Zero Trust Security for your Small Business

Posted: December 19, 2023

It’s often difficult to figure out who and what you should trust with your business’ cybersecurity. How can you know for sure that each individual accessing your infrastructure is secured from threats? The concept of Zero Trust operates under the assumption that organizations should not automatically trust anything, whether it's inside or outside their perimeter, and must verify anything trying to connect to their systems before granting access.

What is Zero Trust?

Zero trust policies are when you don’t inherently trust anyone or anything on your network. This includes devices, accounts, or users on the network. Basically, if someone wants to access your network or data, they will first have to identify themselves, no matter who they are. They could be a business executive or an office manager; there are zero exceptions made for a zero trust policy. Generally speaking, zero-trust policies are governed by some form of external authentication.

There are many benefits to a zero trust model. As you might expect, when nobody is inherently trusted on the network, security is drastically increased. When identities are verified before any activity occurs, the network is much more secure because only authenticated individuals can do anything on it. On the other side of this benefit is what happens when the user is genuine but cannot verify themselves. This might make for a rough implementation process, but once your policies get settled, you’ll find that it will make network access much less stressful for your company.

The main principles of Zero Trust include:

Verify Identity: Users and devices are not automatically trusted based on their location or the network they are connected to. Instead, identity verification is required for any access attempt.

Least Privilege: Users and devices are granted the minimum level of access or permissions necessary to perform their tasks. Excessive permissions increase the potential impact of a security breach.

Micro-Segmentation: Networks are divided into smaller, isolated segments to minimize the lateral movement of attackers within the network. This means that even if a threat actor gains access to one part of the network, they won't automatically have access to the entire network.

Continuous Monitoring: Ongoing monitoring and analysis of network activities and user behavior help identify anomalies or suspicious activities. This allows for rapid detection and response to potential security incidents.

Assume Breach: Instead of assuming that the perimeter is impenetrable, Zero Trust assumes that attackers may already be inside the network. This mindset shifts the focus from solely preventing unauthorized access to detecting and mitigating potential breaches.

Small businesses should consider adopting a Zero Trust security approach for several reasons, as it provides enhanced protection against modern cyber threats. Here are some key reasons why small businesses should consider implementing Zero Trust:

  • Changing perimeter
  • Reduced insider threat
  • More secure data protection
  • Adaptability to modern work environments
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Protection against advanced threats

What are the Downsides?

The greatest challenge that an organization will face when implementing zero trust policies in the workplace is the major infrastructural challenges that will come about as a result of their implementation—particularly for enterprises with large workforces, as this means more devices accessing the same infrastructure, and therefore, more need for continuous authentication. The technologies involved in reinforcing these zero trust policies can make the logistics difficult without committing wholeheartedly to the process. We recommend that, before you implement zero trust policies, you consult with security professionals to determine if it’s the right call for your business.

Zero Trust is a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity that acknowledges the evolving threat landscape and the limitations of traditional security models. It aims to enhance security by implementing stronger access controls, continuous monitoring, and reducing the potential attack surface within an organization's network. If you do decide that it’s the right decision for your organization, we can equip your company with the policies and technologies needed to ensure it is a successful deployment, as well as the support you might need. With multifactor authentication and managed security services, you can make sure that only authorized individuals are accessing your network. To learn more, reach out to us.

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