By Satish Kumar V, CEO, EverestIMS Technologies
Losing credibility is equivalent to losing your standing in the increasingly competitive market, and it will directly impact your business. Therefore, it is essential to adopt a robust security strategy to maintain its sterling reputation as a reliable and trustworthy enterprise.
Enterprises that adopt a Zero Trust philosophy can confidently offer new business models and enhanced and secure user experience to their customers. Evolved business models and satisfying customer experience impact the bottom line empowering businesses to be future-ready without fear of security threats. From an enterprises standpoint a Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) perspective has to be embedded within the access and security layers that they adopt.
What is Zero Trust?
At its core, Zero Trust is about verifying every user, validating every device, and limiting access intelligently.
- Instead of relying on Single-Sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication alone, AI/ ML helps enterprises with behaviour-based access, i.e., tracking user behaviour patterns and detecting any deviation from that baseline. It enables the verify-first practice.
- Almost all our devices are linked. Therefore, we need to employ device management solutions with the context and policies to ensure safer access.
- Access to the workforce in any enterprise is based on their roles and tasks. Unfortunately, changes in roles do not always change access rights soon enough. Therefore, privileges need to change as quickly as changing roles or employees leave the enterprise. It can only be done through integrated real-time applications that cause zero delays on access-based decisions.
- Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) offers a model where trust is never implicit and enforces policies that are granular, adaptive, and context-aware.
A ZTNA strategy for enterprises
Enterprises committed to adopting Zero Trust must keep in mind the following key factors:
- Micro-segmentation: Enterprise security will use granular controls to handle user controls over networks, data usage, SaaS applications, and endpoint applications.
- Enforced policies everywhere: Security must be persistent and not limited to a file-access approach. It must involve uncompromising security at all times from everywhere – across different applications and file types.
- Greater visibility through automation: Log all behaviour, suspicious or not. Enterprises can detect potential threats while ensuring compliance through frequent audits.
Benefits of ZTNA implementation
Enterprises en route to digital transformation aim to be future-ready. But, as businesses grow, so do cyber threats. The ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access) ensures controlled access to the network. And the Zero Trust advantage for network security is that it reduces surface area from cyber-attacks. This control prevents direct exposure of your applications to the internet. With the advent of ZTNA, enterprises can phase out their previous dependence on VPNs for remote access. While access to applications was through intermediaries such as VPNs before, it is a cloud service now, either self-hosted or from a third party. ZTNA technologies enable application access without going through the network. It starts with Zero Trust, even before allowing connectivity, and is purely based on identities and devices, with authorization coming first and foremost.
Typically, enterprises are challenged by certain limitations, i.e., they have not been able to limit the incident to one identity without compromising others or contain the incident before it turns into a data breach. The Zero Trust model offers intelligent responses with more authentication methods and controls to ward off cyber threats. Moreover, zero trust enables risk-adaptive security control and customizes enforcement based on user actions.
Working from anywhere on any device has altered the way businesses operate irrevocably. It is estimated that over 50% of the workforce will continue to work remotely in the next few years. The new working model means vast amounts of data flow through various devices and out of a secure office facility. Moreover, employees log in and out between office laptops and personal devices or use a public Wi-Fi network or a shared family system. Hackers find enterprises in these circumstances an easy target. Clearly defined policies and stipulations of the devices, data access, and data encryption in a Zero Trust model alone can ensure total compliance.
A word to the wise
It is vital that enterprises, small, medium, or large, understand the evolving cyber landscape, risk perceptions, and the connection between them to prioritize risk mitigation based on threat analysis. With ZTNA, enterprises control data usage, with unified data security policies across the board – cloud, networks, endpoints, and SaaS applications. Therefore, the time to implement ZTNA is now.