Deploying a Zero Trust Strategy — A 5 Step Guide

For people with little know-how of cybersecurity, Zero Trust might sound like something with a negative connotation. Just by virtue of its nomenclature, enterprise’s non-security personnel often have misconceptions regarding Zero Trust. They may get offended with the fact that they are not trusted in their enterprise.

However, the sheer importance of cybersecurity has now made Zero Trust quite a popular IT industry buzzword, and people are starting to understand what exactly it entails.

What is Zero Trust?

Despite the unanimous view about the adoption of Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA), numerous enterprises fail to understand that ZTA adoption requires a complete re-structure of their networks.

It involves complete eradication of implicit trust on any user or device, and demands their continuous validation and verification at each step of digital interaction. It also includes providing least privilege access to users, in which each user is only given access to those IT resources that are needed to complete an assigned job, and no other resource beyond that. It is a highly effective way to combat the ever-increasing threat of cyberattacks.

Five Steps to Build a Robust Zero Trust Strategy

The following five steps can help enterprises successfully implement a Zero Trust strategy that will provide a resilient cybersecurity posture across their IT infrastructure.

1st Step: Real-time Trust Must be Verified Across all Network Resources

Enterprises normally apply security protocols on resources, which they think are most likely to get attacked by various bad actors. This should not be the case. Organizations must implement Zero Trust strategy across all their IT resources and digital assets that were previously un-protected in legacy systems.

2nd Step: Outline the Meaning of Trust, Particularly for Devices

Enterprises need to ensure the protection of all devices. Device’s trust can be integrated with user’s authentication, so the security protocols are based on the activity performed on that device.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions can also be used to monitor and detect cybersecurity threats that can harm end-user devices.

3rd Step: Adopt a User-Centric Approach to Personalize Security

It is important that end-users are empowered to take charge of important steps to seamlessly assess IT resources. The end-user sits at the heart of Zero Trust adoption, and it is imperative to involve them in the remediation process. They should regularly patch their systems and apply Multifactor Authentication (MFA) to add another layer of protection to log-in processes. Enterprises must effectively communicate the utter significance of Zero Trust adoption to all the end-users.

4th Step: Explore Use Cases

Enterprises should prioritize use-cases to evaluate which areas need the maximum emphasis, in terms of cybersecurity. They should customize their approach by vetting authentications and reviewing accesses to applications and services. Zero Trust is all about managing situations, and evaluating where the focus should be, instead of just applying web proxies.

5th Step: Gradually Expand Zero Trust Architecture

Once the above-mentioned steps are completed, enterprises should build these situations into concrete rules, and turn on their “active enforcement mode”. It is important to take things slow, and gradually incorporate these changes, so that all the end-users have time to adjust to these new IT environments.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity breaches have become inevitable, and every single business having a digital footprint is trying its best to brace itself for the onslaught of these attacks. The initial step in the right direction, starts with recognition of the fact that legacy perimeters and solutions are no longer sufficient to protect enterprise’s IT environments.

Today, enterprises are aware that Zero Trust strategies must be as effective and sophisticated as the threat environment in which they thrive. Technology can help businesses curb the menace of cyberattacks, so long as enterprises take the right steps forward towards the adoption of proactive Zero Trust architectures across all applications and networks.

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