3 Steps To Zero-Trust Cybersecurity For Small Businesses

June 12th, 2023
3 Steps To Zero-Trust Cybersecurity For Small Businesses

Cyberattacks are becoming more and more sophisticated by the day. More powerful computers, better AI, and decades of knowledge have given cybercriminals the tools to find vulnerabilities and infiltrate networks big and small.

There’s good news. In the paradigm of cyberattack and cyber defence, the defender always has the advantage, that is, as long as they have a properly implemented defence strategy.

Zero trust is one such strategy—and one we strongly advise small businesses to implement. With zero trust, attackers find it nearly impossible to infiltrate a network. Even if network infiltration occurs, they’ll find it extremely difficult to access or modify the data they’re after.

What Is Zero Trust?

Zero trust is not a piece of software or a platform. You can’t turn zero trust on with the click of a button. Zero trust is a strategy—a framework that must be implemented across your network and applied systemically in order to succeed.

The basic premise of zero trust is that no device or user should be trusted automatically, and devices should engage in mutual verification across all access points. Access rights are continually validated to ensure that no one has access to any point on the network for too long and that no one has more access than they need.

We recommend that all businesses explore zero-trust solutions for their networks. Here are three ways you can get started:

1. Never Trust, Always Verify

The core principle of zero trust is “never trust, always verify”. There are a few different ways you can implement this philosophy in your business network:

  • Never automatically trust a device—always require user logins.
  • Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all login attempts.
  • Implement real-time monitoring and reporting to monitor user activity and flag suspicious activity.
  • Require users to update their login credentials regularly.
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM) plays an essential role in the “never trust, always verify” philosophy—IT managers should always know which users are on the network and what they’re doing. No devices that aren’t controlled by a verified user should be allowed on the network.

    2. Limit Access

    Giving users unlimited (or less limited) access can be tempting—it’s hard to predict when someone will need access to a particular point on your network, and giving them the security credentials they need for temporary access can take a long time.

    Nonetheless, you should restrict user access across your network, limiting users only to the points on your network they need to access regularly and giving temporary access only when and where it’s needed. User permissions that are too lax lead to more vulnerabilities on your network.

    Here are three ways you can limit access:

  • Just-in-time access (JIT)—Users, devices or applications are granted access only for a predetermined period. This helps limit the time one has access to critical systems.
  • Principle of least privilege (PoLP)—Users, devices or applications are granted the least-access or permissions needed to perform their job role.
  • Segmented application access (SAA)—Users can only access permitted applications, preventing any malicious users from gaining access to the network.
  • By implementing all of these tools, you can seriously reduce the number of vulnerabilities on your network, both from internal and external attackers.

    3. Assume Breach and Minimize Impact

    This principle states that, despite all of our efforts to verify users and their activities, breaches will still occur. By assuming that the network will be compromised at one point or another, you can be proactive about protecting your network. There are a number of tactics you can implement when you assume that all user identities and devices are compromised:

  • Use services like managed detection and response (MDR) to protect your network after a breach.
  • Segment your network into several micro-networks to prevent infiltration on one network from reaching another.
  • Encrypt all sensitive data, both at rest (when it’s sitting on the network without being accessed) and in transit (when it’s being sent between devices).
  • Create an incident response plan.
  • Create backups of your entire network regularly.
  • Audit all user activity regularly.
  • Looking for Zero-Trust Solutions? Call Constant C

    At Constant C, our goal is to create security solutions for your network that balance ease of use with security.

    We can help you implement a zero-trust strategy throughout your network, using a variety of tools and techniques to stop threats without impeding productivity. Secure your network with zero-trust solutions—call Constant C today!