Zero Trust – What You Need to Know

As more and more organizations adapt to the new realities of the remote and hybrid workforces and the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape, they must also change their cybersecurity strategy. The strategies used when both equipment, applications and people were in the same building are no longer sufficient to minimize risks of cyber incidents in today’s environments. 

In this article we will dig a little deeper into the Zero Trust framework, what it is, and why organizations are adopting the framework within their security strategies. 

Zero Trust Framework Explained 

In today’s business environments where people can access applications and data from different devices inside and outside the business perimeter, the framework addresses some of the cybersecurity challenges that comes with modern workplaces.  With ransomware, malware and data breaches organizations are exposed to, the old approaches may no longer relevant. With the old approaches, if someone has the right credentials, they can gain access to an organization’s data, devices, and applications.  

With the Zero Trust model, there is no trust by default. It is based on the principle of never trust, always verify. The framework assumes that there is no network edge. The network can be on premises or in the cloud or a hybrid of both and that resources and people can also be anywhere.  Using this approach, reduces the risks of someone gaining access to a business environment nefariously or by mistake as there is a constant requirement to verify whether the person, device, application, or service should be accessing what they are accessing. It should be noted that the Zero Trust framework is a security model and not a product per say. 

In other words, Zero Trust security allows organizations to provide security to anywhere and on whatever device people choose by providing least privilege access while requiring continual verification and authentication to access data, assets, and applications.  

Main Principles of Zero Trust Framework 

The Zero Trust framework is driven by three main principles: 

1. Limit Access 

Zero Trust is based on granting users only the privileges they require to perform a specific task. For example, if a specific user needs access to a project application for them to report on the progress of a specific project, they would only be granted access that provides them with that ability. Accesses can also be granted on a case by case basis and be time specific. This means users are not granted unlimited accesses to assets forever.   

2. Continuous Verification and Authentication 

Anther principle of the Zero Trust framework is that trust is not implicit. No one is exempted from close examination. Users will always be asked to authenticate their access to any device, data, application, or any organizational asset.

3. Continuous Monitoring 

The framework requires visibility and analysis of users and systems actions and behavioural patterns to ensure that the assets are being used properly. Without this transparency, the Zero Trust framework cannot provide the results expected.   

At a very high level, we have attempted to define the Zero Trust framework and how it could be useful in today’s work environments. Remember that it is not a specific product but rather a cybersecurity strategy that can help reduce the risks of cyber incidents by starting from a no trust base. 

To start a conversation about the Zero Trust framework, contact MicroAge.  

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With a growing Network of independently owned locations (currently at 41) from coast-to-coast, MicroAge is Canada’s leading IT solutions and service provider focused mainly on small and midmarket businesses.

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