How Small Businesses Can Implement Zero Trust

Zero trust for your small business

Adopting a zero trust strategy, which we covered in detail in our blog post: What Is Zero Trust
And Should Your Company Practice It?
, is key for small businesses to protect their networks. An
I.T. security model that requires all users, whether inside or outside of a network’s perimeter, to
be authenticated, authorized, and validated on a regular basis in order to access resources on a
private network, zero trust is a useful strategy for protecting your valuable data, applications,
and assets.

Let’s break down exactly what zero trust is and how you can implement it in your small
business.

What Are The Three Principles of Zero Trust?

There are three principles of zero trust that act as the guiding factors for a zero trust security
model.

Zero Trust Principle #1: Grant the Least Number of Privileges Needed

In a zero trust security model, users are given only the privileges needed to complete their
tasks, and nothing more. For example, let’s say a small business requires that their
administrative staff perform scheduling tasks. That staff member would be granted access to the
company scheduling tool, but not granted access to meeting notes or accounting files. This
limits the risk of files landing in the wrong hands.
Within this principle, users are also granted access on a time-sensitive, case-by-case basis, so
access is not provided for an unlimited amount of time, but just as long as it is necessary.

Zero Trust Principle #2: Require Continuous Verification

The second principle of a zero trust model requires all users to always be asked to authenticate
their access to any asset, data, document, or software tool. No one is above this authentication
step and they are regularly reverified.

Zero Trust Principle #3: Always Monitor

Lastly, a zero trust security model requires visibility of the actions, movements, behaviour,
contexts, and systems of users to provide transparency. The goal is to prevent security risks,
and detection is necessary to do so.

How Do You Implement Zero Trust?

Zero trust is not a ‘one and done’ process, but it is worth the effort that you put in. As a small
business, it’s imperative to protect your network. A breach in security can have a detrimental
affect on your bottom line, but implementing a zero trust system can help to minimize that risk.
There are seven steps your business will need to take to implement zero trust.

  1. Begin by identifying all aspects of your network, including servers, routers, firewalls, virtual networks, switches, computers, smartphones, tablets, printers, security cameras, demilitarized zones, and wireless access points. This will help you to identify what it is that you need to defend.
  2. Next, you’re going to identify all of your applications and services, including email, meeting and collaboration software (Zoom, Slack, FaceTime), project management software (Basecamp, Asana, Trello, AirTable, Notion), Cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive), antivirus/antimalware software, work suite software (G Suite, Microsoft 365), VPNs, and virtual firewalls.
  3. Step three in your journey to zero trust is to list out everyone that accesses your network, data, and assets. This includes your team, from employees to contractors, freelancers to executives. Don’t leave anyone off of the list and categorize them by job function and the level of access that they need.
  4. Next up, understand your network’s baselines. What are the common behaviour baselines that take place on your network each day? Identifying this will help you to understand what the minimum privileges look like.
  5. In step five, you will need to utilize new Cloud-based security tools. Zero trust is known as a perimeterless security infrastructure and your standard network provider just won’t deliver what you need. Tools such as a multifactor authentication and zero trust network access will help to enforce your zero trust strategy.
  6. Once you have gathered all of the necessary information and implemented Cloud-based security tools, it’s time to set your security policies. Here are a few policies to consider:
    • Who can access what from your network and when can they access it?
    • What is the authentication needed to access those assets?
    • How can your data, applications, and assets be used?
    • What behaviours on your network do you need to look out for?
    • How do you enforce these policies?
    • What data, applications, and assets can enter or leave your infrastructure?
  7. The last step in your zero trust journey is to always monitor and tweak your infrastructure as needed. In a constantly evolving technological landscape, there will always be new threats, new issues, and new concerns that may require you to rework your zero trust strategy.

Implementing and managing a zero trust strategy in your small business may seem a bit
daunting, but Technikel Solutions is here to make this process smooth and easy for you. Let us
do the heavy lifting so that you can focus on what you do best.
If you’re interested in better protecting your network with zero trust security, contact our expert
team at Technikel to discuss our multi-layered approach.

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  • Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Solutions
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