Why “Zero Trust” is Critical to Compliance

It is a brand-new world when it comes to data privacy and security. New regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have joined PCI-DSS, HIPAA, and more than 25,000 other cybersecurity regulations passed since 2008.

Together, these regulations have vastly increased the workload on security teams already stretched thin by the sheer scale and complexity of modern software services. With so much data infrastructure currently residing outside the corporate firewall, the mandate now is to protect data and to keep track of it.

Most of the recent high-profile data breaches occurred after hackers exploited vulnerabilities at key endpoints and then moved laterally within the environment to their ultimate target. This is why many organizations are turning to a fledgling security model that is finally coming into its own — zero trust security.

In a zero trust paradigm, permissions alone do not confer or equate to trust. Zero trust verifies identity and payload each time an east-west movement is attempted, stopping the attack before data can be reached, much less breached. This exceeds the compliance requirements of today’s regulatory frameworks.

Zero trust allows organizations to adopt a more rigorous security posture in two key ways:

  • Discovery of all network assets: Conducting an inventory of applications, databases and other key assets is the first step in any data security plan. Zero trust means that assets are discovered automatically, and compliance mandates can be applied through proper documentation and record-keeping.

  • Lock down access: Least privileged access is a core component of zero trust in which the enterprise adopts a policy of granting access only to those resources that actually require it. This reduces the attack surface and demonstrates to users, auditors, regulators and even courts that the organization has taken all reasonable steps to protect data from unauthorized access. As an added benefit, this leaves an audit trail to reconstruct security events if a breach occurs.

Without a mechanism for full discovery of network assets, personal information could be lurking un-managed and unprotected on any system in a network. Unfortunately, most enterprises have yet to upgrade their legacy security frameworks to fulfill these mandates.The best way to accomplish this is through partnership with a seasoned provider. While every enterprise is different, an experienced provider can help avoid the most serious pitfalls before they impact costs, deployment schedules, or the efficacy of compliance-driven security measures.

By adopting the zero trust model now, organizations can begin laying the groundwork for any and all challenges that arise in the future, while gaining a more thorough understanding of expanding, dynamic data architectures and the vulnerabilities they contain. Read more at HelpNetSecurity. Learn more about protecting your medical practice of business at HIPAAcraticRx.

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