Zero-trust – beyond just a security concept

September 17, 2020

Zero-trust is among the many buzzwords and terms that have now become popular in the cybersecurity community. And with good reason: zero-trust models offer organisations the chance to take control of their security, ensuring their devices and systems are protected by default.

The concept is simple: instead of a security structure which automatically assumes that devices within a network can be trusted, zero-trust models work on the basis that all devices, whether they are present or common within a network, cannot be trusted until they are authenticated.

This model allows for a higher base level of cybersecurity, since devices are validated at each point of connection. For services, such as tools that utilise public clouds, this can be crucial, as network data is now taken out of an organisation’s secured network. That data is therefore much more vulnerable to a hacker, who may also attempt to use a trusted provider to breach an organisation’s larger network and systems.

Therefore, it is clear that organisations should start switching to zero-trust models for their devices, third-parties, and networks. Organisations will benefit from reliable and systematic security, regardless of the device, location or user. Furthermore, zero-trust allows organisations to have increased visibility and control into their devices and third-parties, as they can collate a clear log of connected devices, users and their cybersecurity status.

Of course, the zero-trust model is not without flaws. Legacy networks and systems may have trouble adapting to zero-trust, and an organisation may have to invest into newer applications instead of just reworking their old systems. Likewise, if not implemented thoughtfully, zero-trust could create roadblocks in work processes, if devices continually struggle to be validated or if an inflexible system later requires major changes.

However, the benefits of a zero-trust model will ultimately help organisations (especially larger enterprises with many devices and moving pieces) manage their cybersecurity threats. Just the act of ensuring the authentication of every device when it connects into a network could prevent many costly and damaging data breaches.

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