The traditional way to think about security is the old “castle and moat” defence; you have something that you want to protect (your company’s data and networking environment), and you’d protect it by erecting a barrier around it. In IT that meant security technologies like firewalls, which would let the right things in and block the nasty things out.
That strategy only works when you’re keeping everything located and limited to a specific “space”. However, with businesses now moving to the cloud, maintaining the same perimeter approach to security is like having a castle when everyone that you’re trying to protect is located outside the walls. A new approach to security is required to overcome these cloud data security challenges.
Introducing Zero Trust Security
“Zero Trust” sounds very cloak-and-dagger, but it’s a simple and highly modern approach to security in practice. Effectively, it means that anyone that interacts with your business – be that the employees working on the internal network, or customers logging in from outside – need to prove their identity every single time they want to do something. It assumes that any effort to do something on the network is malicious until proven otherwise.
One benefit of this approach is that it allows for the efficient management of the security environment. With Zero Trust security, governance and policy can be automated and operate in real time. With a perimeter defence, if something breaks in, it can go undetected for a very long period of time, causing more damage and leaking more data with every second. With Zero Trust, the systems that are proactively monitoring the environment can raise alerts immediately when unusual activity is detected.
The other benefit of Zero Trust Security is that it doesn’t really matter how the environment is set up. Novawork’s customers typically run hybrid IT environments, with a blend of public and private clouds, and within that they’ll leverage hyperscaler clouds right down to boutique managed services, based on their unique needs. The flexibility in approach of Zero Trust means that it can be applied to every IT environment effectively.
Zero Trust In Action
So, for example, one of our customers has a multi cloud strategy, where they take some of the backups from the Azure environment and put that into AWS. This is part of their backup strategy, just for a safeguard approach, they’re also thinking about redundancy between cloud vendors. They can’t access the backup information in Azure for example, they can always go to the AWS bucket and grab it from it. However, they architect this solution, they can leverage Zero Trust to provide blanket protection across all of it.
Zero Trust is so effective that it is one of those rare technologies where there is universal consensus on its value. At the executive layer, a full 83 per cent of business leaders do agree that Zero Trust is the only strategy to deal with modern security challenges.
Unfortunately, companies across APAC – including Australia – are also struggling with the implementation of Zero Trust. The problem they come up against is that Zero Trust can be a drain on both productivity and efficiency, with workers consistently unable to get their work done as they face security challenges for every activity.
In a worst-case scenario, the risk of shadow IT, as users look for alternatives outside of the networked environment, exposing that data and work process to a high level of risk.
This is where a partner like NovaWorks comes in. Our ability to deliver highly secure and tailored Zero Trust solutions, in a way that doesn’t compromise the efficiency with which people work, has helped us become the security partner of choice for many companies in highly regulated, security-conscious industries (including financial services and health), and at all levels of government in Australia. Supporting this, NovaWorks is accredited to the highest security standards with Australian Government (IRAP) and certified to ISO27001 global standard.
Getting Started With Zero Trust
Deploying effective Zero Trust security can be achieved through a five-step process – the earlier you bring the NovaWorks team on board, the smoother the process will be:
- Firstly, you need to define the surface that needs to be protected. This means that you need to audit the environment to understand what critical data, applications, assets, and services you have in it. It is only with this information that the full scope of what needs to be protected can be defined.
- Once you understand the surface area, the next step is to understand how the data moves around the environment and map the transaction flows. By understanding how the specific resources in your environment interact, you will be able to build tight controls into the security system, and better understand what aberrant behaviour will look like, so that the system can better monitor for it.
- From there you’ll need to determine the technology mix. Zero Trust security will operate in complex, hybrid cloud environments, so the Zero Trust solution itself will likely involve a combination of technologies and systems.
- It is only after doing all the above that you can start to build the policies within the security. At this point it is important to keep the users in mind, as this is the stage where you determine the balance between security and the user experience.
- Finally, with the Zero Trust security now in place, the final step is to monitor and maintain networks. Zero Trust can’t be a set-and-forget system, as it needs to be both iterative and agile to account for emerging threats.
With a Zero Trust security solution in place, your organisation can successfully protect itself following a digital transformation, and embrace the opportunity offered by the cloud. For more information on Zero Trust, or to discuss how we can assist your business with the strategy and delivery of modern security solutions, contact the team at NovaWorks today.