2021 is already underway and even though the pandemic has us all under its lethargic spell, the world of digital identity verification has not stopped moving. To make any assertions about how the year will develop would be laughable at this point, considering how last year turned out, but there is one thing we can say with confidence - companies are moving towards Zero Trust Security.
What Zero Trust Security?
Zero Trust Security is an IT framework that calls for all people, even those employed by an organization, to be authenticated, authorized, and validated in order to access applications, files, data and other resources on a private network. This strict approach combines several technology solutions such as multi-factor authentication, identity and access management (IAM), and cutting-edge endpoint security technology to verify the user’s identity.
Why Is Zero Trust Security Suddenly A Trend?
Because the way we store and manage data has changed. For the longest time, organizations used to store their own data and the perception was that people on the inside could be trusted and threats could only come from the outside. Natureally, security measures and verification processes adopted a perimeter-based model, safeguarding what’s within.
Now, applications and data have moved out and mainly exist in the public cloud which means there needs to be a revision of the security and identification approach. Let’s clarify something here; the reason organizations are moving towards the Zero Trust Security model is not based on the lack of trust for the people they employ. Zero Trust Security is a mindset, an IT culture change that takes a holistic, no exceptions type of approach to security in order to deter outside threats from even attempting to breach company security.
Verizon’s latest Data Breach Investigation Report revealed that 69% of data breaches and malicious attacks were perpetrated by outsiders while only 34% involved internal actors. What numbers clearly show is that outside perpetrators are exploiting weaknesses in perimeter-based, legacy IT security infrastructures to penetrate networks that have not adapted well to the use of the cloud.
A recent IBM-sponsored study showcased that the average cost of a single data breach is over $3 million. These numbers are jaw-dropping and it’s easy to see why the need for a stricter security approach is now becoming a requisite as companies can’t afford to take such risks.
Is Zero Trust Security Just A Theory Or A Realistic Solution?
The 2020 Zero Trust Progress Report surveyed 400+ cyber security professionals including technical executives and IT security practitioners from organizations across multiple industries. The findings showed that 72% of organizations plan to assess or implement Zero Trust capabilities in some capacity in 2020 to mitigate growing cyber risk, while (47%) of partakers lack confidence applying a Zero Trust model.
That goes to show that even though there is the appetite and willingness for implementing the new framework, companies are still unsure regarding the tech and the actual steps required to make it work.
Gartner’s Market Guide for Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is another great source of information regarding the potential of this new school of thought. Here are some interesting stats:
- By 2022, 80% of new digital business applications opened up to ecosystem partners will be accessed through zero trust network access (ZTNA)
- By 2023, 60% of enterprises will phase out most of their remote access virtual private networks (VPNs) in favor of ZTNA
- By 2023, 40% of enterprises will have adopted ZTNA for other use cases described in this research
In some of our previous posts we have discussed the role of KYC in the battle against cybercrime but as it’s becoming very clear, digital identity verification is also a cornerstone in establishing the Zero Trust Security approach.
What Are The Main Zero Trust Security Principles & Tech?
It all starts with the fundamental philosophy behind zero trust. The framework operates on the assumption that threats exist both inside and outside of the network. Nobody is trusted and all entities are required to undergo the same verification steps and processes.
Coupled with that is the idea of least-privilege access. Least-privilege access is the principle of sharing as much access as users need, keeping them on a need-to-know basis. By doing so, people are authorized to access the specific parts of the network they need, minimizing each user’s exposure and the risk for breaches.
Zero trust networks also make use of microsegmentation. Microsegmentation is the method of building small security zones in a network in order to create different access points. What that means is that multiple users might be operating within the same domain of a network but only have access to a specific section of the domain.
The core breed of technology utilized by Zero Trust Security is multi-factor authentication (MFA). What MFA does is ask for more than one piece of identification proof from the user in order to authenticate them. MFA is common practice for personal account protection but is now making its transition to the enterprise and organizational world.
Last but not least comes the strict controls on device access. The ebay way to understand this? Think of your Netflix subscription and the parameters set on how many devices are registered under one account. Similarly, Zero Trust Systems monitor the number of devices accessing their network and ensure that every device is authorized and belongs to a verified user.
2021 might still be trying to find its way through the coronavirus dust, but identity verification is suddenly taking center stage in the Zero Trust Security trend. The Identomat team is always at your disposal in order to discuss the latest tech digital identity verification innovations and how they can help your organization take the next step.