The Identity Blog

Preventing Insider Threats- The Zero Trust Model

Insider threats occur in all shapes and sizes, from resentful former employees to incautious business associates or even attackers who are members of your organization. Data breaches caused by insiders are notoriously hard to detect. Insiders not only possess access to sensitive data, but they also perceive the security program very well to be able to cover their tracks. This is why it can take months until such events are discovered.

Likewise, predicting whether any person in your organization is intending to cause harm can be tricky. Obsessing employee activity or criticizing them for hidden agendas leads to fear and paranoia in the workplace. It in turn causes enormous damage to company culture.

Given these obstacles, the most powerful safety measure recommended by cybersecurity experts for protecting your organization from the loss of critical data is to start practicing an abundance of caution at all times. You may understand this concept as Zero Trust Security. It is an approach to network protection that could be summarized as “never trust, always verify”.

In the Zero Trust approach, even the devices within an organization’s network require authentication for accessing the IT resources. This offers an additional layer of protection compared to traditional perimeter security such as malware blockers and firewalls, that has external threats as the center of their attention.

However, the Zero Trust philosophy is not only about verifying access, it is also about limiting access. Your company network has a large amount of data, that is spread across different applications, folders, and systems. But the employees only use a small subset of these resources to carry out their duties.

Allowing them to access resources that are way beyond their intended role is a risk that only boosts the likelihood and potential scope of employee data theft. That’s why a predominant step towards implementing Zero Trust security is the Principle of Least Privilege. It means each employee should possess only the minimum level of access required to perform their job.

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