KISS: Keep IT Security Simple

Written by Kate Lake on March 21, 2022

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After the mass shift to remote work in 2020, cybersecurity became an increasing concern — and for good reason. Cybercrime shot up and continues to rise. Now that businesses are working in new environments, they’re wondering what they have to do to secure them. 

This increased need for security has made it a hot topic in the market. However, all the buzz can make security seem complicated and unattainable — especially for companies working with limited resources and budgets. 

Fortunately, security doesn’t have to be as complex as it may seem. This article will break down the fundamentals of what businesses need to know to keep themselves secure. 

What Does It Take to Be Secure Today?

The workplace has changed significantly within the last decade, and even more so in the last few years after the mass shift to remote work in response to COVID-19. The security methods designed to protect older workplace models no longer work to secure modern environments. 

What Changed?

As the demand for mobile devices, new efficiencies, and flexibility in the workplace grew, businesses began making the shift to the cloud. The shift to remote work in 2020 saw particularly vast cloud adoption as companies looked for ways to make their resources available to remote employees. Now, the business norm has become hybrid-cloud or fully cloud-based infrastructure and SaaS tools. 

However, many businesses carried over their older security models during this shift. Commonly referred to as “perimeter security,” this model created a perimeter of firewalls around the company’s on-premise network. Whoever made it past the perimeter (by logging in with a username and password, for example) could move around the network freely. 

But now that on-premise networks have largely dissipated, there’s no physical infrastructure to build a perimeter around. Firewalls and other perimeter security technology can’t protect cloud resources that live outside of the company’s on-prem infrastructure. How can businesses secure their new cloud-based environments?

Enter Zero Trust security

What Is Zero Trust Security?

Zero Trust is a security approach that meets the needs of modern cloud-based environments. It arose as a response to the shortcomings of perimeter security, and it has gained significant traction over the last few years as the world adopted remote work.

Because Zero Trust has become a commonly used term in the IT market, it’s earned a reputation among some as overcomplicated. Fortunately, it’s more straightforward than it’s often made out to be. In essence, Zero Trust security enforces the principle of least privilege (PoLP) with secure authentication everywhere.

How to Implement Zero Trust

Forrester, a leader in the Zero Trust space, released a Practical Guide to a Zero Trust Implementation, which lays out the following steps to achieving Zero Trust security.

  • Assess your current state. Understand your business’ Zero Trust maturity, ongoing security initiatives, and other elements and operations in place that could affect a Zero Trust implementation. Assessing your current state also reveals where your organization is particularly immature in its security posture, and which are areas to prioritize in your roadmap planning.
  • Set goals and milestones. The information derived from your maturity assessment and current initiatives can inform your Zero Trust goals. Break these down into smaller milestones with timelines attached.
  • Plan your Zero Trust roadmap. Once you have a skeleton built out, you can fill in the specifics of what you need to implement and when.
  • Implement the roadmap in stages. Your Zero Trust adoption should be incremental. No organization achieves full Zero Trust security overnight; progressing carefully and embracing your hybrid Zero Trust state is part of the journey. 

About the Zero Trust Roadmap 

The Zero Trust roadmap divides Zero Trust architectures into five critical segments of Zero Trust: 

  • Identity
  • Devices 
  • Workloads
  • Networks 
  • Data

Organizations can break up their roadmap and create milestones based on these five categories. Every roadmap is different: it’s based on your organization’s goals, current infrastructure and initiatives, and available resources. 

For organizations looking to start making progress more quickly, there are a few ways to kick-start the journey. While you should always perform the four foundational steps above, you can complete them alongside the quick Zero Trust wins listed in the blog, Zero Trust: Where and How to Get Started. 

Methods for Keeping Security Simple

Overcomplicating security can be a barrier to its adoption and efficacy. The following Zero Trust implementations help keep the user experience simple and streamlined. 

Push notification or biometric MFA

With push MFA, users simply tap a notification on their personal device to verify their identity. With biometrics, they can use a fingerprint or facial recognition. Both remove the need to type in a code or carry around a security fob. 

Single sign-on (SSO)

Instead of requiring users to memorize a new username/password combination for every account they have, SSO allows them to simply use one username and password combination to sign into several work resources. With a robust SSO tool like JumpCloud, they can access everything they need through SSO.

Mobile device management (MDM)

MDM tools can manage users’ devices, including personal devices used for work. This allows users to work securely on the tools they’re most comfortable with. 

Patch management

Patch management keeps employees’ machines up to date, both for security and to ensure they’re always working on the latest software versions for a smoother experience. 

Conditional access policies

Conditional access policies allow you to relax login requirements for routine, recognizable logins where users are following prescribed security guidelines.

Robust directory

The more resources you can pull into your directory, the more seamless the user experience will be. From bringing more tools into your SSO solution to assigning devices to users for more intelligent automations, robust directories keep everything streamlined, integrated, and reporting to the same source of truth.

Security Doesn’t Have to Be So Complex. 

Keeping security simple helps keep everyone aligned with your main security goals. For this reason, JumpCloud created a library of resources designed specifically to help IT professionals cut through the noise and clarify what they need to know about security. Explore the security resource library to get the information you need to implement security successfully in your organization.

Kate Lake

Kate Lake is a Senior Content Writer at JumpCloud, where she writes about JumpCloud’s cloud directory platform and trends in IT, technology, and security. She holds a Bachelors in Linguistics from the University of Virginia and is driven by a lifelong passion for writing and learning. When she isn't writing for JumpCloud, Kate can be found traveling, exploring the outdoors, or quoting a sci-fi movie (often all at once).

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