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What is Zero Trust?

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a security framework requiring all users, whether inside or outside the organization, to be authenticated before being granted access to applications and data. Rooted in the principle of “never trust, always verify,” Zero Trust works to protect modern digital environments by leveraging network segmentation, preventing lateral movement, providing Layer 7 threat prevention, and simplifying granular user-access control.

The Zero Trust model recognizes that trust is a vulnerability. Once on the network, users – including malicious internal actors – are free to move laterally and access or exfiltrate whatever data they are not limited to. With Zero Trust, as soon as the attacker’s presence is detected, the compromised device or user account can be quarantined and cut off from further access. Zero Trust is not about making a system trusted but instead about eliminating trust altogether. 

The Rise of Zero Trust Security

Major players in the cyber security industry, including Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Google, and AWS, have been pushing the borderless security strategy for the past few years. However, the case for Zero Trust became clearer after this year’s software supply chain attacks on US tech firms, which came amid a mass shift to remote work. In a world that spans BYOD, home networks, VPNs, cloud services, and more, the need to protect information within and beyond a trusted environment was heightened. 

As Microsoft has argued, part of Zero Trust is assuming the corporate network has already been breached, either by hackers targeting that network through phishing or malware or via an employee’s compromised home device connecting to the network. The good news is that many organizations are shifting toward a Zero Trust mentality. 

More Effective Security

According to Microsoft’s survey of 1,200 security decision-makers over the past year, 96% consider Zero Trust critical to their organization. To help standardize the concept in the broader market, Zero Trust will soon be compulsory for federal agencies. In May, US President Joe Biden’s cybersecurity executive order mandated agencies move to zero-trust as-a-service architectures and enable two-factor authentication (2FA) within 180 days. 

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) followed up in late July by calling on 18 of the United States’ biggest cybersecurity vendors to demonstrate how they would implement a Zero Trust architecture. In addition, Microsoft found that 76% of organizations are in the process of implementing a Zero Trust architecture — up to six percent from last year.

“Zero Trust will be critical to help maintain security amid the IT complexity that comes with hybrid work,” according to Vasu Jakkal, Microsoft corporate vice president of security, compliance, and identity. The top reasons for adopting a Zero Trust policy, according to Jakkal, include increased security, speed of threat detection and remediation, and the simplicity and availability of security analytics.

Addressing the US intelligence community, Biden suggested that if the US were to end up in a “real shooting war,” it would be because of a major cyber attack. He also signed a memorandum ordering CISA and NIST to develop performance goals for organizations managing critical infrastructure. 

Implement a Zero Trust Network with Mindcore

While Zero Trust may sound complex, adopting this security model can be relatively simple with the right technology partner. At Mindcore, our team of IT specialists has years of experience providing comprehensive cyber security services to companies in a wide range of industries. We’ll work with you to achieve a Zero Trust architecture that supports your business goals and objectives and protects against sophisticated cyber attacks. Contact us today to learn more about our customized cyber security solutions in New Jersey and Florida. We look forward to working with you!

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Matt Rosenthal is CEO and President of Mindcore, a full-service tech firm. He is a leader in the field of cyber security, designing and implementing highly secure systems to protect clients from cyber threats and data breaches. He is an expert in cloud solutions, helping businesses to scale and improve efficiency.

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