When it comes to cybersecurity, a little bit of paranoia pays off. While the traditional security model assumes that internal traffic is safe, the reality is that 30% of data breaches today involve internal actors. These users are not necessarily malicious. Often, they’re merely lax with their passwords.
The Zero Trust security paradigm, by contrast, considers everything and everyone untrustworthy until proven otherwise. Users, devices, and applications must submit an access request every time they have a job to do. Each of these requests undergoes evaluation based on micro-segmentation of user types, locations, and other identifying data to determine when to trust, what to grant access to, and how long access should be enabled.
With Zero Trust, standing privilege no longer exists, limiting the scope of the damage if credentials are compromised or malware gets through. Zero Trust secures remote workforces better than traditional methods, and benefits extend beyond security, improving productivity and organizational agility. This post explores seven key security benefits that Zero Trust provides.
1. Gain Greater Visibility Across the Enterprise
Because Zero Trust never assumes anyone or anything is trusted; you decide what resources and activity you’ll need to cover in your security strategy. Ideally, all data and computing sources are protected. Once you have monitoring set up to cover all your resources and activity, you’ll have full visibility into precisely who (or what) accesses your network — so you know the time, location, and applications involved in every access request. Your security system flags unusual behaviors and Segregation of Duties (SoD) conflicts, tracking all activity that occurs.
2. Simplify IT Management
Because Zero Trust rests on the foundation of continual monitoring and analytics, you can use automation to evaluate access requests. If the privileged access management (PAM) system judges the request to be standard, based on key identifiers, then access is automatically granted. IT doesn’t need to be involved in approving every access request — they serve in an admin capacity only when the automated system flags requests as suspicious.
This benefit is significant. According to a recent survey, 53% of organizations report a problematic shortage of cybersecurity skills. The more you can safely automate, the fewer human resources you need to dedicate to IT. And the more your existing team is freed to devote their time to innovation and improvement.
3. Optimize for Existing Security Staff
Zero Trust also enables your security team to work smarter. Because it utilizes centralized monitoring, you can easily generate reliable data stored in a single location. This facilitates robust analytics, so your team can gain insights they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. As a result, your security team can maintain a more secure environment with fewer staff.
4. Improve Data Protection
Of course, Zero Trust delivers better data protection. A Zero Standing Privilege framework combined with just-in-time (JIT) access prevents rogue employees or malware from gaining access to large portions of your network. Limiting what a user can access and how long they can access it goes a long way in reducing the impact of a breach since, once malware breaches your firewall, it can find and extract your customer data or intellectual property quickly. If access is restricted to only a limited dataset — and is time-bound — bad actors have a much lower chance of getting the data they’re looking for when they’re looking for it.
5. Secure Your Remote Workforce
73% of IT executives and security professionals surveyed worry about new vulnerabilities and risks due to the sudden shift to remote work, according to the Skybox Security 2020 report. With Zero Trust, identity is the perimeter. Firewalls are no longer sufficient now that users are spread across the world, and data is spread across the cloud. Identity is attached to the users, devices, and applications seeking access, so Zero Trust offers robust protection for workers and data in any location.
6. Streamline User Access
The automation that accompanies a Zero Trust framework enables users to access what they need quickly — so they don’t have to wait on administrators for approval. IT only gets involved if a request is flagged as higher risk. And remote workers don’t need to log in to VPNs through slow-moving gateways to access the resources they need. Instead, they go directly to the resources and request access or login.
7. Continuous Compliance
Zero Trust helps to ensure continuous compliance with every access request being evaluated and logged. Tracking the time, location, applications involved in each access request creates a seamless audit trail. With continuous compliance, audits are streamlined as there is a contiguous chain of evidence for all access requests. This minimizes the effort required to produce evidence which makes upholding governance faster and more efficient.
Take the Zero Trust Approach
The benefits of implementing a Zero Trust framework go far beyond security. From improving visibility, to increasing productivity, to making better use of your IT resources and facilitating compliance, Zero Trust helps you to build strength and resilience throughout your organization.