Why Zero Trust Is Fundamental In Today’s Economic Climate

The ongoing economic uncertainty is putting pressure on many organisations to shrink their budgets. Whether through mass lay-offs or by implementing additional cost-cutting measures, businesses have started to reduce their costs.

However, one risk that continues to pose challenges for organisations is the increased cybersecurity threat. This year, January alone accounted for 277.6 million leaked records.

Today, companies must not skimp on their cybersecurity. Those who fail to protect crucial data often face many repercussions including legal penalties, financial loss, and reputational damage. The question remains: Is it possible to ensure high-level cybersecurity while staying cost-effective? One of the best ways to do this is by harnessing affordable zero trust architecture (ZTA) based solutions instead of investing in multiple expensive solutions.

Continuously validating and authenticating users regardless of whether they are internal or external, ZTA-based solutions help companies strengthen their cybersecurity. According to a global survey, 80% of respondents either have plans to roll out zero trust solutions in the future or have already adopted the technology. However, 20% still do not have any plans to adopt the technology yet. There is still more work to be done in establishing the role of zero-trust security models in the industry.

Replacing Traditional Security Models 

Outdated security models often operate on the speculation that everything within a company can be implicitly trusted. After being able to penetrate a specific area, malicious insiders or criminal hackers  can easily move laterally and extract crucial data due to granular security controls. These criminals can further impersonate legitimate users and move deeper for a longer period of time until they finally steal the digital assets. 

Hackers can use unique methods to further exploit it, leveraging built-in tools which make detection even more difficult. It is essential for organisations to utilise advanced security tools to not only keep the data secure from both - external hackers trying to gain access and malicious insiders who already hold access. 

According to Statista, 65% of CISOs in the UK believe that human error is their company’s biggest cyber vulnerability. Cybercriminals take advantage of human mistakes and negligency to trick and gain access to a system. In fact, phishing was identified as a prime method used by hackers in 41% of cyberattacks. To shield themselves from unexpected human errors, organisations must deploy tools to verify each login as well as to monitor and track user activity on an ongoing basis. 

ZTA: Fundamental to Remain Secure 

With ZTA-based solutions, businesses can continuously monitor user activity to minimise unnecessary lateral movement. Organisations can revoke the granted access immediately in case suspicious activity is identified. In fact, modern solutions can even alert relevant authorities within an organisation to allow them to investigate the matter straight away. This makes ZTA a must-have in companies’ technology stack.

What’s more, ZTA allows organisations to provide users with siloed access to tools and data which they require to do their jobs. Organisations can assign different access levels for users based on their roles and positions. For instance, employees from IT departments may be allowed exclusive access to install new software and perform upgrades, maintenance and repair. However, they may not be provided access to financial information which is not related to their job. Restricting who can access sensitive information can significantly reduce the possibility of hackers stealing it.

Looking Towards the Future

There is no denying that the future is likely to rely more on digital technologies. To remain secure, companies must be able to take a holistic approach towards their IT security. Relying on a specific solution isn’t enough. Instead, companies must include cybersecurity best practices and training as part of their employees’ wider training.  

A long-term cybersecurity strategy is required that takes each area of a company into account - both to mitigate the risk of a data breach and prepare companies and employees to deal with a potential cyberattack. This can help organisations resist a cyberattack, in case it occurs, by taking the right steps to identify, report, and minimise further impact. 

With growing digitalisation, the threat surface continues to increase. Organisations must build a holistic approach towards their IT security and continue to look for potential vulnerabilities. With a proactive approach, companies can better protect themselves from cyberattacks.

Dominik Birgelen is CEO of oneclick 

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