How to Implement Zero Trust with Limited Means

Guest & Contractor Management

Today, organizations continue to struggle with how to implement zero trust. One of the greatest misnomers in cybersecurity is that zero trust is an expensive and complex set of products or tools businesses must attach to their network to protect themselves against the broadening threat landscape.

However, Zero Trust is not physical. Rather, it is a framework or policy businesses of any size can and should implement to thwart an attack or breach. It takes the approach of guilty until proven innocent, or “never trust, always verify.”

Another myth to be busted: Attacks only occur from outside the network. This belief is not only dangerous, but it could also cost you your entire business. Studies have shown that most cyber breaches are inside jobs by individuals with legitimate access to company assets which either intentionally or inadvertently cause a breach to occur. The current average annual cost of an insider threat is $11.5 million.

Threat actors and human error know no boundaries, and neither should your network security architecture, policies, and procedures. This reality is why organizations must implement strategies and processes that prevent unwanted access while augmenting them with tools that protect endpoints and allow for efficient and safe recovery.

While implementing a Zero Trust Security Model (ZTSM) can be challenging, especially for businesses with limited resources, it’s possible. You can take steps to achieve even the most basic level of IT security without the need for expensive equipment, software, or IT security personnel.

Steps on How to Implement Zero Trust

1. Segment your network: Identify all the devices and applications on your network and segment them based on their level of sensitivity.

2. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA): For all users accessing your network, MFA prevents unauthorized access even if a user’s credentials are compromised.

3. Limit user access: Provide access only to the resources employees need to perform their jobs. This as-needed access reduces the risk of lateral movement by attackers in case an account is compromised.

4. Implement network access control (NAC): Control access to your network based on user identity, device security posture, and other contextual information to ensure that only authorized users and devices can access your network.

5. Monitor and analyze network traffic: Network analysis tools help identify anomalies or suspicious behavior.

6. Invest in endpoint protection: Endpoint protection software secures you against malware, ransomware, and other threats and helps to prevent attackers from accessing your network through vulnerable endpoints.

7. Implement encryption: Encryption protocols protect data both in transit and at rest and can help prevent data theft and safeguard sensitive information.

8. Conduct regular security awareness training: Educate staff on the importance of security and how to recognize and report suspicious behavior.

If a company’s resources are already limited, it likely won’t withstand the cost and fall out of a cyber attack. Firewalls and antivirus protection are good, but more is needed to create the borderless security that a Zero Trust Security Model provides. It requires careful planning and prioritization. But, by following these steps, you can achieve the Zero Trust security basics and protect your organization from cyber threats, both from outside and from within.

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