#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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