There are so many tools and software’s out there nowadays to help prevent a cyberattack because, unfortunately, there has to be!

However, over time these can become expensive, especially to smaller businesses; not to mention it can be confusing to know what you do and don’t need.

But stop right there, there is a (relatively) new kid on the block, and that is the zero trust security method.

Zero trust security has sky-rocketed in popularity over the last couple of years – and with good reason. It takes the traditional idea of trying to keep those pesky cybercriminals out and turns it on its head by behaving as if everyone is guilty until proven innocent.

So, if your business is working on its cybersecurity efforts this year and you’re looking for the best possible solution, this guide is for you. Below, we’ll look in more detail at what zero trust security is and how you can implement this in your business.

What is zero trust security?

Zero trust security is not referring to a product or service as such. Rather, it is a concept centred on the belief that businesses should not automatically trust anything inside or outside their network and that everything must be verified when trying to gain access to its systems.

What this means is that zero trust security measures restrict access to everything by isolating applications and breaking the network down into segments, where access is only granted based on user permissions, authentication and continued verification.

This security method makes it possible to secure users and devices in ways that traditional perimeter-based security cannot, which means it can be more effective. This type of model is being embraced by businesses in a bid to keep up with ever-advancing technology, increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals and to meet the demands of today’s security needs.

The key advantages of using zero trust security

We’ve begun touching on why zero trust security methods work, but why should you choose this approach for your business? Well, there are many reasons, but some of the key advantages include:

  • Zero trust enables your security team to work smarter, not harder
  • It offers better data protection as it prevents rogue employees or malware from gaining access to your systems
  • The increased number of remote workers means firewalls are no longer sufficient but zero trust offers better protection for workers and data in any location
  • It helps to streamline user and access requests across the business
  • With more people now using home laptops, printers and internet connections, this method offers stronger device security
  • A well-designed zero trust solution can be easy to integrate throughout the business

These are just a few reasons why you should use a zero trust security method in your business, and if this has grabbed your attention, it’s time to learn how to get these strategies in place.

How to implement zero-trust security in your business

How you implement zero-trust security methods across your business will vary depending on a range of factors, including the size of your team, your budget, your resources and the amount of sensitive data you need to protect.

That being said, there are some simple and affordable ways that every business can deploy a zero-trust approach to securing its network. To get started, you should do the following:

1. Do some data discovery

First and foremost, you need to carry out a data audit across the business so you can get a full picture. This will help you to understand the kind of data you hold, its level of sensitivity and where it is stored within your systems.

At this stage, it’s also a good idea to determine who in your company has access to these different pots of data, who needs access and more importantly, who doesn’t.

Having a good grasp on what it is you need to protect can help you to get the best possible policies and procedures in place.

2. Deal with the top-of-mind security problems first

The next step on your journey should be dealing with some of the most obvious issues.

In order to do this, it is recommended that you enable secure cloud adoption, accelerate your secure DevOps or that you implement (or replace) your virtual private network (VPN) for a more focused set of users.

If any of what we have discussed so far has left you feeling confused, then it might be better to seek the services of a cybersecurity expert – even temporarily. 

They’ll be able to evaluate the current state of security systems and put steps in place to better secure your network.

3. Work on access and user controls

One of the easiest steps in deploying zero trust methods is to ensure you get a strong password policy in place. This might require tools such as password management systems.

It might sound far too simple, but you’d be surprised how often human error and weak passwords are the key to a company’s undoing.

You should also implement two or multi-factor authentication. This is particularly true for remote workers or those not using company devices.

Again, there are plenty of tools and systems out there that can help to make this possible.

4. Consider your security hygiene

Passwords and multi-factor authentication is all well and good, but not if anyone can still gain access by having those two things.

Now you should create a zero trust policy, and although it might feel time-consuming, you must go through the who, what, why, where, when and how of your systems.

This is the most effective way to determine whether a user fulfils the correct criteria for gaining access to your protected areas.

At this stage, it is also a good idea to remove anyone on your systems that may no longer need access, including any past members of staff that might still be able to get into your network.

It is also important to consider what data needs encrypting, securing your company emails and generally verifying the hygiene of any and all assets before they connect to your applications.

5. Put a long-term plan in place

Finally, it’s important to remember that the zero trust security method is not a one-and-done approach. You need to get a long-term plan in place for how you plan to assess the effectiveness of your security strategy, how you can continue to monitor verification and user access and what tools or software you might wish to invest in further down the line.

Thinking about the bigger picture and setting company-wide security goals can be the best way to successfully implement and maintain zero trust security methods.

Feature image credit: freepik

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