Should SMBs implement zero trust security?

Should SMBs implement zero trust security?

Protecting against various cyberthreats is something that small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) must take seriously. With limited resources and budgets, many SMBs prioritize other aspects of their business and often put cybersecurity on the back burner. However, this kind of thinking couldn’t be more wrong.

According to a 2019 study by the Ponemon Institute, cyberattacks targeting SMBs have increased by more than 20% since 2016. It is therefore imperative to have a strategy in place to protect critical business assets, and a zero trust security framework may be the answer.

What is zero trust security?

Zero trust security works on the principle of not trusting users or devices by default — even those already inside your network. This means that everyone within and around your organization is a potential threat to the security of your business data.

But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust your employees at all. Zero trust simply requires you to be more cautious about granting users and devices access to your apps and data. This involves maintaining strict access controls and requiring identity verification from everyone accessing your network, as well as authorizing and encrypting each and every access request they make.

What are the technologies behind an effective zero trust framework?

The four key elements that comprise an effective zero trust security framework are multifactor authentication (MFA), microsegmentation, endpoint management, and data security.

1. MFA

MFA is a security system that requires users to verify their identity by using a combination of at least two different factors before granting them access. These factors can be:

  • Knowledge factors – something you know, like a password or personal identification number
  • Possession factors – something you have, like a unique code sent to your mobile phone
  • Inherence factors – something you are, like your fingerprint or voice
  • Location factors – somewhere you are, like your IP or MAC address
  • Behavior factors – something you do, like recreating a specific pattern or picture password

MFA makes it harder for malicious actors to bypass the additional layers of security, making it an integral part of an effective zero trust framework.

2. Microsegmentation

Microsegmentation is a method of dividing networks and cloud environments into smaller zones and protecting each with their own security and access controls. Essentially, it allows you to control how traffic flows among the different zones and regulate access to certain workloads and applications. For instance, you can restrict non-HR employees from viewing or editing personnel files in your business’s human resources management software.

By setting unique access controls around different zones, you are making it harder for third parties or cybercriminals from accessing sensitive workloads and applications.

3. Endpoint management

Maintaining visibility and control over all of your endpoint devices is crucial in keeping unauthorized users from accessing your network, which is why you need endpoint management. Endpoint management is the practice of managing and securing all endpoint devices, such as servers, desktops, and mobile devices, within a network. Having a centrally managed endpoint security system allows you to monitor and administer updates and security patches to registered devices with just a few clicks. This system makes it easier to protect against a host of threats and targeted attacks.

What’s great is there are endpoint management software that can encrypt confidential corporate information. Even better, there are those that allow you to set access restrictions to particular devices and even set up measures to lock and erase data from lost or stolen devices.

4. Data security

Losing critical business data can shut down a business’s operations. As such, it’s necessary to implement a data loss prevention (DLP) solution, which provides another layer of protection to your data aside from traditional security measures like firewalls and anti-malware programs.

DLP tools and processes prevent users from moving key information outside the network. This ensures that sensitive data is not lost, misused, or accessed by unauthorized users whether the information is in use, in transit, or at rest. There are also DLP software that identify violations of security and compliance requirements, and recommend actions to take to prevent major data loss or data leak incidents as well as breaches.

Why should your business implement zero trust security?

By implementing zero trust security, you have greater control over who has access to what resources. Making certain resources unreachable or even invisible boosts security and lowers the risk of data breaches. And since a zero trust framework gives you better visibility over your systems, you can easily detect any irregularities or unusual activities and quickly identify potential threats.

Ensure the safety and security of your critical business data with Prosum’s managed security services. We will proactively monitor your systems for risks, safeguard highly sensitive data, and keep you compliant with government and industry regulations. Partner with us today!

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If you’re looking for ways to protect your business’s data, this free eBook won’t let you down. It’s an unbiased look at what precautions SMBs should take, with or without outside help.

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