Zero Trust: What Is It? How Does It Work? Why Should I Use It?

Are you working from home or the office? Each situation poses challenges as we integrate back into systems that make our world more connected from anywhere. Unfortunately, being connected in our modern world also means being vulnerable to malicious activities. New technology makes it easier than ever to get your work done efficiently. However, it also makes it easier for hackers to access enterprise networks and exploit network vulnerabilities.

Zero Trust network security

The best way to lock down your network security without causing a loss of productivity is by using Zero Trust. Zero Trust has emerged as a best practice and policy of choice for many organizations.

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust originated from the shortcomings of other traditional network security methods.

Most organizations typically take a different approach to network security. Usually, an enterprise will begin with a risk management approach where they take a defensive stance. Think of it this way: there are two networks, internal and external, with a firewall separating them. Anything within this walled system is safe and trusted, but anything outside could pose a hazard to the enterprise.

Fast forward to 2021, when things often look a little less traditional. We live and work in complex environments that rely on IT infrastructure to function at total capacity. They push the boundaries of this classic inside/outside mindset that used to be more basic. For example, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, this thinking fell apart quickly because many people worked offsite. People who would once be categorized as part of the inside space belonged to the outside area but still needed reliable network usage.

Therefore, various methods of providing private networks have arisen in our modern technological world. Virtual private networks (VPNs) are one-way enterprises that can expand their internal network to include other users from anywhere. However, VPNs assume a certain level of trust, which can’t always be guaranteed. VPNs make it easier for hackers to access critical information as long as they have the proper credentials, exploit the connection, or find the tiniest loophole in security protocol. Therefore, VPNs still carry a high risk.

As a result, professionals wanted a better way to secure their information from anywhere. Zero Trust arose as a replacement to VPNs since it is rooted in a more identity-oriented approach. Zero Trust takes a hardline approach to network security that accommodates the nuance of the modern workplace and its dynamic mobile workforce.

What makes Zero Trust so effective is in its name. Zero Trust is more skeptical with its perimeter approaches than other security network techniques. It tends to withhold information and blanket access and only gives users the information they need at any given time. This is known as the least privileged model. This makes it extremely difficult for hackers to obtain full access to critical business information, even if they somehow manage to obtain essential credentials.

How Does Zero Trust Work?

Zero Trust’s first implementations use a micro-segmentation approach to network access. The basis is still the traditional inside/outside thinking, but it’s updated for better risk management.

Micro-segmentation fragmented the internal network into smaller pieces that can separate perimeters. These were further broken down and subdivided into cloud and on=prem infrastructures. As a more secure option, the VPN systems worked well. However, there was one considerable drawback: network visibility was decreasing while admin overhead increased.

As a result, Zero Trust systems have realigned themselves with a stronger emphasis on who over how. In other words, it’s not as much about creating complex blueprints for network compartmentalization or subdividing systems endlessly. Today, Zero Trust hones in on identifying users more accurately to prove they are trusted individuals. Zero Trust works through cloud-based identity providers (IdPs) and single sign-on solutions (SSO) to implement better security validation systems. Multi-factor authentication practices that require dual methods of confirming your identity to gain user access are also growing in popularity.

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Key Advantages

There are many key advantages to taking a more identity-oriented approach with Zero Trust technology.

This approach allows Zero Trust network policies to vary depending on each enterprise and user pool. It all comes down to what each company views as the best protocol for its optimal security levels. For some companies, uniformity is critical across the board, while others might view this as less valuable. Some might require full end-to-end encryption of all network communications, while others might implement regular inspections. Regular inspections or “hygiene” checks help ensure that devices and data streams are free from malware.

  • Access is restricted, even among trusted users, to lateral resources or low-level core infrastructure
  • Hybrid networks have better support
  • Security management is more consistent, tight, and controlled
  • Removal of unnecessary functions for users
  • Remote workers have seamless access
  • Contractors can easily work with the same systems as regular employees

Who is Zero Trust Meant For?

The best part of Zero Trust is that it can benefit everyone. Even if your organization is extremely large or small, Zero Trust network approaches can help all companies. Agencies that use refusal, contractor printing, and even global enterprises that rely on mobile devices for daily operations will both find solace in the trusted security measures of Zero Trust.

In contrast to VPN alternatives, Zero Trust approaches allow for greater flexibility, scalability, and integration through differing networks. Each organization can customize the way its own Zero Trust system will work. For instance, if your focus is zero-trust printing functionality, then your enterprise could pursue various solutions that allow for off-network printing.

Off network printing ties into Zero Trust perfectly because you need reliability. With Zero Trust you always get the most reliable connections and can rest assured that they are secure. Printing important documents off a network can seem like a bad option if you don’t have the best network security from Zero Trust. However, with zero Trust off network printing is safer and easier than ever before.

The NSA has recently endorsed Zero Trust protocols and even published detailed guidance on adopting ZTNA models. During the heat of the pandemic, a Deloitte poll showcased that over 70% of organizations that assumed a Zero Trust approach could exceed or keep their current pace.

For all of these reasons, Zero Trust is quickly becoming an industry-leading option and their standard for network security worldwide. There is no arguing the incredible value of Zero Trust systems as recognized and critical security measures going forth into the next stage of our modern IT infrastructure.

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Are You Interested in Eliminating All of Your Print Servers?

Secure network connections and serverless printing are just a click away.

At Printer Logic, we tirelessly work to deliver only the best services for our clients including secure network connections with Zero Trust. If you are ready to work with the peace of mind a secure network connection can give you, don’t hesitate. We would love to show you how Zero Trust can make your life a breeze today.

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