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Zero trust network access explained

The interconnected world of today makes it possible for threats to come from any direction, including from within your own network. As more users connect to business accounts from their personal devices, with the increase in hybrid work models, the risk of sensitive data being exposed increases.

This is where the zero trust security model becomes vital to the security of your business data. Zero trust refers to a cyber security framework that works on the premise: never trust, always verify

What is zero trust network access?

Australian businesses have suffered numerous data breaches and cybersecurity incidents over the years. A cyberattack on Service NSW in 2020 compromised the information of over 104,000 customers. In 2019, over 139 million Canva users had their data compromised.

Given that data leaks and breaches are on the rise, zero trust is gaining in popularity among businesses, because it gives them the ability to defend against these kinds of threats. With a zero trust approach, your company can better defend against compromise by any third parties with malicious intentions.

Zero trust network access (ZTNA) is a set of cybersecurity principles that requires identity verification prior to granting access to sensitive information on a network. A network is segmented to prevent lateral movement in the event that an attacker breaches the perimeter. Using only the data and applications they require, ZTNA limits users’ access.

ZTNA helps to protect against any vulnerability gaps that may exist when using other remote access security methods, as more people access business resources. Traditional network access controls are less effective with remote workers and devices that you can’t physically control that access your network in the cloud.

Identify: There must be a single, authoritative source of identity that authorises and authenticates users for all of your applications and systems. Regardless of where a user is accessing a system or application, they must be able to authenticate, have their second factor, and be re-authenticated regularly.

Control: apply checks and controls where needed to ensure employee access is managed, and stick to the least privileged access principle,where users have access only to the resources they need to do their jobs.

Analyse: managed detection and response and endpoint detection and response should be used to monitor network and system activity, to watch network and system activity.

Secure: Your network should be monitored for vulnerabilities at all phases of data creation and data elimination, with the goal of protecting your most important data.

What does zero trust access mean for your business?

Security has become vitally important. Zero trust policies offer better protection against cyber-attacks without hindering productivity or data transfer speeds.

Improve security posture

Zero trust networks’ security policies are usually defined by role, not location, reducing the chance of data leakage. Because only authorised employees may access company information, leaks can be detected as soon as they happen, and appropriate action is taken. Employees can be monitored and, if necessary, restricted or removed from data if it is no longer needed after using advanced tools that track and monitor employee access.

Microsoft security solutions have been used as part of a zero trust strategy by companies. Forrester research found these companies have halved their risk of data breaches and consequently, they have reduced their chance of regulatory violations.

Cost effective solutions

Beginning the zero trust journey requires your organisation’s security strategy to be transformed, resulting in cost savings across the entire enterprise. ZTNA solutions can help you eliminate legacy systems and gain better visibility into network traffic, thus lowering the costs of network security and developing a more efficient approach to cyber defence.

Enhanced productivity

An employee’s access is controlled based on their level of trust in a zero trust network. Employees know when they log in that the system has been set up properly so that they cannot accidentally view sensitive information. The system only grants them the resources and information they need for their job and no more. It also ensures that remote users and on-site employees feel safe and productive as they go about their business.

Increased business agility

An organisation that implements a zero trust architecture can gain business agility and security, allowing them to pursue opportunities quickly and support remote work while managing risk. In addition to data protection, it allows you to build new business models and customer experiences with confidence.

Create a secure business network with the experts

Zero trust is a critical part of your digital transformation strategy, as your business evolves and moves towards more sustainable work practices, such as the hybrid work model. Employees with greater network access are more likely to compromise data. A zero trust network access policy may be used to restrict access to company data to limit unauthorised access and verify user identity to reduce the risk of data breaches. Talk to the network security experts at Virtu today to learn more about implementing zero trust network access management solutions and safeguarding your business data.

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