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The role of zero trust in cyber security

Feb 2024 • 5 min read

Data breaches and cyberattacks have become commonplace and many traditional cyber security strategies are no longer able to protect businesses. Cybercrime costs UK businesses £27 billion annually.

Zero trust is a new approach to cyber security that is gaining momentum for safeguarding digital assets against threats such as ransomware.

This article explores what zero trust is, why it’s important, and why it should be a basic part of any robust cyber security strategy.

What is zero trust?

Zero trust is a fundamental shift in the way organisations do cyber security. The traditional role of network security relies heavily on perimeter defence. It assumes that everything already inside the corporate network is trustworthy. However, zero trust challenges this by asserting that trust should never be assumed, regardless of where users or their devices are located.

Zero trust is based on the principle “never trust, always verify.” Users and devices should always be verified, whether or not they are inside the network. Not all threats come from outside, so all users, devices and applications must be verified as a matter of course.

Why zero trust is important for cyber security

1. Continuously evolving threats

The means and methods used by cyber attackers are constantly changing, with increasingly sophisticated cyber threats emerging every day. Traditional security is not equipped to deal with these dynamic threats as quickly as you would like. Zero trust takes a proactive approach by continuously verifying and validating the trustworthiness of every point within a network, whenever they connect.

2. Remote work and cloud computing

The COVID pandemic accelerated the move to remote work and cloud-based software, making traditional defences less effective. Zero trust is particularly suited to this way of working, as it secures access to data and applications regardless of the physical location of the device.

3. Insider threats

Whether intentional or not, insider threats pose a significant risk. Zero trust helps in detecting insider threats by closely monitoring user activities and behaviours, reducing the potential for data breaches.

4. Least privilege access

Zero trust relies on the principle of least privilege access, ensuring that users and devices only have access to the resources they need for their specific tasks. This reduces the potential attack surface and limits the impacts of any breach.

5. Compliance

Many industries and organisations are subject to strict regulations, such as GDPR. Zero trust can help meet these requirements by enhancing data protection and access control.

Man working on laptop

Why zero trust should be part of your cyber security

1. Enhanced security

By implementing zero trust, businesses can improve their security posture and reduce the risk of breaches. Continuously verifying user identities and device trustworthiness creates multiple layers of security, making it difficult for attackers to access your information.

2. Adaptive security

Zero trust can adjust access privileges based on real-time assessments of risk, ensuring that security remains strong in a world of rapidly evolving threats.

3. Protection against zero-day attacks

Zero trust can detect and respond to network anomalies and suspicious behaviour in real-time. This provides an additional layer of defence against zero-day attacks for which no known patches of policies exist yet.

4. Improved response

With its enhanced visibility into user and device activities, zero trust enables organisations to respond quickly to incidents, limiting potential damage and reducing the time and cost associated with cybercrime.

5. Reputation

Implementing zero trust demonstrates a commitment to information security and regulatory compliance. This can foster trust among customers and partners.

two men looking at a server

Next steps

Businesses must adapt and embrace innovative approaches to cyber security to protect themselves against cyber threats. Zero trust is a shift from the traditional perimeter security model, emphasising the importance of continuous verification and authentication of users and devices. It offers dynamic, adaptable protection against a wide range of threats, making it an essential component of any cyber security strategy.

ITVET’s specialist cyber security team can future-proof your business against evolving cyber threats. Get in touch for more information about the cyber security services we offer.

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