Zero Trust Security

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Data security conscious companies are on the rise.

More then ever before we are seeing companies require their potential partners and vendors to pass Information Security Questionnaires before doing business together. Lucrative contracts are going to SME’s who can demonstrate IT security systems that meet or exceed best practices outlined in these screenings.

These Information Security Screenings are based on foundations for IT security and risk management. One of these frameworks is known as Zero Trust Security.

Here at TUCU Managed IT Services in Toronto, we help small business build strong security foundations. This is a simple primer on Zero Trust Security.

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How well are you controlling access to your company data, email and accounts?

SMB’s today need secure cloud solutions, secure methods to onboard and offboard staff, centralized, standard methods to manage permissions, information protection policies, visibility into IT systems and more in addition to the basics like antivirus and EDR.

Without the right support, it’s easy to fall behind and be vulnerable to unmitigated risk.

This Zero Trust Security explainer can help you understand what type of experienced IT administrator you will need to hire in house, or as is common with SMB’s, the type of Managed IT Services Provider you will outsource to.

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Why Adopt Zero Trust Security?

Today’s IT Security best practices begin by assuming breach, and being prepared for that scenario. This is known as Zero Trust Security.

The Zero Trust Security framework outlines best practices for controlling access to data and reducing risk of breach and data loss.

If your technology is compromised, your business goes in to a tailspin trying to recover and do damage control.

That’s why it’s important to assess your IT security, and implement good practices to protect your company.

Zero Trust Networking In A Nutshell

The first tenet: User & Device Security.

The first tenet of Zero Trust Security is to authenticate and authorize users connecting to your company data (and deny all others). This includes email accounts, user accounts and devices.

Azure Active Directory, Microsoft Conditional Access, and Microsoft Mobile Device Management tools are leaders in IAM and MDM for small and medium business. These are the tools we use with our Managed IT Services clients.

The second tenet: Control Access To Data

The second tenet of Zero Trust Security is to apply least privilege access.

Your IT security services providers can use Azure Active Directory and InTune with conditional access policies and permissions to help you establish User Groups that make sense for your business.

Each employee will have access to folders and files you determine to be suitable, and nothing more than is needed for them to perform their job roles.

These are best practices to protect your business.

The third tenet: Assume The Worst Case Scenario

The final tenet of Zero Trust Security is to assume a breach and preemptively minimize the damage radius and loss by having the right controls and recovery processes in place.

One effective method includes removing administrative controls from your staff computers and granting it only to your IT team. This limits accidental installations of malware from bad clicks, accidental deletion of system software, installation of readily available but insecure software that seems safe – but isn’t – and other common user created problems that can bring your business to a standstill.

You can’t stop what you can’t see. IT visibility in most small businesses is non existent. Make it a priority to add threat detection tools that can flag suspicious behaviour such as mass file deletions or encryption.  Implementing a full Security Incident & Event Management solution can be a bit costly for your first IT security budget, however there are many Endpoint Management tools that you can get started with.

Finally, having disaster recovery in place is a smart investment. Aside from cyber threats, a fire, flood or theft can negatively impact your operations. With a disaster recovery plan in place, you can be up and running again with minimal downtime.

3 tenets = hundreds of tools & settings to manage

Below is a diagram of the various points of failure in your IT systems that should be protected with a dedicated tool or policy.

These layers of tools work interdependently to keep your company safe. Where one layer may fail, another will hold the line. No single layer is effective on its own against modern cyber threats.

Remember the three tenets of Zero Trust Security when creating your strategic IT plan and be sure to review everything annually. Technology is constantly changing and requires continuous management.

Are you ready for some help with security?

Most small and medium business in Canada do not have an in house IT administrator and rely on professional outsourced IT management companies like TUCU. 

Trusted since 2003, TUCU Managed IT Services In Toronto will configure and manage your IT security posture based on best practices that fit your organizations needs, and will scale with you as you grow. Speak to us today about how we can help you with your security needs.


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