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August 25, 2021

Zero Trust: How to Strike a Balance for Your Business

Picture this - have you ever been driving on a highway behind two cars that stay at the same slow speed, both refusing to accelerate or slow down even though it would benefit all those driving around them? Pretty frustrating, right? Now imagine one of the cars is the business operations team and the other is the security team of your business.

Your highway frustration is the perfect analogy to explain the framework of Zero Trust, a strict cybersecurity framework that only grants access to devices that have been pre-approved on your business's network.

Zero Trust is a rather draconian approach to cybersecurity in which every access to a private network must be identified and authorized. Other security models typically trust individuals and devices that are already within the corporate network automatically. Zero Trust advocates trusting no one at any time while verifying each identity and access every time.

The way Zero Trust is viewed varies depending on the application as well as the role of the user. Those in business operations worry about slowing processes down while those in security often find the benefits outweigh the costs. The hesitation of business operations is not unwarranted. Slowing down operations with too many or complicated security check points affects product delivery to customers - particularly tech-based products. How are you supposed to merge when the car beside you is too slow? If your cybersecurity measures aren't implemented properly, it results in a backed-up system, both literally and metaphorically.

According to a Vanson Bourne study, 71% of IT professionals experience issues with cloud access management solutions that slow down their daily work. Also, 85% share account credentials with others out of convenience, even though most (70%) understand the risks of doing so

Most people see Zero Trust identity and access management as a security measure, which is true. But there are many ways Zero Trust works to inform your business strategy.

Reframe your view of Zero Trust

Zero Trust shouldn't just be reduced to an additional security measure. Instead, think of it as an extension of your business strategy. Due diligence is already an extremely important aspect of business practice. Zero Trust essentially supplements that practice. When you use Zero Trust, there is always an identity tied to access. It's critical to know who is accessing your data, where they are accessing it from, and what exactly they are able to access.

What's more, granting access just-in-time without permanent authorization to any human or machine identity is what makes Zero Trust stand out. Every time an identity accesses a critical resource, that access is verified and not trusted by default.

When you also ensure that you grant just enough access (JEA) to get the job done for each identity, you limit the potential harm to your infrastructure. If your Linux administrator has access privileges only to the two servers he or she needs to maintain at that particular time, then the potential for misconfiguration or other harm is very limited as well. This is called the principle of least privilege

The financial impact of Zero Trust

Zero trust identity and access management are critical aspects of business operations. All corporations have a risk of being hacked or have their critical infrastructure taken down. One of the most common risk factors is stolen passwords or credentials.

According to the Verizon Data Breach Report, 80% of hacking-related breaches involve brute force or the use of lost or stolen credentials.

When the risk of being hacked with static credentials is reduced, the overall risk of critical infrastructure being impacted is lessened. The implications of a security breach are insurmountable. With a security breach, there are huge financial impacts for all stakeholders.

This is where a passwordless and credential-less access come in. The traditional way is to ensure that privileged credentials are vaulted to ensure they are not misused. And sure enough, credentials and passwords won't completely disappear.

However, a truly Zero Trust proof system ensures that when an access is granted, the person getting the access doesn't see or handle privileged credentials at all. Furthermore, instead of vaulting credentials, we believe a better way is to ensure that there is no need to manage credentials at all. They just simply vanish after the authentication is done, completely eliminating the need to vault or manage them.

This type of Just-in-Time Zero Trust access is not only more secure: it can radically reduce the complexity the management overhead of privileged credentials like SSH keys or privileged passwords.  Who doesn't love the prospect of improving security while accelerating operations or reducing costs they are at it?

How to find the right balance

Zero Trust is not an all-encompassing answer to a business's cybersecurity. Its application sees the most successful results when used in the right circumstances. To determine whether Zero Trust will work for your business, you must:

  • Determine specific workflows that would either benefit from MFA or Zero Trust.
  • Use when absolutely necessary to avoid slowing things down.
  • Implement the new system in a way the end-user doesn't notice.
  • Develop a hybrid model that uses both MFA and Zero Trust accordingly.

Going back to the driving metaphor, implementing a hybrid model of MFA and Zero Trust to enhance your business operations is like a zipper merge. There is no more worry about slowing down the traffic or fear of having to give up your values and stance when it comes to your business.

Find your equilibrium with SSH

Are you ready to:

  • Boost your ROI
  • Enhance your business strategy
  • Ensure all stakeholders voices are heard
  • Tie an identity to every corporate access
  • Get ahead of the competition
  • Reduce management headaches
  • Delight your customers

If you answered yes to all of these questions, contact us today to speak to an expert.

"Never trust, always verify."

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Tag(s): Zero Trust

Jani Virkkula

Currently employed by SSH.COM as Product Marketing Manager, Jani is a mixed-marketing artist with a strong background in operator and cybersecurity businesses. His career path of translator->-tech writer -> marketer allows him to draw inspiration from different sources and gives him a unique perspective on all types...

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