Modernizing Data Security Through Zero Trust
Data security threats are on the rise, with attacks increasing for 2021 and no signs of slowing down for 2022. These attacks have targeted some industries harder than others, with healthcare seeing a 755% increase in attacks highlighting the urgent need to protect sensitive data for your organization.
While the old data security approach of keeping everything tightly locked up on-premises seems sensible at a glance, this approach is flawed. Locking information and adding time-consuming processes to justify and gain access slows down productivity. Users waste time dealing with all of the security controls for accessing and using the data, limiting the time they can focus on doing their job and innovating.
With many organizations embracing the cloud and rapid application development, the legacy approach to data security can’t keep up. Rather than sticking to old practices, organizations need to adopt a data-centric approach to security built on the foundation of Zero Trust. This approach protects the data no matter where it lies rather than building stronger walls to keep attackers away.
This article explores the challenges of protecting data and how a Zero Trust approach to data security is crucial.
Data is Everywhere
The modern workforce and its tools are no longer constrained to just office operations. There was a time when every business software tool was hosted within the confines of an enterprise network and was only accessible from within the controlled environment. Cloud technology has made it more cost-effective for businesses to operate, paying for technology on an as-needed basis. This has led to rapid adaptation of cloud technologies over the last few years and an immense amount of data leaving the enterprise boundaries.
Why The Cloud Shift
Shifting to the cloud is a matter of economics and efficiency. Investing in infrastructure to run applications that only utilize a fraction of the available resources throughout the day is inefficient. This results in immediate upfront costs of hardware that will devalue to almost zero over a few short years. This is compounded by the costs of running a data center to house it, including maintaining a consistent environment and implementing suitable disaster recovery infrastructure.
Cloud computing allows for flexibility that businesses need while only paying for what they require. Teams can utilize SaaS applications even if only a few members need them. Research teams can conduct in-depth data analysis using high-powered computing with all the power they need for a short period. Business units can be diversely spread out worldwide and still efficiently collaborate using shared resources and collaborative tools.
Who Controls the Data
With such compelling business reasons for leveraging the cloud, it is crucial to recognize the challenges – data. Anytime a cloud service is used of any variety, an organization gives up a certain amount of control over how that data is stored, managed, and protected. The amount of control given up varies by the type of services with SaaS applications affording less control than PaaS or IaaS. In each of these cases, the cloud service administrators may have back-end access to see the data stored, which can lead to compliance issues, especially for highly regulated industries.
This is even more of a concern considering that massive amounts of data have moved to the cloud, and growth will reach 200 Zettabytes by 2025. With all of this data moving to the cloud, organizations need a way to guarantee that it remains secure. While most cloud services offer some security tools, they rely on the customer fully understanding the intricacies of implementing them correctly. Failures to do this have resulted in significant data leaks, including personally identifiable information (PII) and patient records.
To adapt to this new computing paradigm, organizations need to shift how they think about defending their infrastructure. No longer is placing all of the data behind a secure wall sufficient to guarantee that the data is safe. Instead, they need to consider a more holistic approach to data security that does not trust by default and bundles in layers of protection to identify dangerous access conditions and block them.
A Zero Trust Data Security Approach
Zero Trust is imperative for protecting data wherever it lies. It takes a unique approach to data access with “never trust, always verify,” removing the concept of permanent access. When access is requested, it is verified for risk before approval. This process helps to identify bad actors using stolen credentials and potential internal misuse.
This is especially important for guaranteeing that access to sensitive data is appropriate in a cloud environment. Even in the event of misconfigurations or attackers gaining access to systems, when they attempt to request access, it has to be reviewed before it is granted. It limits their potential to gain access and decreases their impact.
Zero Trust Layers of Security
Zero Trust goes beyond simply having no standing access. It also requires a combination of other controls to be looking for threats proactively. These controls include a variety of data gathering, network monitoring, and user behavior analysis to determine when access is being misused. These controls focus on the data and its utilization to help determine the overall security risk for access requests.
Over time, user behavior is tracked, generating appropriate baselines that determine normal usage. When these variables change, such as a user attempting access from a new country or at abnormal times, the threat detection will identify this shift. These indicators are likely signs of an attack, resulting in access not being granted, blocking the attack.
The advantage of a Zero Trust approach to your data security is that it does not require any specific architecture for where the data resides. It can extend through existing on-premises infrastructure as well as the cloud simultaneously. This approach focuses on protecting the data and its utilization and not relying on legacy solutions of building more extensive walls to keep cybercriminals out.
Sotero’s Data Security Platform incorporates the principles of Zero Trust to help your organization protect its data. It takes a holistic approach to data protection by limiting access, keeping data encrypted at all times, and using advanced threat detection to detect attacks before they can get a foothold. Using protection extending throughout existing infrastructure and the cloud, Sotero can help your organization keep its sensitive data protected while meeting compliance requirements for even the most highly regulated industries.
Contact Sotero today for a demo on how the Sotero Data Security Platform can help your organization embrace the benefits of the cloud while keeping your data secure.