Cybersecurity is a field that evolves with every minor change in technology – each advancement gives threat actors another opportunity to access your sensitive data, and your security measures must be up to date in order to thwart such activity. This being the case, along with exploring how your current cybersecurity measures stand up to a threat analysis, it is beneficial to evaluate alternative methods to traditional approaches. One such approach is Zero Trust.

How does Zero Trust work?

Imagine a castle surrounded by a moat. Traditional security measures often utilize the moat as a strong perimeter to deter threats; unless you can swim across, you can’t get to the castle. While this can prove to be effective, threat actors are constantly trying to figure out how to swim across the moat. In more specific terms, the moat serves as the firewall, protecting everything inside of the castle, or network. Where some cybersecurity measures only work to stop anything from crossing the hypothetical moat, Zero Trust takes a different approach – in the terms above, it wouldn’t even trust an entity that has made it across the moat without verifying it is meant to be there.

While the terms above over-simplify Zero Trust, it is important to understand that it essentially eliminates the concept of an inherently trusted network. In order to do this, it focuses on the following:

Continuous Verification:

Every time an entity requests access, regardless of where it comes from, it is authenticated and authorized. This includes little to no consideration when it comes to the user or origin of the request, instead constantly working to verify and authorize, ultimately minimizing the potential for damage.

Least Privilege:

While it is important for users to have access to what they need in order to complete their tasks, users are often given more access than is needed. While this can be a helpful tool in ensuring employees have the access they need, it can unnecessarily compromise a company’s data. Instead, an approach where employees are granted the minimum level of access needed to perform their tasks works to limit the access that threat actors have to company information if the account is compromised.


Another approach nested under Zero Trust focuses on dividing networks into smaller segments that are isolated from each other. With segmentation, even if a threat actor does manage to gain access, their abilities are limited to one segment as opposed to the entire network. In other words, they cannot move laterally, ultimately restricting access to critical resources that put more data at risk.

While these three items do not make up all of Zero Trust strategies, they do play a key role in almost all Zero Trust cybersecurity plans. Understanding the basics of these elements is one of the most important elements of Zero Trust.

Considering Zero Trust Security

What are the benefits?

Zero Trust security brings with it a myriad of benefits, namely the diminished cyber risk that comes with a minimized attack surface. The increased amount of validation and verification also decreases the amount of havoc threat actors can wreak, especially as many items become more segmented. When we look at the elements of Zero Trust, we also look at improved compliance with data privacy regulations – due to the many hurdles that the strategy creates for threat actors, the increased precautions are more likely to cover your bases when it comes to these regulations.

In addition to regulatory benefits, Zero Trust security is an excellent choice for companies who utilize remote work. Why is this? The increased security helps to ensure that many of the downfalls of remote work are mitigated; while the risks will never be completely eliminated, Zero Trust implementations provide more agility within the realm of data protection and access.

What are the implications?

At this point, Zero Trust security is looking like an effective solution – it can provide increased security, easier regulatory compliance, and even decrease your cyber risk a great deal. However, as with any cybersecurity program, it is not for every company, and there are implications that are crucial to be aware of. It must also be stated that while Zero Trust does a great deal to work towards reducing cyber risk, it can never eliminate risk, as is the case with any type of cybersecurity.

What should you be aware of? While not a comprehensive list, here are some things to consider:

  • Cost: Implementing Zero Trust security can take additional security tools and training, especially when starting the process of implementation. This can become a roadblock depending on your budget and financial ability long term.
  • User Experience: Increased security measures can lead to stricter rules regarding accessibility to company tools. This can become frustrating to employees, require additional training, and create more complications when it comes to execution of certain jobs.
  • Complexity: Zero Trust strategies are often complex and require a great deal of planning and available resources in order to manage it long term. It is important to remember that Zero Trust is not something that is just set up and ignored. Rather, it needs management in order to be efficient.

Why does this matter for your business?

In an ideal world, a company would be able to complete a risk assessment and use that information to craft a foolproof cybersecurity strategy and incident response plan. However, for nearly all businesses, this is not the case, and cybersecurity strategies are shaped not only around the needs of the business, but also on capabilities when it comes to cost, implementation, and feasibility. Zero Trust security plans have an answer to many of the downfalls that are found in traditional options, making them a great choice for companies in need of higher security. However, it must be addressed that the time and effort that goes into utilizing Zero Trust might not be right for every business. The only way to know is to fully evaluate the current cyber risk and security options, as well as the realistic ability of each company in terms of implementation. If you are considering Zero Trust security options, it is key to work with a knowledgeable cybersecurity team to discuss your options.