Zero Trust Key to Solving Cyber Challenges

Zero-Trust: Key to Solving Cyber Challenges

While trust is the key to sustaining relationships in the real world, in technology, Zero-Trust is the key. 

Law firms and legal tech vendors that are exposed to highly confidential and sensitive client information should consider the zero-trust security model to avoid data breaches and eliminate cyber threats that may place the firm and clients in danger. 

Hackers target law firms due to the amount of sensitive client information they manage; client information that could be worth millions of dollars; the pressure on firms to have their IT systems back up and running and their willingness to pay ransoms as law firms operate under strict deadlines according to Nick Kael, Chief Technology Officer of Ericom Software.

What is Zero-Trust

Zero-Trust is a security strategy adopted to combat external and internal cyber threats by eliminating trust from a company’s network. In simple words, NetDocuments describes the Zero-Trust security model as understanding the infrastructure of your network, thereby knowing where threats and vulnerabilities lie, as you have the ability to restrict access and provide different levels of access. 

Cyber professionals identify security risks and fix vulnerable spots in the enterprise’s security systems, upscaling security across all devices, systems and data to avoid breaches, and to secure valuable business and personal data. 

But Zero-Trust comes at a cost and IT professionals are struggling to implement it as quickly as they would like. 

Why implement the Zero-Trust approach

Organisational priorities are dynamic. During the pandemic, most moved to the work-from-home model, adopted Cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS), and depended significantly on electronic devices and data mobilization. The transition was so instant that few had a chance to consider cyber-attacks. For hackers, never had it been easier to gain access to an organisation's remote work platforms, trespass throughout its data systems, procure important access credentials, and successfully arrive at critical and sensitive data. So lucrative was this period that it heralded new forms of cyber-attack, such as snail mail attacks, the ultimate “Trojan Horse”. 

According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021, data breach costs in the US rose substantially in 2021, reaching the highest average cost in 17 years at 4.2M. Closer to home and these stats are no less concerning with data breaches costing an average of 3.7M. 

Interestingly, for those organisations with a mature Zero Trust approach, the cost of a breach was over 40% less than that of an organisation without an active strategy in place. 

As the storm gradually settles, remote work practices have endured and digitalization has become the priority, leading to a stronger focus on security practices.

Key to adopting the Zero-Trust model

AJ Nash, VP of Intelligence at ZeroFox, states that “Zero-Trust can be a cost-effective solution to reduce the risk of a ransomware attack, for instance, mitigating the risks posed by this increased interdependency requires companies to analyze and document how and where trust is established so they can identify the cause if that trust is abused,”.

Zero-Trust intensifies security levels by creating, adopting, and integrating different security systems to beat hackers’ attempts or efforts to infiltrate security systems. It will serve as a security wall to fight unauthorized infiltrations and encrypted assaults. 

And IT professionals are wanting to jump on board. In their recent survey “Zero Trust and IT Security” conducted with more than 1000 Information Technology Professionals across the globe, One Identity (a security identity firm) revealed interesting statistics, with 75% of participants citing Zero-Trust as critical or very important to their organization’s security posture.

While considered an imperative, Zero-Trust is still in its infancy and businesses are yet to put confidence in the model. The One Identity survey found that:

  • Only 14% have adopted a Zero-Trust model
  • 39% have started their implementation but aren’t finished. 
  • 69% of respondents are somewhat confident in their organization’s understanding of a zero-trust model; and 
  • Many of the participants believed that the adoption and implementation of the Zero-Trust model could negatively impact the productivity of resources.

The major impediment to adoption and implementation is in understanding how it works and where to start, with companies deterred by a lack of established criteria and standards. The One Identify survey tries to rectify this by revealing specific activities that will aid in the adoption of the zero-trust model. These include: 

  • Continuous verification of systems to identify who has access to what and when.
  • Monitoring of user access and privileges.
  • New access management technologies establishment
  • Mapping of sensitive data movement
  • Monitoring behavioural patterns and modification of privileges.
  • Network re-architecting. 

The key to adopting and implementing the zero-trust model is to start rebuilding the organisation’s security system from its foundations up, by upgrading and updating existing systems with the integration of new-age technologies. This process will help identify and access every grey area, enabling weak spots to be fixed to prevent security loopholes.

Constant monitoring and managing people rotation and movement are critical aspects along with providing restricted access to designated people, enabling enhanced security levels within and outside the organisation.

Key implications 

The Zero-Trust model is a promising model with great potential to assist in fighting against data security challenges. While still, a work-in-progress, companies need to embrace and implement it on a full scale to experience the real-time advantages and benefits of the zero-trust model. Industry experts anticipate that in time companies will increasingly adopt the zero-trust model, revamping their organizational security systems. In short, Zero-Trust is a cost-effective and more efficient security strategy, ensuring the security of companies’ systems, minimizing the loss of data and eliminating the significant costs associated with cyber-attacks.

 

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Novum Learning or Legal Practice Intelligence (LPI). While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information in this article has been obtained from reliable sources, neither Novum Learning or LPI nor the author is responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information, as the content published here is for information purposes only. The article does not constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law relating thereto and does not constitute professional and/or financial advice.