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In today's world, companies rely heavily on technology for practically everything, from selling products to maintaining communication with their customers. And often, we trust it implicitly, forgetting that even the most advanced technology can have weaknesses and vulnerabilities. That's where Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) comes in. This security model encourages people and business owners to let go of implicit trust and implement security measures themselves rather than relying on pre-existing systems. Setting up a ZTA can help protect small businesses from external cyber threats as well as internal risks.

Optimum Business can help you with security solutions for your company. Below, we'll dive into the principles of Zero Trust Architecture and explain how you can implement this model to help protect your small business.

What Is Zero Trust Architecture?

It’s difficult to define zero trust architecture succinctly, but essentially, it’s a security model based on the belief that no technology should be trusted implicitly—everything has its vulnerabilities.

Zero Trust operates on the principle of always checking, never assuming. It helps keep companies safe by encouraging them to implement measures to confirm who's accessing business systems. These measures may include employing identity verification systems and stopping any unusual or unauthorized movement within computer networks.

Non-ZTA models don't involve internal security measures, which can lead to people accessing data that they shouldn't. Implementing strong security measures within a business structure helps to ensure that people only get access to the data they need to do their jobs —and nothing that could put the company at risk. 

What Are the 7 Pillars of Zero Trust Architecture? 

The ZTA model is divided into seven key pillars that help create a robust security system. Learn about each pillar and how it works ahead.

  1. Identity verification: The first pillar of ZTA is identity verification—in other words, taking steps to ensure that those who access the company's systems are who they say they are. This typically involves authentication methods such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), a security protocol in which users have to verify their identity on two separate devices before obtaining access to a business system or account. 
  2. Device security: It is essential to ensure that all devices used to access the company's systems are secure. Companies can do this by having employees install firewalls and antivirus software on any devices used to access business accounts.
  3. Micro-segmentation: This pillar involves dividing the business network into smaller sections or segments, allowing access only to specific parts as needed. Employees are given key passes or passwords that enable them to access different parts of the network on an as-needed basis.
  4. Access with minimum privileges: The principle of least privilege, which is a key aspect of ZTA, suggests that businesses should limit access to company data and only give employees access to the specific data that they need to complete their jobs.
  5. Data security: This pillar focuses on protecting company data, whether it is stored on-site or in the cloud. Digital data may be protected via data encryption or by cataloging data and enabling access only to authorized users.
  6. Visibility and analysis: While physical businesses can use security cameras to monitor behavior, digital systems require a different approach to security. Business owners can monitor suspicious activity by employing tools that analyze network traffic and alert key players if unusual or potentially threatening activity is detected.
  7. Automation and orchestration: This involves using automated processes or artificial intelligence to manage, orchestrate, and deploy security measures across all facets of the business. 

What Are the Benefits of Zero Trust Architecture?

Implementing ZTA can offer several advantages for small businesses:

  • Helps prevent cyberattacks: By implementing minimum-access controls for employees and employing strict identity verification processes, businesses can help reduce the impact and severity of cyber attacks or other malicious activity.
  • Regulatory compliance: Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to meet certain regulatory standards. With a robust security framework already in place, it’s much easier to comply with standards around data access.
  • Reliability: ZTA can easily be customized to your business’s changing needs, making this security framework both adaptable and future-proof.

The Challenges of Implementing Zero Trust Security Architecture 

Implementing a Zero Trust security framework isn't without its challenges. Some potential roadblocks to setting up Zero Trust Architecture include:

  • Complex implementation process: Strong security systems are typically designed and set up by IT specialists. If you don’t have one on staff, you’ll have to hire an independent contractor, which can be expensive. 
  • User experience balancing act: Robust security can sometimes slow internal processes, so it's important to find the right balance between keeping your data safe and making business systems easy for people to use efficiently. Sometimes, striking this balance requires a bit of trial and error.
  • Resource intensiveness: Maintaining ZTA might require substantial resources, both in terms of technology (like special software and hardware) and personnel (particularly if your system requires frequent updates or maintenance). 

How to Implement Zero Trust Security Architecture at Your Small Business

Determine what needs to be replaced or upgraded 

The initial step involves conducting a comprehensive audit of all resources, applications, and access points and visualizing associated risks. Understanding user behavior and mapping the network's elements are also vital in creating a robust security plan.

Identify potential threats

Start by identifying your current system's weaknesses and points of vulnerability. Being honest about where your business systems could be stronger can help you create a robust security system that addresses your needs.

Invest in cloud-based security tools

Cloud-based security tools are useful for monitoring, managing, and protecting the network against possible threats, regardless of the user's location. With Internet de Optimum Business, you'll get built-in cyber security with DDoS and DNS protection to help ensure your business is protected from a wide range of potential threats. Plus, we offer 24/7 customer support-so if an issue does arise, we'll be able to help you address it quickly.

Consider the user experience

Striking a balance between strict security and a smooth user experience is crucial. The goal is to extend the Zero Trust protection to all aspects of the IT infrastructure without compromising user accessibility.

Regularly monitor business systems

Implementing a security system isn't a one-and-done project. To ensure your business stays secure, you'll want to keep a close eye on network activity and security and make adjustments and updates to your system as needed.
Optimum Business is committed to helping you achieve your business goals. Descubra cómo podemos ayudar aún más a su negocio con nuestros consejos y recursos de comercialización.

Optimum Business se compromete a ayudar a que su negocio pequeño prospere. Descubra cómo podemos ayudar aún más a su negocio con nuestros consejos y recursos de comercialización.