Implementing Microsoft Security Zero Trust Without Slowing Things Down

Providing employees with the possibility of working remotely is fast becoming a very attractive option for many organizations. By making use of this solution, businesses can widen the talent pool available to them and thereby increase productivity.

However, businesses still have to deal with a significantly increased cybersecurity risk. This is why a solution like Microsoft Security’s Zero Trust approach can be immeasurably beneficial to your organization.

With this solution, all individuals as well as every device will be thoroughly verified. The issue that some may have, however, is if this technology will slow operations down.

Key benefits

Before deciding whether or not Microsoft Security Zero Trust is something that you need, it’s important to know exactly what is on offer. The Zero Trust model is designed to enable a strict evaluation of all access controls.

It works under the assumption that attacks can come from anywhere, including from within the network. Therefore, all users and devices that want access to the network must be authenticated, and each access request must be authorized and encrypted.

You’ll also find several preventive measures in place such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) that requires users to confirm their credibility using at least two forms of evidence.

Another way that will better secure the network is restricting the access of users to only what is strictly necessary. Also, by using micro-segmentation you can separate the network into zones meaning that even in the event of an attack, any damage will be limited to a particular zone.

Furthermore, real-time monitoring will enable swift detection of potential threats and immediate implementation of remediation measures. This helps to quickly address any issues after the initial breach before there is a chance to spread throughout the network.

In addition, arguably what makes the Microsoft Security Zero Trust model this good is the ability to integrate into a broader security strategy that can address an organization’s needs and compliance requirements.

Considerations

If you have decided to implement the Zero Trust security model with Azure to protect cloud assets, infrastructure, and users, there are a few things you will need to consider:

  • Identities – you need to establish an identity management governance framework to determine authentication methods and access controls.
  • Endpoints – all devices should be properly authenticated and kept under continuous monitoring.
  • Applications – on-prem, hybrid, and cloud-native apps, as well as APIs, will require the necessary access controls and protections.
  • Data – strict protocols should be in place to secure both business and customer data.
  • Infrastructure – any security issues need to be swiftly addressed especially those to do with legacy infrastructure.
  • Networks – end-to-end encryption, traffic monitoring, and analysis are crucial to maintaining a high level of network security.

Implementation

The actual implementation of the Microsoft Security Zero Trust model is a journey. This means that you don’t have to worry about a time-consuming, complete overhaul of your existing architecture. You can carry out the process in stages thus enabling everyone from IT to end-users sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the technology.

To protect your most vulnerable assets and users, you can start with specific apps, data assets, or classes of users. In addition, Microsoft Security Zero Trust allows you to leverage existing solutions to avoid slowing you down and to make the process more seamless and less costly.

Working effectively

Keeping things working smoothly is what any organization needs to operate at maximum productivity levels. So any security solution that you employ must not affect that. Zero Trust aims to fit seamlessly into how organizations function without causing disruptions.

This is evident in the quick and automated responses that help to contain access to corporate data in case of a breach. Another feature that helps to keep things moving along is having all the policy controls in place before the data is accessed.

Also, all apps will be properly configured and kept up-to-date to enable your organization to function with little to no disruption.

Identity management

As most people are aware by now, passwords are one of the weakest links in security today. That’s before we even look at the challenges users face with having good passwords for multiple accounts.

However, with passwordless authentication, which is now generally available for cloud and hybrid environments, you can eliminate that problem. Azure AD can make the process of signing in quicker and far more secure. This can be done through the use of:

  • biometrics,
  • a tap using Windows Hello for Business,
  • the Microsoft Authenticator app,
  • a compatible FIDO2 security key from Microsoft Intelligent Security Association partners such as Yubico, Feitian, and AuthenTrend.

Simplifying complexities

Dealing with the often extremely complex security solutions that are currently available can be a difficult and time-consuming task. The Microsoft Security Zero Trust approach is committed to addressing those complexities using integrated solutions that focus on the key issues.

Unlike other solutions, Microsoft wants to take a holistic approach by combining Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools and extended detection and response (XDR) tools. These tools, which will be developed in the cloud, will significantly enhance your posture, protection, and response.

So rather than slow you down, in this instance, these tools will actually improve operational efficiency and speed.

Wrap up

The recent spate of security breaches is clear enough evidence that organizations cannot ignore the reality. Businesses are at risk, from both external and internal threat actors. Hence the need for a Zero Trust approach. A solution that aims to verify all users and devices.

The benefits of leveraging this solution are plenty and reducing downtime, data breaches, and compliance failures are key among them.

You may not necessarily have to overhaul your security strategy but to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your IT assets, then Microsoft Security’s Zero Trust model is one that you should look at integrating.

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