Why Implementing Zero Trust is Necessary for Employees Working From Home?

Why Implementing Zero Trust is Necessary for Employees Working From Home?

With the organizations deploying various technological capabilities and programs such as virtual private networks (VPN) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) when working remotely, the prime concern of security always remains there. These tools invite security risks to an organization and the possibility of a greater attack accrues with minimal centralized control.

As the pandemic is yet to bid adieu to this world, the WFH environment will continue to last till long. According to surveys performed by different agencies, anywhere from 70% to 85% of companies with remote workers wish to encourage workers to continue working from home even after stay-at-home orders expire. Even the business research firm Gartner observed in their surveys that 74% of companies expect at least 5% of their workforce who formerly worked in an office to work from home in the future.

Accommodating the workforce is not just only a part of the zero-trust model drive. It is a fundamental move in the digital technologies transformation of the business where the efforts were already in progress before the pandemic, as said by Robert MacDonald, director of solutions at Micro Focus.

With the implementation of the zero-trust model, companies can fight back to nullifying all possible efforts of the cyber activities to take place. With this understanding, here we have listed out why various security leaders of the organization must implement zero-trust architecture for improving the security protocols of their organizations.

  • Perimeter defined security is ineffective in the Rapidly Growing Enterprise

The way enterprises do their businesses and make use of digital technologies is continuously rising and at an accelerating pace. These digital transformations are using conventional perimeter-based cybersecurity models which are useless and ineffective because the scope of security enforcement is not clearly defined by the perimeters themselves.

Adopting a micro-level methodology through “zero security” is the only solution to approve and authenticate access requests at every network point. The idea of least privilege means that no one gets unlimited access to the complete system. However, every request needs to be constantly supervised and verified for getting access to various parts of the network. If a violation does occur, micro-segmentation will avoid the movements from all the corners and potentially reduce the damage that could be occurred by a malicious actor(or a threat actor).

  • Shared Security Responsibility is the Need of the hour by Cloud Data Centres

The access of workloads and critical applications from corporate-owned data centres to the public or hybrid cloud needs extra attention. Security leaders, therefore, need to re-examine the legacy suppositions of trust around people, technologies, data centre security tools, skills and processes.

A shared responsibility model, however, needs to be built in the new cloud environment where specific security issues are provided by the cloud vendor and the rest fall on the enterprise. The underlying supposition of trust in the infrastructure will obviously be different as the zero trust model can traverse this shared cybersecurity responsibility.

  • No More Blind Trust on Third-Party SaaS and PaaS Applications

Nowadays applications are usually provided as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or even Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). The applications are developed by software OEMs that readily consume existing services for logging, machine learning, database, verification, etc. They have little ownership of the software components on which the applications are built up but own the basic logic and business logic. This implies “own” applications are not to be blindly trusted by the application developers themselves.

In the zero trust approach, the use of security controls is made with the supposition that the network is already compromised. The execution is restricted for unauthorized applications or processes but verification of the data access is very much needed.

  • Inaccessibility of everything to everyone in the expanding workforce

The methodologies of running a critical business by the enterprises and the people who depend on them to execute key functions have changed. The network users are not being restricted to just customers and employees. Most of the users who access the business infrastructure and the applications could be suppliers, partners, and vendors servicing a system.

None of these non-employees should have or need to access all the infrastructure, business data or applications. Even the employees engaged in the specialized functions do not require full network access. A well-performed zero trust strategy permits authenticated access based on the core trust dimensions. This allows businesses to more detailed control access, even to those with higher privileges.

  • All WFH Environments are not verified with respect to the Security status

Remote work was considered to be uncommon during the pre-COVID era. However, with the onset of the pandemic and WFH becoming the new normal, security technologies and processes running on solely defined geographic territories such as the company’s headquarters have become insignificant. With a remote workforce, the likelihood of unsecured Wi-Fi networks and devices triggers the security risks exponentially.

Businesses must rely on the supposition that their employees’ work-from-home environment with Wi-fi set up is not as secure as in the office. Even the Wi-Fi router is not configured for WPA-2. Their installed IoT devices such as the smart thermostat or the baby monitor, operate on an assortment of security protocols if any at all. Hence, it is not easier to verify or control the employees’ WFH setup. Nor is it easier to determine whether the employees are working in a secured WFH environment without an overarching system like a zero trust framework.

  • Bring Your own device(BYOD) is not much secured as using Work devices

Under the WFH new normal, the devices which the workers normally use are less likely to be assigned by their employer. Employer-owned phones and laptops are traditionally patched, managed and kept up to date with various security protocols and policies. However, with everybody adapting to the WFH environment, employees usually overlook the basic cybersecurity hygiene skills and allow the employees to use their own devices for accessing work apps or networks. Or, the work laptops could be used by them to shop online personally while attending Skype calls.

Even if zero trust security can’t force employees to use work devices only for work in a WFH environment, it can regulate the likelihood of a security violation because of the underlying fundamental “trust nobody; verify everything” rule that enforces security controls at every network point.

Conclusion

Zero trust security is the future of cybersecurity. The perimeter-oriented, reactive methods that work as the underlying principles of old, traditional security need to become past relics. Governments and businesses must be dynamic and adopt zero trust now to confidently offer a cyber secure future to their partners, customers, citizens, and employees.

It’s time to consider security as a foremost parameter to detect, protect and reduce modern-day threats. That is why Instasafe offers a new-generation zero trust security model which provides continuous monitoring and network visibility that permits the trust to be context-based and dynamic, by authenticating every access request and allowing access only if certain criteria are met.