Why Zero Trust?

In the dangerous digital landscape of today, a zero trust strategy is necessary to protect against external attacks and malicious insiders.

#cybersecurity #zerotrust #itsolutions

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
– William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
– Ernest Hemingway

These sage declarations from some of our wisest and most quoted authors are excellent ways to approach living. At best they’re positive affirmations of how to approach people with an open spirit hoping for the best from everyone. At worst they’re more complimentary spins on another famous quote saying something about keeping your friends close but your enemies closer (Vito Corleone, The Godfather). At the very least we should be able to apply these principles to those we know the best. This is not the case in cybersecurity. 

Cyber professionals are tasked each day with doing something few in society are faced with. If a burglar enters your home and takes something, you’d blame the burglar, and they would face the consequences. If a bad person from a foreign country supported by a complicit government and no extradition agreement finds a way into your company’s data and threatens the company’s very survival, well… we know the story. 

As attacks like those described above have become more profitable for the perpetrators and pervasive in all nature of business, the level of trust has changed. Yes, the wolves are always at the gate. Insider threats, even with background checks and years spent in service, are also real. But the vast majority of attacks come from unsuspecting good people being hijacked by a skilled outsider. In that environment, trust today needs to be zero. 

Synergy’s endpoint protection partner, Sophos, said it best. There is no “inside” network, everything must be verified, and it all needs to happen in real time. This “default deny” posture needs to be for everyone and everything. “Implied trust” based on network location or IP address gets turned on its head. 

Turning that philosophy into technology solutions has taken some time. Guidance has been given via Zero Trust Frameworks. Government entities have been first adopters. Now, affordable technology solutions are becoming more available as small businesses ask themselves how they can do more. Terms like Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) are becoming more mainstream. In fact, Gartner predicts that "By 2025, 65% of enterprises will have consolidated individual SASE components into one or two explicitly partnered SASE vendors, up from 15% in 2021 [and] by 2026, network and security vendors that are unable to deliver a compelling SASE offering will be relegated to niche market opportunities." 

Yes, the threats are always out there. Perhaps my opening quote should have been “I trust no one, not even myself” – Joseph Stalin. It’s certainly more apropos given the gravity of today’s potential losses to profit and livelihood. While most of us don’t wish to live our lives or work in that fashion, it is our reality. Technology is, however, catching up to make the application of zero trust less intrusive to our daily lives. 

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What is the challenge with traditional trust models in cybersecurity?

Traditional trust models assume anyone already on the network is trustworthy, which can be exploited by attackers gaining access through various methods, including social engineering or compromised devices.

Why is "zero trust" different?

Zero trust assumes no user or device is inherently trustworthy and requires continuous verification regardless of location or network position. This approach focuses on "least privilege," granting only the access and permissions absolutely necessary for specific tasks.

Why is zero trust becoming more important?

  • Increased cyberattacks: Profitable cyberattacks targeting businesses are more frequent and sophisticated.
  • Insider threats: Even vetted individuals can be manipulated or compromised, posing a security risk.
  • Evolving network landscape: Remote work and cloud adoption blur traditional network boundaries, requiring new security strategies.

How is Synergy helping businesses implement zero trust security?

Synergy leverages its partnership with Sophos, a leader in cybersecurity solutions, to offer:

  • Zero Trust Frameworks: Guidance and expertise in implementing zero-trust principles tailored to your business needs.
  • SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) solutions: Comprehensive cloud-based security tools enforcing zero-trust principles for secure access and data protection.

What are the benefits of adopting a zero-trust approach?

  • Reduced risk: Minimizes the impact of successful cyberattacks by limiting access and potential damage.
  • Improved compliance: Aligns with evolving security regulations and best practices.
  • Enhanced user experience: Securely enables remote work and access to resources without unnecessary restrictions.

What are the future trends in zero trust security?

Gartner predicts a significant increase in SASE adoption, indicating a broader shift towards zero-trust security models across businesses of all sizes.

While the blog post uses harsh language about trust, is a complete lack of trust realistic in everyday life?

The blog post emphasizes the unique challenges of cybersecurity and the need for a different approach compared to interpersonal relationships. While absolute distrust might not be feasible in daily life, zero trust in cybersecurity promotes a security posture that prioritizes verification and minimizes risk.


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