The security landscape continues to change with the advent of cloud services and remote and hybrid work. As a result, creating one single firewall to protect a network is no longer enough. With employees logging in from anywhere, companies need a better way to control access to their critical data. One of the benefits of zero trust practices is giving business owners the framework for building a trusted and secure environment.
What is the Zero Trust Model?
The zero trust model is an approach to cybersecurity based on the principle, “never trust, always verify.” Where more traditional models for cybersecurity assume that any device behind a corporate firewall can be trusted, the zero trust model requires explicit verification for each request to log into a system or access confidential data.
The model is based on three pillars:
- Assumed breach: Every request to access the company intranet is treated as a potential cybersecurity breach. None are automatically approved.
- Explicit verification: Users, locations, and devices are automatically queried and must confirm their identity before gaining access. Any anomalies are flagged and may lead to restricted access.
- Least-privilege access: Not every employee needs access to all company data. Implementing a strategy of least-privilege access using just-in-time or just-enough-access principles allows companies to keep data safe and increase productivity at the same time.
The zero trust model does not question the intentions of your employees. Instead, it simply secures your IT systems in a way that limits the risk of breaches and costly data loss.
Benefits of Zero Trust to Your Small Business
Implementing a zero trust approach increases IT security and can help prevent significant damage caused by cyberattacks. Some of the distinguishable benefits of zero trust include the following:
- Protection against internal and external threats
- Keep privileged information safe
- Improve the visibility of all devices on your network
- Facilitate easy networking and collaboration even from remote locations
Zero Trust is Being Practiced Globally
The global zero trust market is projected to reach $52 billion by 2026. One example that illustrates this trend is already in motion is with the beer brewer Heineken. Represented in nearly 200 countries, the company needed to enable the connection between employees without putting critical business data at risk.
Heineken used zero trust practices like multi-factor authentication to achieve that. Requiring not only a PIN but also an app-based confirmation or a secondary verification through a device increased safety without limiting access.
Small Businesses Have Zero Room for Error
Cyberattacks are not limited to large businesses. Data from the University of North Georgia suggests that more than one in four cyberattacks target small businesses. These attacks include phishing or social engineering, malicious code, botnets, and denial of service attacks.
Merely performing simple day-to-day tasks like emails with employees, customers, and vendors, introducing and updating software, employees working remotely, or using cloud-based services put your company in constant threat of a cyberattack. Adopting a zero trust approach will help to protect all threat access points to your business and ensure that sensitive customer data and privileged product information remain safe now and in the future.