The strong trend among small and midsize firms to run their teams across numerous dispersed offices, including remote “work from home” setups, demands a new way of addressing cybersecurity. It’s time for businesses to adopt a Zero Trust security framework.
This framework assesses all attempted actions by people and machines when connecting to a digital asset owned by a business, such as a web application or website. In some sectors, the people (i.e., users) in question may encompass staff, customers and affiliated service providers.
Keep in mind that any time your company provides users with computers and applications, you are counting on those users to respect and protect certain confidential data. But instead of simply hoping those users uphold their end of the deal, businesses need the ability to know what users are doing with the data and to limit the extent to which users can manipulate that data.
Users At The Gate
Software with a cloud-based platform and teams with a spread-out user base have led to a wide range of unanticipated concerns for firms. Chief among them is that the edge of your threat zone is no longer your network -- instead, it has expanded to your users.
Therefore, your cybersecurity must be nimble enough to abide by new local, state-level and federal rules while also satisfying the requirements of a team that relies on laptops and smartphones to get work done while on the go and from virtually any location at any hour.
Take web-based apps, for example. When your employees access your portal to enter a sale and key in their identification, verification should go beyond merely pushing an alphanumeric code into their phone. Rather, your system must analyze the different safety levels of each person’s devices and network, including whether the person is caught up on regularly scheduled safety education, their grade on safety tests and even the trajectory of those grades to gauge the effectiveness of the courses.
In addition, your company must find cybersecurity weaknesses and get users to strengthen their defenses in order to gain entry. Regarding legal repercussions, it's important to figure out which entity would be responsible during a hack: the staffer, your firm or third-party vendor software?
Reduce User Mistakes
While creating your Zero Trust solution, remember that the central goal is to reduce avoidable mistakes by users. To a large degree, companies accomplish this by showing they have established an atmosphere of constant compliance.
Breaches can be mitigated by considering all cyber actions potential triggers that must be assessed, approved or rejected and managed from start to finish. Furthermore, this approach needs to factor every user’s comprehensive digital identity -- a mix of their login details, relevant information about their computers, network weaknesses and the person’s knowledge of critical cybersecurity concerns.
Small and midsize companies should consider setting up verification and approval processes that rely on coherent policies. These policies will depend on considerations that differ from firm to firm but entail pertinent information about users and their devices. This may include software to protect against malware and bugs, fixes for the operating system, spotting network weaknesses like unsafe wireless internet connections and awareness of important ideas in digital risk management and the firm’s rules for data management.
Among the crucial ideas in the Zero Trust model is to vary the weights of the user verification and approval factors according to their prominence and risk. Along those lines, companies should catalog every person, machine and network on their platform. Also, require login information to change every so often, since keeping that data fixed can cause cybersecurity failures.
One last best practice is to analyze and report standard user activity. Each firm conducts business uniquely, and as a result, common user activities will differ from company to company.
Cooperate But Authenticate
Succeeding with cybersecurity demands that businesses acquire a toolkit that minimizes repetitive human actions while supplying industry-specific know-how. Beyond automatic features, a cybersecurity platform should give out scores on the preparedness of the company as a whole and every person on its system. This type of united protection allows businesses to concentrate on their true value add instead of stressing about digital triage.
The Zero Trust model enables firms to cooperate with their workers, partners and customers -- and that is exactly what allows small and midsize companies to function. But in addition to cooperation, every company must keep a safe digital environment by authenticating how data flows through it and taking the proper steps to manage that data flow.