With cyberattacks continuously increasing in frequency and sophistication, it’s important now more than ever for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to shore up cybersecurity. It’s crucial to have a strategy in place to protect critical business networks and assets, and a zero trust security framework may be the perfect solution.
What is zero trust?
In the past, cybersecurity measures that secured networks against hacking were enough to protect the applications and data inside them. But as threats continued to evolve, the problem with relying solely on these measures became apparent: intruders would have free rein once they got inside a network.
This problem led to the birth of zero trust. This approach to cybersecurity assumes that a network is always vulnerable to both internal and external threats. That’s why, in a zero trust security framework, all users and devices are not trusted by default, and their every move inside a network must be monitored.
However, this doesn’t mean SMBs can’t trust their own employees. Zero trust simply entails exercising greater caution in granting access to critical business applications and data. This involves implementing strict identity verification and authentication controls as well as closely monitoring and managing traffic inside the network, among others.
What technologies comprise an effective zero trust framework?
There are four key elements behind an effective zero trust security framework: multifactor authentication (MFA), microsegmentation, endpoint management, and data loss prevention (DLP).
MFA is an authentication method that requires users to verify their identity by using a combination of at least two different factors before being granted access to particular apps or data. These factors can be a password, a PIN, a unique code sent via SMS, a fingerprint, or an IP or MAC address.
The additional layers of security that MFA provides make it harder for attackers to access accounts as if they were authorized users, making MFA an integral element of an effective zero trust framework.
Microsegmentation is a technique that involves dividing networks and cloud environments into smaller zones and securing each one with unique access controls. This method allows system administrators to monitor and manage the traffic that moves across the different zones, as well as regulate access to sensitive apps and workloads.
For example, they could set up a policy that ensures only finance personnel can view or modify files in the company’s financial management system. Creating secure zones in a corporate network reduces the risk of attackers easily moving from one compromised app or workload to another.
An effective zero trust framework requires granular enforcement based on user, data, and location. One way to accomplish this is to employ endpoint management or the practice of authenticating and supervising the access rights of endpoint devices — such as servers, desktops, and mobile devices — within a network. It also involves applying security policies that prevent any risks posed by such access.
Security administrators can manage endpoints and processes from one central console or app using endpoint management software. Having a centralized system means businesses have greater visibility and control over all their devices, making it easier to detect and respond to suspicious activity. What’s more, there are endpoint management software that can encrypt highly sensitive corporate data, ensuring stronger protection against a host of threats and targeted attacks.
Data loss prevention
All businesses work with proprietary, personally identifiable, or confidential data. Losing or compromising any of these data can potentially shut down their operations. It’s therefore necessary to implement a DLP solution that provides another layer of protection to data in addition to firewalls, anti-malware software, and other traditional security measures.
DLP tools and processes prevent sensitive data from being moved outside the network. This ensures that key information is not lost, misused, or accessed by unauthorized parties, whether the data is in use, in transit, or at rest. Some DLP software can also detect security and compliance violations and recommend necessary actions to prevent data loss, data leak, and data breach incidents.
Why should your SMB implement zero trust?
By implementing zero trust, your SMB can make business-critical resources unreachable or even invisible for malicious actors, ultimately boosting network security and reducing the risk of data compromise. Most importantly, you can easily identify and remedy any irregularities or unusual activities and curb both external and internal threats with a zero trust security framework.
Stop worrying about the safety of your data and focus on achieving your business goals with reliable IT services from Kortek Solutions. We will proactively monitor your network for risks and other issues to help your business run smoothly. Partner with us today!