What is zero-trust security?
Zero-trust security is a cybersecurity approach that focuses on not trusting anyone or anything within or outside an organization’s perimeter. It’s a security model that assumes that all network traffic, devices, and users are untrusted until they’ve been authenticated, authorized, and continuously verified. With the increasing number of cyberattacks targeting businesses, zero-trust security has become a critical cybersecurity strategy for organizations of all sizes.
In this blog post, we lay out the top five considerations that security professionals should make when developing a zero-trust security strategy for their business, and we’ll consider the types of industries where zero-trust security would be most beneficial.
Top 5 considerations for developing a zero-trust security strategy
1. Identify critical assets and data
The first step to developing a zero-trust security strategy is to identify the critical assets and data that need protection. These assets could include financial data, intellectual property, customer data, or any other sensitive information that could harm the business if exposed or compromised. Once identified, security professionals should implement access controls that restrict access to these critical assets only to authorized personnel and systems. This is critical to ensure that only the people and the limited set of systems that need access to the sensitive information can access it.
2. Verify all devices
Another key consideration when developing a zero-trust security strategy is to verify all devices that access the network. This includes laptops, smartphones, tablets, and any other devices that can connect to the network. Security professionals should implement device identification and authentication mechanisms to ensure that only trusted devices can access the network. This includes verifying the integrity of the device, the user’s identity, and the device’s compliance with security policies.
3. Implement continuous monitoring
Zero-trust security is not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. Security professionals must continuously monitor the network, devices, and users to ensure that no unauthorized access or suspicious activity goes undetected. This includes implementing automated monitoring tools that can detect anomalous behavior and alert security personnel immediately. Continuous monitoring is critical to detect and respond to threats quickly, minimizing the impact of a security breach.
4. Adopt a least-privilege access model
A zero-trust security strategy should adopt a least-privilege access model, which means granting users the minimum access necessary to perform their job duties. This approach reduces the risk of a security breach by limiting the damage that can be caused if an attacker gains access to a user’s account. It also makes it easier to track user activity and identify any suspicious behavior.
5. Educate employees
Finally, security professionals should educate employees about the importance of zero-trust security and how it affects their daily work. Employees are often the weakest link in any security strategy, and educating them about the risks of cyberattacks and how to identify and report suspicious activity can significantly reduce the risk of a security breach.
Industries in which zero-trust security is key
While zero-trust security is beneficial for all businesses, certain industries can benefit more from implementing it.
Finance and Banking
The finance and banking industry handles sensitive financial data, such as credit card information, personal data, and transactions, making them a prime target for cybercriminals. Implementing a zero-trust security strategy ensures that only authorized personnel can access this data, and all devices are verified and continuously monitored. In addition, with the rise of mobile banking, implementing a zero-trust security strategy helps prevent cybercriminals from exploiting the mobile channel to steal sensitive data.
The healthcare industry holds vast amounts of personal health information, making them a prime target for cybercriminals. Healthcare organizations need to protect the privacy and integrity of their patients’ data, which includes medical records, billing information, and insurance details. With the rise of telemedicine, implementing a zero-trust security strategy helps prevent cybercriminals from exploiting telemedicine channels to steal sensitive data.
Government agencies and organizations handle sensitive information that includes national security, personal data, and confidential information. The security of this information is critical to national security and public safety. Government organizations need to comply with various regulations and standards, and implementing a zero-trust security strategy helps them achieve compliance with these regulations.
Manufacturing organizations handle sensitive data, such as designs, patents, and intellectual property, making them a prime target for cybercriminals. With the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) in manufacturing, implementing a zero-trust security strategy helps prevent cybercriminals from exploiting telemetry devices to steal sensitive data.
Retail organizations handle sensitive customer data, such as credit card information, personal data, and transaction details, making them a prime target for cybercriminals. Implementing a zero-trust security strategy for e-commerce platforms helps prevent cybercriminals from exploiting the online retail channel to steal sensitive data. High profile breaches like the ones that happened to Home Depot and Target can happen to anyone, but zero-trust strategies greatly reduce the risk.
SADA’s Cloud Security Confidence Program has implemented security solutions across numerous industries in which protecting user data is critical. Guided by best practices, your dedicated SADA security team can help your organization implement a zero-trust strategy that reduces risk and frees your team from having to respond to an abundance of breaches. Contact us today for SADA’s Cloud Security Confidence Assessment, which provides a thorough review of your systems, a Cloud Confidence Score, and recommendations for further improvements. Your peace of mind begins with zero-trust.