The cybersecurity industry has largely failed to protect the everyday user from the malicious threats that await them as they live their lives online.
The headlines of £ 1million fines for GDPR violations have now faded into the ether and have been replaced by new attacks now involving Microsoft and the NHS. The SolarWinds attacks and, more recently, Kaseya have shown that reactive cybersecurity, such as multi-factor authentication and detection and response solutions, is an insecure and ineffective method of combating malicious attacks.
In the corporate world, employees have been vilified throughout the pandemic for the security of their lackluster network and for cracking down on phishing attacks that open the door for bad actors to gain access and wreak havoc. In reality, companies have built their computer networks for maximum interoperability, creating a massive attack surface. Attackers move laterally within networks, taking advantage of what is connected. Additionally, IT infrastructures were never designed for a massive shift to remote working, which presents greater opportunities for attackers.
All of this has shown that bad actors will inevitably go unnoticed when they can take advantage of any trusted process or access to roam a network, and therefore reverting to a system that does not trust anyone is essential.
Encouragement on the other side of the pond
Therefore, it’s encouraging to see President Biden endorse zero-trust security as the answer to many of the issues that have plagued the tech industry.
For too long, we’ve believed in our own marketing, believing that building walls would keep bad actors out and that there was no way there was a breach. Yet every year there is a new attack, a new group of victims and a new set of tips like “change your password and verify your account details”, which is not enough.
As we move forward, it is clear that the zero trust security architecture is the most effective and practical solution to the current problem. Constant monitoring and controls across organizations’ IT infrastructure, along with rigorous hoops to jump through for access, will mean it’s hard to get in and go undetected.
According to Okta, this is the opinion of 75% of companies worldwide, who have decided to make zero trust a growing priority. They also found that 90% of companies worldwide have started working on a zero trust initiative, an increase of almost 50% from last year.
While cost issues may grab the attention of CFOs, it’s clear that organizations around the world are taking the pressure on IT teams seriously to meet their cybersecurity responsibilities. All except the UK.
Silence of Parliament
It is typical for the UK to follow the US lead in politics. With Johnson’s avid eye on technology, it’s surprising that there appears to be a reluctance to endorse zero-trust technology.
The disruption that cyber attacks can cause should be taken seriously. For example, the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack this year and the SolarWinds attack late last year wreaked havoc on individual businesses and disrupted society as a whole by disabling infrastructure.
The Kaseya attack is another example of how vulnerable businesses are. Yet there is also no statement from Kaseya to help, other than “We encourage Kaseya customers to read the company’s incident update page, which recommends people who have been affected to do not click on links sent to them by attackers, as they could be malicious.
Zero Trust security assumes the worst and takes extremely careful measures in the name of protecting the business. Rather than hoping that networks are secure, zero trust assumes that they are not until proven guilty.
Adapting to changing situations is what all governments have done over the past 18 months. But, for now, the UK government is sitting on its hands and has yet to approve a technology that benefits its citizens.
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