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I (Zero) Trust You: Building Trust in a Zero-Trust Security Environment


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    Zero Trust may be the biggest buzzword in security. It’s becoming increasingly embraced across private and public organizations, and it was central to the cybersecurity Executive Order issued by the Biden administration in 2021. And Zero Trust encompasses a wide range of meanings, which may differ depending on who you ask.

    At its core, Zero Trust is a security approach that assumes your network has already been compromised. Security ecosystems used to be simpler, and confined to a clear network perimeter. That’s no longer the case, as multi-cloud environments expand and user endpoints multiply at a rapid pace. Zero Trust aims to validate and authenticate users as they access data across your network — requiring that users confirm they are who they say they are.

    Some people see Zero Trust as a bit of unfortunate branding for security leaders to implement. How can you foster employees’ trust when your security strategy assumes that you don’t trust them?

    Why Zero Trust Matters

    The idea behind Zero Trust is “never trust, always verify.” That applies to all traffic—users and systems—all the time. At Virtru, we believe in a Zero Trust framework because it’s a strong approach to cybersecurity, and it requires pairing data protection with strong, federated identity management.

    Zero Trust treats every user and every system with equal caution. Everyone is on the same playing field. And just because your security framework requires authentication doesn’t mean that you, as an individual, don’t trust your colleagues.

    You can trust your colleagues to do the right thing while also putting a safety net in place. When you ride as a passenger in a car, you wear your seatbelt—not because you don’t trust the driver, but because there are so many variables that could cause an accident. And you want to be safe if an accident occurs. With a Zero Trust foundation, you’re doing your employees a favor. You’re all on the same team, working to ensure your company’s most vital assets remain secure, and a Zero Trust framework enables just that.

    Tips to Get Employees Involved in Security

    Make security a collaborative, cross-functional process.

    Not only will this spark engagement among employees inclined toward technology and data security, but it will also give you advocates across the organization. With engagement and buy-in from HR, sales, marketing, finance, product development, customer success, and other functions, you’re building a network that can educate, build trust, answer questions, and influence employee behavior. See our blog post on creating an Insider Threat program for some ideas on building engaged, cross-functional security teams.

    Create a regular cadence of communication and feedback.

    You want to keep security top of mind all year long, not just when you conduct your annual security awareness training. Additionally, If your employees are frustrated or confused about security, you want to know about it (so they don’t go rogue and circumvent the processes you’ve put in place). Schedule technology check-ins with various teams, and/or reach out two to three times a year to solicit input, feedback, or survey data about data protection from your entire organization.

    More Tips for Zero Trust Security Awareness

    Our Empowered Employee report includes 3 more trust-building tips for security leaders in a Zero Trust environment, plus dozens of other ideas for sparking employee engagement around security year-round. Download Virtru’s Empowered Employee report for more ideas and recommendations for building your Zero Trust security culture.

    Megan Leader

    Megan Leader

    Megan is the Director of Brand and Content at Virtru. With a background in journalism and editorial content, she loves telling good stories and making complex subjects approachable. Over the past 15 years, her career has followed her curiosity — from the travel industry, to payments technology, to cybersecurity.

    View more posts by Megan Leader

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