Zero trust is an approach to information security that involves not trusting any user or device until their identity is verified. This involves strict verifications, which aim to limit access only to authorized people and devices. Such verifications drastically reduce the risk of data breaches and information systems being compromised. However, these procedures require the use of various control technologies, sometimes costly, such as multi-factor authentication for users, intrusion detection systems, specific firewalls or network segmentation or access verification and management tools.
The Zero trust approach offers many advantages, especially compared to traditional security procedures based on implicit trust. This new security model is therefore becoming more and more popular. Among the benefits are the possibility to reinforce access control and therefore the security of information systems, reduce the risks of security and data breaches, and improve visibility on user activities and behaviors.
As mentioned, the Zero trust model also reduces the risk of data breaches by not trusting any user or device beforehand. As a result, if hackers attempt to connect to a network, for example to access sensitive data, their intrusion will be immediately detected and access will be denied. This model involves continuous monitoring of activities, as well as the behavior of users and devices, which allows for early detection of threats and therefore offers the possibility to react more quickly to security incidents. It also prevents mistakes by untrained users, which could jeopardize data or even all of a company’s information systems.
Moreover, the use of a Zero trust model can also offer companies an additional guarantee of quality. By implementing a security approach that does not implicitly trust users or devices, companies can ensure that their information systems and data are better protected and that they comply with procedures that generally exceed regulatory requirements, which is often considered a guarantee of quality.
However, it is crucial to also mention some of the disadvantages of the Zero trust approach. First of all, the cost of its implementation should be taken into account. Depending on the size of the organization wishing to implement it, the costs can be substantial. Indeed, in order to implement Zero trust, it is generally necessary to invest in a variety of new security tools. The more numerous the pre-existing infrastructures and networks are, the more complex, and therefore costly, the implementation of a Zero trust model will be.
Moreover, the use of Zero trust can paradoxically lead to problems in terms of data confidentiality and compliance with privacy protection regulations, such as the RGPD. Indeed, the implementation of such a security architecture implies the collection and constant analysis of authentication data and user behavior. Depending on the sector, if sensitive data is involved, such as healthcare and financial services, this may raise privacy issues.
Finally, it should also be remembered that, like any solution aimed at ensuring the protection of data and information systems, Zero trust is not able to guarantee 100% security. Despite all the security measures put in place, hackers sometimes find ways to bypass them.
Despite some disadvantages related to its cost, sometimes to the complexity of its implementation or to privacy issues, the Zero trust model remains a robust and reliable new security approach, which offers many advantages and allows to strengthen the protection of data and information systems. In any case, it is better to have a solid security architecture, such as Zero trust, than to be at the mercy of all possible cyber attacks.