How Does BeyondCorp Affect Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs)?

Written by Zach DeMeyer on December 1, 2020

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Results from the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR) show that no one is safe from a data breach — particularly small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Due to a rise in attacks as a result of a shift to remote work, many SMBs are reconsidering their security practices. One approach they consider is BeyondCorp, or more generally, a Zero Trust security model. Let’s explore how BeyondCorp affects SMBs and how they can best implement Zero Trust in their organizations.

What is BeyondCorp?

BeyondCorp is Google®‘s implementation of a Zero Trust security model. This networking model was built after many years of design, research, and feedback. In Google’s implementation, they shifted all of the network’s access controls to the individual users, devices, and access gateways so employees, contractors, and others can work from any location without using a VPN connection. BeyondCorp provides user- and device-based authentication and authorization for Google’s core infrastructure and local applications as well as a number of other “factors” to help ensure that users are really who they say they are, devices are safe and secure, and the network path is appropriate and clear.

What is Zero Trust Security?

The Zero Trust security model that BeyondCorp is built on assumes that no connection is inherently safe. In most traditional enterprise networks, firewalls are used to enforce security at the edge of the network — known as perimeter security. This security model has evident flaws in modern times because, if the firewall is breached, an attacker has relatively easy access to a company’s internal tools. It also assumes that everyone is working inside the building on a corporate connection. In a Zero Trust model, users, devices, networks, and even IT resources are all untrusted by default. 

Securing Remote Workers

With the rapid shift to remote work that 2020 thrust upon the world, a traditional perimeter security model increasingly showed its scaling problems. The perimeter-based system wasn’t built to account for the security needs of every single employee’s house or remote working space. Traditional models were built on the idea that everyone would be connecting on-premises. 

When organizations moved all employees to remote work, VPN connections had difficulties scaling up to meet their needs. VPN connectivity also adds another layer of failure for webinars, Zoom calls, and other bandwidth-intensive needs. From an IT perspective, a VPN configuration is another thing to deploy, maintain, and troubleshoot. And, yet another account for end users to manage.

The Zero Trust security model allows employees to have full access to all corporate resources regardless of their location or type of connection. Zero Trust uses security measures that aren’t reliant on a firewall to provide safe user access.

Zero Trust for SMBs 

All of these ideas sound great for medium to large organizations with dedicated IT teams that can plan, strategize, deploy, and maintain a Zero Trust security model for an organization. While the idea of a Zero Trust security model might sound easier on paper, it’s much more of a daunting solution if you don’t know where to start. A firewall-based security model is much easier to secure in the short term, as you can generally control people getting in and out of your building. How do you start the process when you have no idea where your end users will be or what kind of connection they will have? 

A Zero Trust security model for small business (SMB) needs a turn-key solution that doesn’t require a massive budget to deploy. For companies that move to remote work — whether to increase efficiency, gain a larger hiring pool, or provide an employee benefit — a turn-key Zero Trust security solution will enable them to experience the same benefits of Google’s BeyondCorp without the IT overhead that large enterprise organizations require. 

Using a Cloud Directory Platform for Zero Trust

Solutions like the JumpCloud® Directory Platform simplify organizations to develop, deploy, and maintain a Zero Trust security model. JumpCloud allows you to lock down user identities, resource access, and devices from a single, web-based console — no matter where they’re located around the world or what kind of device they’re using. JumpCloud is compatible with Windows®, Mac®, and Linux®

JumpCloud’s solution combines identity, access, and device management in a single platform. With JumpCloud, it’s easy to implement Zero Trust security to secure your organization beyond the perimeter of your firewall without breaking the budget.

Try JumpCloud Free

Ready to see how Zero Trust security can be implemented in your organization? Check out this Forrester whitepaper that details the approach behind Zero Trust. 

To see how easily you can use JumpCloud for Zero Trust, set up a free account to test a modern cloud directory platform with up to 10 users, 10 devices, and 10 days of premium chat support with technical experts to get the most out of your experience.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a Product Marketing Specialist at JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, music, and soccer.

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