Zero Trust: The New Cybersecurity Mindset

In the early days, when there were fewer cyber threats lurking on the web, a reactive approach to cybersecurity was enough. However, as cyberattacks increased, it became necessary to change the way we thought about cybersecurity. We started by implementing new processes and creating new technology. When that wasn’t enough, the cybersecurity community moved to develop strict policies and regulations.

While those solutions have been working, the continued evolution of cyber threats is worrying. If the situation doesn’t change, these attacks may become too complex for our current methods to keep up. That means it’s time to rethink how we approach cybersecurity once again. We must now adopt what’s known as a Zero Trust mindset.

What Is Zero Trust?

When we say Zero Trust, we mean exactly that. Where the old model implicitly trusted that individuals, devices, and applications were safe, that’s not the case with the Zero Trust model. With this new approach, nothing is given the benefit of the doubt. In fact, Zero Trust architecture considers your network hostile and assumes that cybercriminals have already breached your IT.

This model is based on the fact that a cyberattack can happen to anyone at any time. The truth is that regardless of how good your cybersecurity tools are, no system can guarantee 100% protection. There are too many variables that can lead to a breach for a system to account for. In a way, the Zero Trust mindset essentially flips the old model on its head.

Zero Trust’s Core Assumptions

The Zero Trust model works by relying on five core assumptions, which include:

  • Your network has probably already been breached.
  • Threats, whether external or internal, exist on your network at all times.
  • Locally connected devices, applications, and people are not inherently trustworthy.
  • Since no one should be trusted, all devices, users, applications, and usage cases should be authenticated and verified with the fewest privileges required for a task.
  • Policies must be dynamic and aggregate data from as many sources as possible. This is necessary for continuous intelligence about what’s happening, where, and why across the network.

Zero Trust and the CMMC

Although there is no requirement for Zero Trust compliance in the cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) program, many of the policies that make up the program are already aligned with the fundamental principles of Zero Trust. For example, the domain of Configuration Management (CM) 2.062 in the CMMC asks that you “Employ the principle of least functionality by configuring organizational systems to provide only essential capabilities.”

In the end, the CMMC is pushing for Zero Trust for all federal systems and all systems within the supply chain. Who needs CMMC certification? If you plan on contracting with the government for your business, then you need CMMC certification. Implementing Zero Trust measures can help you achieve this.

How To Implement Zero Trust

Zero Trust is the latest in a long line of cybersecurity frameworks, and the CMMC incorporates best practices from all of those frameworks. This ensures that the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) (an industrial complex that enables research and development, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts) remains highly secure and resilient. Similar to other frameworks, Zero Trust shouldn’t be seen as something you do once and you’re done with it. It should be considered an ongoing solution.

You can start the implementation process by assessing your organization’s current security posture and asking questions like:

  • If a cyberattack were to happen, what tools do I have available to me to track the progress of the breach, initiate countermeasures, and restore my business functions?
  • What have I done to make sure that authorization and permissions are needed to access my network?
  • Are all of my policies dynamic and do they grant the least amount of privilege necessary to perform tasks?

Enhance Your Cybersecurity With Third Wave Innovations

CMMC compliance is a requirement if you want to contract with the DoD. If you want to become CMMC compliant, you need to implement reliable cybersecurity measures that take a Zero Trust approach. Our team specializes in cybersecurity and regulatory compliance. We can assess your IT infrastructure, determine what improvements need to be made, and help you implement the necessary security solutions. Since every business is unique, we tailor our services to meet the demands of your specific business.

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