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Why Remote Work Requires Zero Trust?

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According to the Ladders’ Q1 2022 Quarterly Remote Work Report, 24% of professional jobs are now available as fully remote. That’s eight times as many as in the first quarter of 2022 and 2.4 times as many as the first quarter of 2021. 

When you initially hire someone to work remotely, analysts say you’re permanently changing the nature of that job. 

Tech is the most remote-friendly field, but others are catching up. 

There is still a bit of a disconnect between what executives are saying about needing employees to go back to the office and what millennials and Gen Z are demanding in the workplace. 

The past two years were a forced experiment in remote work, but now, it resoundingly looks here to stay. 

With that is going to be a growing demand for a Zero Trust cybersecurity approach. Cybersecurity is arguably one of the most pressing things facing companies as they try to sort out what the future of remote work looks like for them. 

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust security is becoming the new business standard in a work-from-anywhere environment. Zero Trust can account for BYOD and personal devices that are well-known weak points in organization security, and it can also deal with the disappearance of the traditional perimeter. 

Zero Trust isn’t one particular tool or technology. Instead, it’s a framework to secure organizations in the mobile and cloud worlds. 

No user, device, or application has inherent trust by default. 

Instead, with Zero Trust, there’s a reliance on least-privileged access control and rigid authentication of users. 

Perimeter security, by contrast, is now an outdated model that assumes everything within a firewall can be trusted. 

Remote work is what ultimately pushed perimeter security to be deemed almost entirely obsolete. Other reasons aside from the shift to remote work include cloud and mobile computing and the growing sophistication of cyberattacks. 

There isn’t a network edge in any kind of traditional sense anymore, and even when there are perimeters, they can be breached somewhat easily. When a traditional perimeter is breached, it allows the hacker to move around with ease diebestenvpn.

Zero Trust requires users and devices to individually pass authorization or authentication tests every time they access any part of the company resources or network. 

It’s unfortunate that so many organizations still rely on the protection of a corporate firewall. 

What other Reads?

Zero Trust vs. VPN for Remote Work Security

For decades, when employees were connecting to work remotely, the go-to answer was a corporate virtual private network or VPN. The idea was simple, somewhat secure, and affordable.

Over the past couple of years, there’s been a growing debate about whether or not the corporate VPN security approach is as obsolete as perimeter security. Even if it’s not dead, most feel the VPN is no longer the simplest, easiest answer. 

When the pandemic first started, VPNs were the obvious answer. Employees could securely connect to company networks and then access data, files, and systems remotely. 

Now, a lot of organizations are taking a hard look at how realistic it is to think VPNs are a long-term solution. 

VPNs were originally designed almost twenty years ago to connect devices with on-premises networks. Now, the infrastructure is cloud-based for the most part, and VPNs are being used to protect the environments they were designed for. 

VPNs are still trying to protect a perimeter-based network. 

Another problem with a VPN is that the connection is slow. If workers are trying to use Zoom or video platforms, the issue gets even worse. 

They’re also simply just not secure enough. 

If you’re not ready to make a decision that’s either or as far as a VPN or Zero Trust, you can combine them. 

In the short term, this may be the best option, but the ultimate goal should be moving entirely to Zero Trust. 

A VPN can be an access method that’s part of Zero Trust, but after the complete rollout of a Zero Trust framework, it’s a less time-consuming and cumbersome thing to scale. 

How Zero Trust Principles Secure Remote Work

Some of the specific ways that Zero Trust is optimal for remote work include:

Trusting nothing and verifying everything is the most important principle of Zero Trust, and it’s critical in remote environments. Security threats have evolved, and at the same time, the workplace has moved beyond physical buildings. Zero Trust utilizes robust device and identity access and management, governed by strong policies.

 IT admins can enable secure remote worker access through the implementation of multi-factor authentication. Least-privileged access is also a verification tool that’s integrated into a Zero Trust framework. 

The right credentials have to be presented, but Zero Trust also requires the right person presents those credentials. 

There’s instant, real-time visibility into all access attempts and complete network activity that’s an inherent part of Zero Trust. Real-time monitoring allows IT teams to quickly detect malicious activity, even when employees are remote. That reduces the period of containment and limits the reach of an attack. 

The device is relevant. Device trust is facilitated through access control mandated by policies. A device is denied or allowed based on individual conditions. It’s actually easier than ever before to onboard a new device, and IT admins can manage every device remotely. This might include updating security, wiping data, and remotely locking devices if needed. 

Zero Trust can protect against social engineering attacks, which is one of the most pressing cybersecurity attacks. Almost all social engineering attacks involve a bad actor gaining the trust of someone with access and then using that access to their advantage. 

There are so many increasing complexities in how people work. Workers are going between offices and home environments, but also working in public venues and even traveling to different countries to work. 

With these changes, it’s becoming not just a theoretical benefit to embracing Zero Trust. For a remote work environment, it’s becoming a necessity. 

It’s likely, according to analysts, that in the coming years, we’ll see a surge in the Zero Trust approach, and it will shift how employees interact with each other across all areas of business communication. 

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