The recent increase in the severity and sophistication of cyberattacks in recent years may just signal an essential, albeit overdue, turning point in cybersecurity. The clamor by security practitioners concerning the securing of cloud technology by use of technology like Zero Trust by enterprises and organizations has never been louder, and it’s not hard to see why.
Instead of implicitly trusting users or devices, Zero Trust assumes by default that a breach has already taken place and accounts have been compromised; it then rigorously and continuously tests users to prove their identity before granting them access to the enterprise networks, applications, and tools. This is great when it comes to protecting against identity and access-based security risks.
The Zero Trust technology security model eliminates Trust in users’ authentication and validation processes and places emphasis on identity-based security, especially the surrounding context.
This is in stark contrast with less modern, more traditional means of authentication in which people, devices, and networks enjoy inherent Trust. Zero Trust technology ensures every device on the network attempting access earns Trust through verification.
As cyber threats facing both the private and public sectors become increasingly persistent, it is essential that the security technologies responsible for protecting them are at par, or better yet, even a step ahead of the technologies used for cyberattacks. This is crucial to prevent them entirely, as the adverse effects of a cyberattack are sometimes too dire for enterprises to recover from.
According to a 2021 Thales Global Cloud Security Study, one-fifth (21%) of businesses host most of their sensitive data in the cloud. However, sensitive data in the cloud becomes very daunting once you realize 40% of businesses surveyed reported a breach in the last year, and only 17% of those surveyed have encrypted more than half of the data they stored in the cloud.
However, this figure drops to 15%, where organizations have adopted a multi-cloud approach.
Also, with the exploding numbers of workers working remotely and from the comfort of their homes, organizations, and enterprises realize that their security parameters and technology must extend beyond the vicinity of their enterprises.
Businesses must also cater to the increased need by employees to access the corporate network, data, and resources remotely. This implies that traditional legacy user authentication and access control are rendered inadequate — as they fail to keep cloud technology safe and from unauthorized use.
Cloud computing is widely adopted by organizations and enterprises for data storage and management over the internet as it provides numerous benefits. And as technology advances, the sheer amount of data stored by enterprises on cloud computers and servers has ballooned.
Therefore, it is vital to work to protect cloud infrastructure against the potential elusive threats that may be formed due to adopting several cloud-based applications, services, and solutions.
The significant risk faced by an organization’s cloud infrastructure is unauthorized access to data and data breaches.
According to a cloud security spotlight report, unauthorized access via improper access controls and misuse of employee credentials is seen as one of the biggest cloud security threats by 55% of respondents.
Hackers, insiders with malicious intent, and even in some cases, third-party vendors, may gain access to enterprise data, networks, endpoints, devices, or applications.
Unauthorized access to data and the accompanying data breaches can have devastating effects for organizations; financial implications, irreversible damage to a company’s reputation, financial woes due to regulatory implications, legal liabilities, incident response costs, and decreased market value.
Implementing a cloud security system is crucial in protecting enterprise resources and cloud infrastructure.
Enterprises should leverage Zero Trust security’s technological benefits and security advancement to increase visibility into users and applications and prevent and even eliminate identity-based cyberattacks.
Zero Trust doesn’t refer to a single technology involved in user identity, remote user access, or network segmentation. It is instead, a shift in the underlying technologies behind network defenses toward a more comprehensive IT security model that allows organizations to restrict access controls to networks, applications, and environments without sacrificing performance and user experience.
Zero Trust is a cybersecurity strategy or framework in which secure cyber and cloud infrastructure must be built upon to ensure maximum security.
It protects cloud technology by user authentication, verification, and access management. Unfortunately, today’s cloud environments can be hostile places, hosting business-critical and sensitive data, making them a prime target for cyberattacks by hackers with the intent to steal, destroy, or hold hostage sensitive data as ransom.
The support for Zero Trust-based security technology comes from security practitioners and government bodies. For example, president Biden signed the Zero Trust Executive Order signed on May 12, 2021, requiring all American government agencies to include Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), based on the Zero Trust security model in their security systems, essentially validated and endorsed Zero Trust principles and security framework.
When combined with the endorsement by the US government, the endorsement by top cybersecurity experts will go a long way in proving Zero Trust security’s validity and integrity. Zero Trust technology modernizes and secures significant aspects of cloud computing and technology.
The greatest fear associated with cloud storage and computing is the loss of visibility and access management. A Zero Trust strategy utilizes identity verification, authentication factors, authorization controls, and other Identity and Access Management (IAM) and cybersecurity capabilities to verify a user before any level of Trust is awarded.
Zero Trust aims to verify the identity of users who request access and determine what resources users should have access to and to what limit. This goes a long way in preventing insider threats and limiting sensitive data and information to only necessary individuals.
With a Zero Trust security framework and architecture applied to cloud technology, enterprises have complete control over who can access their cloud assets and to what degree; it also gives companies the power to grant and revoke access of specific users to specific assets when necessary, therefore granting them more visibility and control over their systems.
Because Zero Trust is based on the concept of “least privilege,” every user or device, even ones previously logged into the network, is believed to be compromised. Doing so reduces the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks by requiring hackers to validate and verify their identity before gaining access to enterprise assets.
Proper identity verification goes a long way in protecting security systems against cyberattacks and data breaches, thereby reducing and eliminating the risks of poorly built, insecure security systems. In addition, zero Trust protects personal and valuable data held by enterprises on cloud infrastructure, thereby preventing losses worth millions of dollars and protecting brand reputation.
Zero Trust doesn’t need to provide an overly complex and unfriendly approach to user experience because it may use user-friendly authentication technology like biometrics. While its complex yet efficient access control protocols are performed behind the scenes and out of sight of end-users.
When implemented correctly, Zero Trust enables enterprises and organizations to provide and deploy user-friendly, seamless authentication and technology tools, which increase end-users’ adoption and boost the security of assets. Zero Trust also streamlines the end-user experience by not requiring the administrator’s approval to gain access to assets in the network.
All these areas Zero Trust touches will eventually be used to take digital security to new heights, and more enterprises will ultimately adopt them. There’s no doubt that the approaches discussed above will be instrumental in enabling organizations to move forward into the ever-changing landscape of digital technology and security.
Zero Trust isn’t trusted by and recommended by cybersecurity experts for how well it secures the system. But because of its ability to do so and improve security visibility while providing an excellent user experience.
Zero Trust is definitely the technology that will transform the cloud security landscape. Zero Trust doesn’t only increase an organization’s cloud security but also fully utilizes the enterprise applications without losing performance or negatively affecting user experience, thereby making enterprises see the need to secure their cloud assets as well as customers’ need for convenient and seamless technology.
With the recent uptick in the number and severity of cyberattacks, it is far-fetched to assume that the cyber security landscape of the future will be more volatile than today. In light of this, decision-makers and enterprise IT departments would do well to think strategically about deploying robust security systems based on a Zero Trust security system.
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