Is Zero Trust Security Worth Implementing in Your SMB?

Tech innovation due to digital transformation and the hybrid workforce has resulted in a blurry network perimeter. It can no longer be effectively defended using traditional approaches to cybersecurity. Instead, organizations need to adopt a new model that protects important resources against attacks coming from outside the defense perimeter, and inside. That’s where zero trust security comes in, but should your small business adopt it?

Let’s take a look at what it is and some of its benefits.

What Is Zero Trust Security?

Zero trust security is a security model that treats all devices as untrustworthy, requiring their authentication even when they are physically located inside the main office. As such, zero trust security is a solution to the rise of the insider threat, which is predicted to be responsible for 60 percent of data breaches.

To better understand why the zero trust security model is so much more secure than traditional security frameworks, it helps to imagine a house with several rooms, each filled with valuables worth stealing. The traditional way of protecting such a house boil down to locking the front door (using a firewall and other means of stopping unauthorized connections coming from outside).

The problem is that those who are already located inside the house, such as employees, can move from room to room without any restrictions. So, if an employee’s device becomes compromised, or when the employee decides to turn against his or her employer, disaster strikes.

Zero trust security creates a more secure environment by locking not just the front door but also all interior doors, preventing lateral movement on the network. This is done by segmenting the network into multiple interconnected sub-segments.

The concept of zero trust security is not entirely new. But it is more relevant than ever before. That’s because most organizations have, at least to some extent, embraced the hybrid work model.

Should Your Small Business Implement Zero Trust Security?

Zero trust security is a holistic approach to the design and implementation of IT systems—not a bolt-on solution that can be implemented in a few hours. That’s why it’s so important to know if its implementation is worth it in the first place.

Zero Trust Security Benefits

Enhanced network visibility:

Since zero trust security never assumes any connection or device to be trusted, you get to see exactly who and when accessed specific network resources. 

Improved data protection:

Even small businesses with just a few employees store large quantities of sensitive data, and they’re responsible for its protection. Zero trust security prevents a single intrusion from giving the attackers unrestricted access to all data.

Seamless end-user experience:

For cybersecurity solutions to be effective, they must also be user-friendly otherwise employees will attempt to make their lives easier by avoiding them. Zero trust security can be paired with the single sign-on (SSO) authentication scheme to allow users to log in with a single ID and password.

Better compliance:

As a holistic approach to the design and implementation of IT systems, zero trust security provides a solid foundation for continuous compliance with data protection regulations and laws.

Cloud readiness:

Organizations of all sizes are using cloud solutions to support their remote employees, access more sophisticated technology, and decrease their expenses. Zero trust security protects cloud resources by establishing firm access control boundaries.

As you can see, zero trust security offers many attractive benefits – which make its implementation a goal that’s worth pursuing in your small business.

How to Implement Zero Trust Security

The concept behind zero trust may be easy to explain (all devices are treated as untrustworthy), but that doesn’t mean that implementing this security model isn’t without its fair share of challenges. The biggest challenge is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that all organizations could apply.

Instead of looking for turn-key solutions, which are guaranteed to be anything but comprehensive, SMBs should partner with a managed services provider (MSP) and borrow the necessary knowledge and skills to implement zero trust security the right way.

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