With many people continuing to work remotely to some extent, it would be irresponsible not to acknowledge that remote work can introduce a level of risk to an organization’s cybersecurity. This makes it all the more important that this security is locked down. Let’s discuss the concept behind zero-trust security, and why it is becoming the benchmark that organizations of all sizes should meet.
First, let’s define exactly what zero-trust security is, and looks like in practice.
In the past, security focused on keeping threats out of a given area. The idea was, if you managed to bypass a network’s protections, you must be trustworthy… right?
There are many reasons why this approach is no longer effective—cloud computing, mobile solutions, cyberattacks being crafted more carefully being just a few examples—but the main reason we'll be focusing on this is because business networks are no longer needed in a single location. Remote work’s rise may have allowed many businesses to adapt to the tumultuous times of the past few years, but it is important that we acknowledge the plain and simple fact that it greatly expands a business network’s footprint.
In doing so, it inherently increases the surface area that could be targeted by threats.
With the increased number of threats that businesses now need to contend with, in addition to the other issues we discussed above, you can’t rely on the aforementioned, old-fashioned way of doing things to keep your business secure.
There are a few reasons. First, we again have to point at the expanded network profile that remote work creates and the inherent insecurity it causes. More connected endpoints equals more potential inroads to your business network, so verifying the legitimacy of everything attempting access is important.
This only becomes more important when you also factor in the fact that a lot of attacks now resort to fooling the user, and not the security systems protecting them. This approach is called social engineering, and can be a serious problem if your team isn’t prepared to spot and handle it.
This is the crux of reducing and eliminating many of the threats that could otherwise derail your business’ processes (or worse). By shaping your standard operating procedures around some tenets of zero trust, you can significantly reduce the risks that you face.
Here are some of the basics to get you started, but don’t forget that we can always assist you in adding more safeguards and protections to your network.
It is critical that your team members take the proper steps to confirm the legitimacy of any communications coming in, particularly if these communications present some sort of request. All such communications need to be verified through a secondary means. Training your staff members and evaluating your team’s preparedness will be crucial to accomplishing this.
While it may be a slight inconvenience to you and the rest of your team, stricter authentication requirements at all levels can help to minimize the chance that your processes are infiltrated. Any and all requests for access should be checked, double-checked, and checked again by tested systems and review.
Finally, for these measures to have any effect, it is important that your entire organization commits to them fully. Otherwise, these threats will have a far easier time making it into your operations and impacting them unduly. Remind your team members repeatedly about the processes they are expected to follow, simply to ensure they stay top of mind.
We’re here to help you keep your company safe from threats of all kinds, through improved security protections, policies, and practices alike. Give us a call at 724-473-3950 to learn more.
Dan has 25 years of progressive experience in the IT industry. He has led three successful companies focused on small and medium business IT solutions since 1997.