No matter which type of cyberattack you research, it’s rising. Ransomware, phishing attacks, firmware attacks, and others are all going up and making the cybersecurity landscape more dangerous for companies.

For example, in 2020, ransomware attacks increased 485%, and over the last four years, firmware attacks have multiplied five-fold.

If you’re still using the same IT security tactics of antivirus and basic firewall, then you’re could be leaving yourself open to an attack with costly consequences.

Today’s sophisticated threats often use zero-day exploits, which are those that hackers find before the software companies. This means they’re not yet in any threat database, which is what some basic antivirus apps use to identify threats.

The security model that is needed to defend against the most advanced attacks is called zero-trust.

What is Zero-Trust Security?

Zero-trust security takes a posture that users aren’t trusted simply because they have a login password. It also doesn’t inherently trust that an application that is part of a PC has the right to give any type of command to another system component.

This security approach uses a system of continuous checks and balances to ensure networks are secure and only authorized users and applications are allowed to do what they need to do.

The zero-trust approach isn’t one specific application or tactic, it’s a series of different tactics you can take to improve overall cybersecurity and make your network impenetrable to even the most advanced types of attacks.

Things You Can Do to Build a Zero-Trust Network

Multi-Factor Authentication with Contextual Triggers

77% of all cloud account breaches involve stolen or compromised login credentials. In a world where large-scale data breaches occur that expose user passwords all the time, you need to have additional protection on your cloud accounts.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has been found to block 99.9% of fraudulent sign-in attempts. It’s an important cornerstone of a zero-trust network and can significantly improve your account and data security.

Using contextual triggers with MFA can further strengthen your protection. This means implementing authentication using things like:

  • Location
  • Time of day
  • IP address
  • Device
  • Privilege level

If you’re worried about users pushing back because they’re concerned about the inconvenience of MFA, use it with a single sign-on (SSO) technology. This means users will only need to log in and use MFA once to access all their business accounts.

Strict Privilege Control Policies

Access control is a big part of a zero-trust approach. Using strict privilege controls can help you reduce the risk of a devastating breach.

By giving your users the lowest system privilege that they need to accomplish their work, you reduce the number of high-privilege accounts that could give dangerous access to a hacker.

To restrict privileged accounts, even more, consider setting up one dedicated admin account for platforms like Microsoft 365, that is not used for email or other activities. Admins can log in to do admin tasks, then log out when finished.

Application Safe-Listing

Zero-day exploits are often missed because a system doesn’t know what to look for. With application safe-listing enabled, it doesn’t have to know what to look for, it only needs to know what is allowed to run.

If an application is not on the safe list, then the system blocks any code executing by default, ensuring that you’re protected from even the newest threats.

Application Ring-Fencing

Ring-fencing for applications is closely related to safe-listing. This is used to combat fileless malware, which is a form of malware that doesn’t include any malicious code to detect. Fileless malware sends instructions to trusted applications, like Windows PowerShell, and those instructions are designed to cause harm, open a backdoor to the system, and more.

Application ring-fencing restricts what one application can tell another to do. So, this prevents malicious commands sent from legitimate processes from being carried out.

Cloud Access for Approved Endpoints Only

Another important part of zero-trust security posture is to monitor endpoint access to your cloud assets. Mobile devices now make up 60% of the endpoints in an average company and have taken on more of the workload. If you’re not monitoring endpoint access to your cloud accounts, it’s easy for a hacker to slip in and compromise your data.

An application like a cloud access security broker (CASB) can restrict access to any of your cloud accounts to approved devices only. This adds an extra layer of protection to ensure that only authorized users can log into your business accounts, remote networks, and cloud storage.

CASBs also allow you to detect uses of shadow IT, evaluate cloud applications for their security vulnerability, and more.

Need Help Getting Started with Zero-Trust Security?

ECN IT Solutions can help your Tucson area business put an affordable zero-trust strategy in place that reduces your risk of a costly cyberattack.

We’re here and ready to talk advanced cybersecurity with you! Reach out at 520-335-7553 or through our website.