Zero Trust: The Business Standard for Cybersecurity

In today’s digital-first era which has seen the rise of remote/hybrid work, the growth of cloud services, and the ubiquity of mobile devices, zero trust is emerging as the business standard security model for combatting cyberthreats and securing data and systems.

A term first coined by Forrester Research analyst John Kindervag in 2010, zero trust is based on the underlying principles of “never trust, always verify.” According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), “zero trust is the term for an evolving set of cybersecurity paradigms that move defenses from the static, network-based perimeters to focus on users, assets, and resources.”

NIST further explains that “zero trust assumes there is no implicit trust granted to assets or user accounts based solely on their physical or network location (i.e., local area networks versus the internet) or based on asset ownership (enterprise or personally owned).” In other words, under the zero-trust security model, no user, device, or application – internal or external to the organization – is inherently trusted. All resources are continuously authenticated, verified, and authorized.

Zero trust, which can be thought of as a comprehensive, proactive security mindset, is gaining momentum. The shift to zero trust security is accelerating along with the work from anywhere environment (WFA) which is increasing the number of employees accessing data, applications, and servers outside the corporate network.

Securing WFA is mission-critical for enterprises today as threat actors are working overtime to exploit vulnerabilities exposed by this environment. This is evidenced by skyrocketing cyberattacks with 1,862 publicly reported breaches in the U.S. in 2021, up more than 68% from 2020.

As networks become more complex and cyber threats escalate, zero trust is rapidly becoming a network security standard not only critical to protecting data and assets but the bottom line. According to IBM’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report, organizations with a mature zero trust strategy had an average data breach cost of $3.28 million – $1.76 million lower than those who had not deployed this approach at all.

The benefits of zero-trust solutions are well recognized by enterprises. A survey by Fortinet found that the top benefits of zero trust solutions cited by organizations included providing security across the entire digital attack surface, enhancing the user experience for remote work (VPN), and enabling enterprises to quickly adapt to rapidly evolving network changes.

While 75% of organizations recognize zero trust as being critically or very important to bolstering overall cybersecurity posture, only 14% report that they have fully implemented a solution according to results of a global survey released by security company One Identity.

To progress to a zero-trust security posture, enterprises need to deploy solutions that support zero trust. That includes collaboration solutions designed for the enterprise and architected with end-to-end encryption (E2EE). E2EE is essential to ensuring the privacy and security of enterprise communication and collaboration. With E2EE data is encrypted on the sender’s system or device, and only the intended recipient is able to decrypt and read the message. Ensuring that business communication is locked down in this way applies zero trust principles to mobile messaging and collaboration.

Enterprises also need to take a zero-trust security posture when it comes to messaging apps that collect and share data. Data sharing and collection practices expose organizations to the risk of data leakage and data breaches that can result in business disruption, IP theft, financial loss, reputational harm, and hefty fines from regulatory authorities. A zero-trust approach to enterprise communication and collaboration calls for a mobile messaging platform like NetSfere with strict no data sharing or collection policies.

Secure, end-to-end encrypted, and compliant by design, NetSfere embeds the principles of zero-trust security into enterprise mobile messaging, helping organizations reduce business risk while enabling the secure communication and collaboration essential to powering the WFA environment.