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Debunking the Myths Surrounding Zero Trust!

zero trust

‘Zero trust’—this can often sound like just another buzz word for security solutions. The value this term holds is often clouded by the myths that surround it. Either by the wrong information or owing to the term itself.

Also, a new transformation often comes with apprehension, which is the biggest contributor to these myths. But, if you are here, then you are on the right track to better understand the world we live in today.

Why do you need Zero trust?

Zero trust comes with a tagline, “always verify, never trust”. This might sound curt, but it also captures the essence of this. It means that every interaction with an organization’s network must earn its trust, and only then will it be allowed to use it. This applies to identities, whether they are human or your mobile device.

It is miles ahead of the castle and moat approach of once upon a time—wherein there is one external perimeter, like your firewall, and you assume only accesses outside this perimeter is unsafe.

The internal accesses are trusted automatically just because they are internal. This inherent trust has cost organizations, millions.

Insider threats cost organizations an average of $8.3 million a year. The IBM 2018 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index stated how insider threats are a cause for 60% of attacks.

Do you still believe the good old approach is still ‘good’?

This situation gave rise to the zero trust security model.

If you want to understand the model first, our blog, zero trust policy – always question, never allow will help you.

Let’s get started on debunking some myths!

1. Zero trust – this means enforcing a no trust policy culture in my organization!

Owing to the name, and the functionality of this security model, this is a common misconception.

The culture of trust is undoubtedly crucial in an organization. Your business cannot thrive without some level of trust and understanding. But, this is more to do with a peer-to-peer connection and less with the accesses, devices, and identities allocated digitally.

Identity can refer to a human, a network entity, a device, anything that can perform any action. And these need to earn the trust of your network.

Here there are granular perimeters set up internally and not just one big external perimeter. These micro perimeters ensure least privilege among users—a user can only access whatever he/she is authorized to access—nothing above and nothing less.

It is very important to note that with zero trust policy—your accesses can have context. With the use of cognitive technologies in risk engines, every access obtains a risk score. Also, the system now learns the habits of the user, which alleviates the trust in a network. You can only protect what you know!

This helps in users preserving the sanctity of their accesses as well because insider threats aren’t caused by insiders alone. If a hacker gets through to your network and obtains your privileged credentials, with your identity, a lot of harm can be done. Now, instead, if the network knows what time you log in, from where, and how you interact—it’ll know when the user isn’t you. The risk score is automatically increased, which either initiates a step-up authentication or blocks the access.

Yet, if you are convinced and your users might still be apprehensive. To help you convince them, our blog, zero trust policy – the people perspective, will provide steps to ensure smooth user adoption.

2. Zero trust hinders the experience of my users

Much like MFA, which isn’t a user favorite because it requires users to authenticate themselves to a resource multiple times, zero trust requires that a level of trust is continued with the network at all times.

But this isn’t the same. As the above points state, with the help of cognitive technologies, the network can learn user behavior and help prevent unwanted access. The contextual data points associated with a user like their device, login time and location, the resource accessed, and more can help a user gain the confidence of the network. This can even enable them to obtain additional access if need be.

Zero trust brings a structure to the interaction in an organization and defines workflows with identity and access management solutions. Here the access of every user is mapped to their role. The approval is mapped to their managers and application owners. So whenever a user needs access, they can obtain it in no time because of the seamless approval process. The manager also can approve the access just by looking at the user’s entitlements and the risk score associated with the access.

According to Forrester’s research, 32% believe Zero Trust improves operational efficiency and reduces complexity.

3. Zero trust requires me to rip and replace my current security solutions completely

The technology needed to implement a zero trust policy probably already exists within your organization if you have invested in security solutions of any scale. It is a matter of how you utilize it.

You have to follow a step by step approach to implement it and always go with the low hanging fruit first approach.

What is the most primitive yet important asset that you have to protect? Data.

Start with the data. Find out the location of all your data, and recognize what is sensitive. According to Forrester, data must be classified by the way you want to protect it—public, internal, and confidential.

Then move to the aspects of user interaction. This can be achieved by identity and access management solutions like workflows to the accesses and approvals, implementing least privilege and even just in time approaches for privileged accounts, and governing these accesses in real-time with intelligent reports.

4. Zero trust is IT’s business, not mine

Security solutions are often categorized as IT’s headache. An unfair claim considering how everyone plays a part in securing organizations.
From the CMO, who is responsible for the marketing data, to the CFO who deals with financial data–It applies to every employee who interacts with the web daily.

The managers along with HR must help streamline and business access controls and workflows. They must also participate in understanding how zero trust protects business data. Employees must be given security training to understand zero trust as well as best practices while interacting with the world online.

The Forrester study also showed that deploying zero trust reduces risk exposure by 37%, reduces security costs by 31%, and eventually saves many millions in the security budget. So, it is indeed everyone’s business.

Further reads:

CFO, Cybersecurity is your responsibility too

5. It is only for bigger organizations

Zero trust or any security solution is often believed to be only for smaller organizations. This stems from the disbelief that only bigger organizations can fall under the scrutiny of hackers—this cannot be farther from the truth. 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses specifically.

Considering how SMBs usually lack skilled personnel specifically for cybersecurity, the need for technology to handle security is immense. For this very need, Cross Identity has built CI, which is made for the needs of the SMBs. Simple, efficient with minimal expertise required to handle the solution.

Zero trust policy can revolutionize your security provided you allow it. Move beyond myths towards a solution that can empower your network as well as your users, giving little room to any bad actor.

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