Connect Insights ZTNA

Zero trust security: An essential tool for remote workers


Now that remote working is the norm, many of our work lives have been completely transformed. This has made zero trust security more relevant than ever. As we continue to understand the difference in how we operate, understanding and implementing zero trust network access has become crucial for businesses to ensure their cyber security.

Remote work and associated cyber security challenges

Remote work models hav been more than just a cultural change; it has reshaped organisational security. Remote work has dissolved traditional office boundaries, creating a dispersed workforce that accesses corporate resources from various, often unsecured, locations. This dispersion has exposed vulnerabilities in traditional security frameworks designed for a centralised office environment.

In fact, the Mobile Security Index 2023 reported that 62% of companies suffered a security breach connected to remote working. 61% of CISOs (and 53% of CEOs) think that their organisation is unprepared to cope with a targeted cyber attack in the next 12 months.

Organisations must now confront security challenges that include protecting data across diverse locations and devices, managing access control in a non-centralised environment, and dealing with increased risks of phishing and other cyber-attacks targeting remote workers.

Understanding zero trust security

Zero trust security is founded on the principle of ‘’never trust, always verify,’’ a significant departure from traditional security models. Traditionally, security relied on network firewalls and VPNs to control access to corporate resources, operating under the assumption that users within a network are trustworthy. However, zero trust adopts a fundamentally different approach, emphasising continuous verification of user identity and device, regardless of location.

This model operates under the principle that no user or device is inherently secure, necessitating continuous monitoring of network, data, and application security, whether in the office, at home, or across various devices. Combining policies, processes, and technology, zero trust dynamically establishes trust from cloud to edge, ensuring robust security in diverse environments.

Implementing zero trust security for remote workers

Adopting zero trust security in a remote work environment involves several key steps:

  1. Continuous verification processes: Security systems continuously validate the identity and trustworthiness of users and devices trying to access resources. This is a shift from traditional models where trust is granted after initial login, often leading to over-privileged access. Remote workers might be accessing the company’s resources from various locations and devices. Continuous verification can involve multi-factor authentication (MFA), behavioural analytics to detect abnormal patterns, and real-time checks against potential threats or compromised credentials
  2. Least privilege access: Least privilege access means giving users and devices the minimum level of access — or permissions — needed to perform their tasks. This limits the potential damage from a breach, as attackers or compromised accounts can’t access critical systems beyond their necessary scope. Implementing this in a remote setting involves setting up strict access controls and permissions. Regularly reviewing and adjusting these permissions ensures that employees have access only to the data and services necessary for their current roles and tasks
  3. Employing micro-segmentation: Micro-segmentation involves dividing the network into smaller, secure zones. Each zone has distinct security controls and can contain only a single or a small group of resources. This prevents the lateral movement of attackers within the network. For remote workers, micro-segmentation ensures that even if attackers compromise one part of the network, they cannot easily move to other parts. Access to sensitive data and services is isolated, reducing the risk and impact of breaches
  4. Security beyond the traditional network perimeter: Traditional security models often rely on a defined network perimeter, such as the physical office and internal network. Remote work dissolves this boundary, making such models ineffective. Zero trust operates on the principle that threats exist outside and inside the traditional network. It doesn’t assume trust based on location (like being inside a corporate network). Instead, it verifies every request as if it originates from an open network. This is crucial for remote workers who might be connecting from unsecured networks

By implementing these strategies, organisations can create a more dynamic and flexible security posture that adapts to the complexities of modern work environments.

Benefits of zero trust network access for remote work

Zero trust security is a perfect fit for hybrid or remote working models – this is why:

  1. Enhanced security: Zero trust enforces continuous monitoring and verification of every access request. This means constantly checking user and device credentials, significantly improving security for remote workers who connect from various locations and networks
  2. Greater control over access: Implementing least privilege access ensures users receive only the necessary permissions, minimising the potential damage from compromised accounts. This tailored access is particularly effective in remote work scenarios, reducing the risk of insider threats and unauthorised data access
  3. Reduced risk of data breaches: Continuous verification and strict access controls drastically reduce the attack surface. Even if a remote worker’s device is compromised, the segmented and closely monitored nature of zero trust architecture contains the breach and protects sensitive data
  4. Adaptability and scalability: Zero trust solutions are inherently flexible. It scales with your organisation, providing a durable security framework that adjusts to new threats and work patterns without sacrificing security
  5. Improved compliance: Zero trust security helps organisations meet regulatory requirements, ensuring data protection even when employees work remotely by maintaining strict access controls and detailed logs

Implement zero trust security with CyberHive

When it comes to securing your remote workers, zero trust network access is not just a security option but a necessity. Using zero trust security strategies, businesses can ensure robust security in their operations and protect their valuable data from emerging cyber threats. If you’re looking for zero trust solutions, get in touch with us. CyberHive Connect is an easy-to-deploy product with a zero trust overlay mesh network, amongst many other benefits.

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