Zero Trust Use Cases
Zero trust security offers highly granular control over an organization’s IT assets. This can be used to address various business challenges, including the following:
Secure Remote Work
As remote and hybrid work grows more common, it introduces additional cybersecurity risks to an organization. Remote endpoints may lack the same protections as on-site devices and be vulnerable to malware infections or account takeover attacks.
Zero trust limits the potential risks of a compromised remote worker’s computer or account. Even if an attacker gains access to an organization’s environment, every access request is evaluated against corporate policy, increasing the difficulty of performing malicious actions.
Companies are increasingly moving data and applications to cloud environments. While this has its benefits, it also introduces additional cybersecurity risks and complexity.
One of the main challenges of cloud security is managing access within and across cloud environments. Implementing a zero trust security policy enables an organization to enhance and standardize cloud access management policies.
Internet of Things (IoT) Security
Internet of Things (IoT) devices are also a growing part of corporate cloud environments. This includes both consumer IoT devices — such as smart thermostats or Internet-connected cameras — and industrial IoT devices designed to control manufacturing systems.
Often, these IoT devices have poor security and can act as an entry point for an attacker to gain access to the corporate IT environment. Zero trust security helps to lock down access to and from these devices, minimizing their potential threat to the organization.
Third-Party Risk Management
In addition to employees, companies commonly grant third parties access to their environments. This includes contractors, vendors, and partners who have a legitimate need to access, manage, or monitor certain systems.
This third-party access introduces the potential for supply chain attacks in which an attacker with access to a partner’s environment leverages their access to target an organization. With zero trust security, an organization can limit these third parties’ access to the minimum necessary, decreasing the potential risk and implications of a supply chain attack.
Threat Detection and Response
Cyber threat actors use various methods to access an organization’s environment and achieve their malicious goals. Account takeover attacks — enabled by phishing or malware — are a common method for cybercriminals to gain initial access to a target environment.
Zero trust limits the risk of account takeover attacks and can expedite the process of identifying and remediating cyber threats. With visibility into every request for access to corporate resources, a security team likely has multiple opportunities to identify and block a data breach or other security incident before it occurs.
Regulatory compliance is a major concern and significant challenge for many organizations. With large volumes of data scattered across multiple locations, it can be difficult to track and manage access to sensitive, protected data.
Zero trust helps an organization to maintain and demonstrate regulatory compliance due to the visibility it provides into requests for access to corporate resources. The ability to individually authenticate each access request provides opportunities to block unauthorized ones, and access logs from zero trust systems can be invaluable for demonstrating compliance or investigating a successful data breach.