Zero trust security is crucial for hybrid work environments

Hybrid Work

Hybrid work environments are quickly becoming the norm, but the productivity and morale advantages of this model can be overshadowed by new cybersecurity concerns if your business isn’t prepared. With so many new, personal devices being connected to company networks and used in public places, risk grows exponentially. That’s why a zero trust security posture is now more vital than ever for hybrid work environments.

What is zero trust security?

Zero trust is a framework for a more effective cybersecurity posture. Under zero trust principles, no user identity or device is ever considered secure on any network. Even if a user or device appears to be using valid credentials to access the company network, it still requires authentication and its activity is continuously monitored.

Older cybersecurity models are like a big secure wall — hard to get through, but when you’re in, you’re in. With zero trust, someone meets you at the door, checks and double-checks your ID, then follows you around inside, watching your activity and logging everything you do. This level of scrutiny protects you from stolen or intercepted login credentials, making it extremely more difficult to sneak into your network and cause damage.

Why is zero trust crucial for a hybrid work environment?

In a hybrid work environment, your “attack surface” is much bigger than in a traditional network. Basically, this means that there are many more ways to sneak into your IT infrastructure than before. Why?

  • Remote employees often use personal devices, increasing the number of access points to your network.
  • Workers outside your office are connecting from a wide range of public and private networks, many of which are likely not secure.
  • Cloud infrastructures, while enabling better collaboration and productivity, require your data to be stored off site and constantly “in motion,” where it can be intercepted.

A zero trust framework sees all of these new devices and connections and assumes that none of them are inherently trustworthy. Instead of trying and possibly failing to sort out the good guys from the bad guys, zero trust, as the name implies, trusts no one and verifies everyone. This eliminates much of the new risk that a hybrid work model brings, and makes your network more secure.

How does zero trust help hybrid work environments?

Since zero trust is a framework and not set in stone, it will vary between organizations. However, there are several key components and capabilities that all zero trust models should include.

Granular access control

Instead of simply giving users the green light to enter the network, zero trust sets privilege levels so that users are only permitted to access the data or apps they need for their job. Access privileges can be assigned based on a user’s role in the company, their location, or even the device they’re using to access company resources. Access can even be granted temporarily to automatically close loopholes.

Encryption in transit

Transmitting data from one place to another is commonplace with hybrid work, but this is when data is at its most vulnerable. Zero trust always fully encrypts all data that is in transit, regardless of who sent it or from where it was sent.

Real-time monitoring

Zero trust uses machine learning to monitor user behavior, device health, and network activity to identify any deviations from normal patterns and prevent attacks before they cause damage.

Cybersecurity is as complex as it is vital to your business’s survival. So, building this kind of security posture should not be taken lightly or rushed, otherwise its effectiveness will be greatly diminished. If your workforce lacks the expertise or time to create a customized zero trust security plan for your business, Varsity Tech can help. From evaluating your current security framework to implementing advanced security strategies, we’ll ensure your hybrid work environment is safe and sound. Call us today