Core Zero Trust Tasks To Consider

Business leaders need not look suspiciously on members of your workforce when implementing a zero-trust cybersecurity strategy. Along with employee education, this architecture monitors potential anomalies that could present an imminent danger. The innovation and strategies used in zero-trust help organizations successfully manage the following core tasks.

  • Zero Trust Parameters: Technology professionals often call this “micro-segmentation.” The strategy puts access restrictions on every user’s profile. These limitations allow team members to utilize portions of a network and leverage only digital assets they need to complete tasks. Should someone’s login profile get hacked, cybercriminals are also restricted from stealing the most valuable digital assets.
  • Behavior Protections: Micro-segmentation not only restricts network access by zone, but it also opens the door for high-level monitoring. When a device or application appears to be trying to overstep its limits, security threats are apparent. The visible behavior of applications is detected more swiftly and determined responses are taken.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): This security innovation forces those with access to your network to refer to a secondary device for an additional access code. MFA has emerged as a substantial deterrent to profile hacks and ensuing data breaches.

Zero trust functions best when “least privilege” policies are crafted that limit login profiles. The less data that can be used by a particular login account impedes criminal access. Least privilege strategies can be developed by developing a committee that includes department heads, key stakeholders, and the third party cybersecurity specialist crafting your zero-trust infrastructure.

Thought leaders consider zero trust architecture a cybersecurity strategy well suited to manage potential disruption and expanding remote workforces. Corporate decision-makers face an uncertain future but moving forward with zero trust reliability can strengthen your position and account for inevitable change.