Before the advent of AI-based technology, many IT companies used traditional approaches to protect users' data, intellectual properties, and other valuable resources. Apart from the fact that these traditional means are no longer sufficient, users and devices are ultimately in need of fast and secure access to data that this obsolete model can’t adequately provide.
This unending hunger for data accessibility is why the security industry has been making use of a zero-trust policy in providing organizations with constant protection for users, data and assets, etc. It also helps them manage threats proactively. More explanation of this and how software intelligence platforms have been used to mitigate data privacy concerns is discussed in this article.
How Data Breaches Cost Companies
Aside from the fact that a data breach can bring losses in financial dealings, it can also affect the operations and compliance of an organization within a short time. And if it’s a major, publically-known data breach, it can damage the reputation of an organization for many years to come. This leaves the organization at risk of being at a competitive disadvantage.
It’s no longer news that the cost of data breaches and security incidents has skyrocketed over the years. For example, Canadian lender Desjardins Group recently said that they have paid about $53 million (USD) for the personal information of about 2.7 million users exposed as a result of the data breach. (Read also: The Best Ways to Combat Ransomware Attacks in 2021.)
How Zero Trust Works With Data Privacy
A Zero Trust policy works to ensure that every user is authenticated, authorized, and constantly validated for security configuration and posture before they are given access to applications and data, whether they are connected to the network or not.
An example of this is when new employees join a company. They aren’t automatically able to access all systems and applications by default, rather it is deny by default, until permissions and access levels are granted via management approval.
Zero Trust is designed to ensure that every organization is constantly monitoring and validating the privileges and attributes of every user and their devices. This is in contrast to automatically trusting users and endpoints within the perimeter of the organization. This default assumption of trustworthiness may indirectly put the organization at risk of giving access to unauthorized and compromised accounts that perform malicious and rogue activities. (Read also: 10 Quotes About Tech Privacy That Will Make You Think.)
Zero Trust in conjunction with Least Privilege is about allowing a user or device to connect to the network or service, only when certain criteria have been fully met. Applying Least Privilege ensures that users or devices permitted to join the network or to use a service only have sufficient access rights and permissions set at a minimum level: Just enough to be able to perform their roles or functions and no more.
By simply agreeing to the concept of Zero Trust, organizations would know all the services they use and the number of privilege accounts connected to them. As if that’s not enough reason to subscribe to the idea of zero trust, organizations would also be able to establish control on what devices users connect on and how they connect. Connectivity to a network from a device is often controlled by Network Access Control (NAC). An unknown device, or a device below a certain patch level or not having antivirus installed would not be allowed to connect.
Every Zero Trust policy is centered around real-time visibility into user credentials and attributes, and monitoring internal and external threats. Zero Trust makes use of a handful of preventative techniques such as identity verification and behavioral analysis, micro-segmentation, endpoint security, and privilege controls. These work to recognize a potential attacker and limit the access the attacker has to create a data breach. (Read also: Why is endpoint management vital to an effective security strategy?)
Recognizing how these can work to minimize problems from an Insider threat, either accidental or malicious is important. For example, the behavioral analysis would detect if someone is accessing files that they don’t normally access while performing their role.
How to Adopt Zero Trust into your Organization’s Software Ecosystem
Firstly, an organization that is interested in implementing the policies of Zero Trust into their software ecosystem must understand that there is no such thing as "trusted sources" because a potential attacker could be inside or outside the network. Implementing a software intelligence platform to assist can be an effective way to do this.
So, to implement Zero Trust, an organization must always:
Re-examine every access control that is the default.
Ensure they have enabled real-time monitoring and controls to promptly recognize and stop malicious activities.
Implement a holistic solution that includes endpoint monitoring, detection, and response capabilities in making sure that their networks are safe.
Take maximum advantage of a lot of preventative techniques, such as Security Event Management (SEM) in stopping breaches and minimizing damages. SEM can put an immediate block in place when an anomaly is detected, thus preventing access or possible breach.
From a public point of view, it may be a restrictive approach and process but the complete adoption of Zero Trust policies into an organization’s data can help the security team of that organization quickly notice the occurrence of a malicious attack so that the right things can be done as soon as possible to halt them from happening.