How to Address Common Security Vulnerabilities with a Zero Trust Model
The Covid-19 pandemic introduced many new processes for businesses and arguably the biggest was the emergence of a remote workforce. While working at home has been in place for some time, a remote workforce is currently a reality in the business world in 2022 and Information Technology (IT) departments are now struggling to adapt to new security vulnerabilities within the enterprise.
With these new vulnerabilities, IT departments are implementing a new cybersecurity model, called Zero Trust, to provide holistic cybersecurity practices while supporting a remote workforce. A Zero Trust framework delivers a comprehensive security approach with three broad principles: verify explicitly, use least privileged access, and assume breach. With a distributed work landscape, Zero Trust accepts that users are connecting from home offices, handheld devices on the retail floor, or a public Wi-Fi network.
For some context, this security model gained momentum after the SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline ransom attack, and the latter incident didn’t even target the flow of oil but the billing processes – attacking its corporate networks. Colonial paid the $5 mil. ransom to get access back to its network, but the dark web is now getting bigger, as the industry achieves 15 to 20% year-over-year growth. Not surprisingly, ransomware gangs are now employing traditional business departments, such as human resources, administrators, coders/hackers, and researchers.
Under the Zero Trust security model, IT departments are restricting devices and applications, and focusing on users’ data.
Why? Well, 85% of all data breaches involve a human element and the focus for IT has to be verifying sign-in integrity with a distributed workforce. Some best practices include risk-based adaptive policies, just-enough access, just-in-time, and data protection; and the objective is multi-layer data protection.
“The comprehensive security approach understands the realities of a distributed work environment, and says handhelds and devices can’t be trusted along with network connections,” says Matthew Schmider, Technical Sales Consultant at ArcherPoint. “The model is to never trust and always verify.”
While your employees may not be excited about two-factor authentication and security apps, verifying users’ data is a must with a Zero Trust model.
Common Data Vulnerabilities and Attacks
With a distributed workforce in place, threat types are growing. According to a 2022 Thales Security Report, 26% of businesses in the survey have experienced an increase in malware and ransomware attacks, and 19% have identified more phishing and whaling – high value targets – attempts compared to 2021.
As more companies move into cloud-based software, many IT departments are struggling to implement new security practices and understand where data security vulnerabilities live. It’s a lot easier to compromise your workers’ data than to attack a firewall, and this has led to new focuses on passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA), data backups, protecting administrator accounts and protecting your remote desktop protocol (RDP).
ArcherPoint’s IT managed services (ITMS) offers many years of experience in Microsoft cloud applications with Azure or Microsoft 365 Business Central, and for many companies this is new territory. Specifically, cloud applications can increase user permissions and allow increased access to applications that can allow a hacker to find openings and create an automated tool to download data, if there are no data-lock protection policies.
In retail, the same concept holds true as many employees have access to cloud applications via numerous devices. And the danger here is default to retail teams, which can increase entry points for phishing.
“When you have a user that authenticates to the cloud app, you don’t just trust them to connect and get right in,” says Schmider. “You always must verify who they are and provide the least number of privileges to let them do their job. The Zero Trust framework is a whole new paradigm within security.”
ArcherPoint IT Managed Services for Cloud Applications
With ArcherPoint’s IT Managed Services, we can provide invaluable consulting on cloud technologies, applications, and educate your IT team on security policies. ArcherPoint can focus on updated browsers policy, security key implementation, rights permissions and, of course, data lock protection policies.
Implementing a secure environment or buying security off the shelf is not an option in 2022 and implementing a Zero Trust model takes time for an organization. “Zero Trust is called a model due to so many variables, such as what’s being protected and where does this data live?” says Schmider. “Can it be found in an Azure server, on-premises, where SharePoint data and, of course, your workforce is all over the world.”
ArcherPoint’s IT Managed Services offers a specialized concentration on security, risk mitigation, disaster recovery services, custom assessments, Azure migration and management, end point management, awareness training and more. As a Microsoft Cloud Solution provider that’s earned numerous advanced certifications focused on the cloud, ArcherPoint can help you take advantage of Azure’s high-security cloud environment, including site recovery, backup, and a security center with extensive redundancies.