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Zero Trust and why data security is critical

You may be hearing the term “Zero Trust” more often these days. Though the concept has been around for years, it’s gained more traction since the mass migration of employees working remotely.

Zero trust centers around a strict methodology that requires everyone and everything trying to connect with an organization’s digital workplace environment to provide verification before getting access.

Employees, clients and vendors likely already provide some sort of verification before accessing your system. Zero Trust differs in that no one is trusted by default – even those already inside the network perimeter. Why are added safeguards necessary? We’ll break it down with two simple analogies.

Security best practices

When we talk to decision makers about zero trust, they typically say, “I trust all of my employees.” Employee trust has little to do with why implementing zero trust is important. The larger issue is that there are bad actors around the world trying to impersonate those employees.

To illustrate how zero trust works, think of your organization’s digital workplace environment as a hotel. In order to ensure the safety and security of the property, staff and hotel guests, certain safeguards are in place. Security cameras are in the parking lots, entrances and in the elevators. The hotel requires a form of ID and a credit card at check-in to verify identify. Key card access is restricted so each guest only has access to their room.

Even with these precautions, security breaches may still occur. For example, a hotel guest who’s been verified at the front desk could accidently leave his room key card by the pool. Someone else could take the card and potentially gain access to the room. One simple mistake can open the hotel and its guest to compromised security. The same is true in the workplace.

Zero trust offers organizations a set of sound policies and processes that help prevent intentional – and even unintentional – breaches of security by validating users, devices, applications and data on an ongoing basis.

Data growth and sprawl

Using our hotel analogy, it’s easy to see why certain safeguards are necessary to protect your organization and its data. Things get more complicated when we consider that most businesses don’t have their data in just one location.

Twenty years ago, network security was all about safeguarding a location, where everything within that perimeter was protected. Especially over the last year, many businesses have moved much of their data off premise to home networks or the cloud. Think of it as packing up your data and moving it to various storage units throughout the country.

You may move one bundle to a storage unit managed by a third-party payroll provider. You pack more bundles and move them to storage units managed by a SaaS application like Microsoft Office 365. Other bundles are moved to storage units that house data centers. Then COVID-19 hits and you move countless bundles to storage units managed by your remote users.

Before you know it, your data is being stored in 50 to 100 different storage units managed by a variety of sources. Some of the units may have top-of-the-line security systems. Others, like your home network users, may not have any security at all.

Because organizations have so much data and it’s being moved to so many offsite locations, it’s not uncommon for data to be misplaced and duplicated. Lost and forgotten data is even more at risk, because no one’s making sure it’s being protected.

If your organization has experienced changes in the way you move and interact with your data and is still using a location-based security paradigm, let Marco help you assess your security risk and design a Zero Trust solution that addresses your unique needs.

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