Zero Trust Adoption: Tips to Win Over Leadership
Implementing Zero Trust can be difficult due to outdated systems, employee resistance, and cost. Yet, the benefits outweigh the challenges. It is key to use a platform that combines multiple security technologies to simplify IT and risk assessment, proper planning, and getting security buy-in from stakeholders, including your board of directors.
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Barriers to Zero Trust Adoption and How to Overcome Them
Transitioning to a Zero Trust approach can present technological difficulties, including integrating older systems, managing implementation complexity, and ensuring seamless security technology integration. Additionally, such a transition can be costly due to initial expenses and ongoing maintenance, updates, and training. Furthermore, employee resistance, lack of understanding or training, and increased security responsibility can slow adoption.
Despite these challenges, the benefits of Zero Trust—particularly in terms of improved security and risk management—often make it a worthwhile investment. Interoperability with SWG, CASB, and ZTNA and including Attack Surface Management and XDR within a single platform, for example, can reduce the burden on IT teams and provide a single source of truth for risk assessment within your current security stack, including third-party integrations and APIs.
With careful planning, buy-in from key stakeholders, including the board, adequate training, and investment in compatible technologies, you can successfully navigate these challenges and operationalize Zero Trust effectively.
Understanding the Importance of Risk Assessments
Avoiding a breach is not always possible—especially since business and cybersecurity objectives are rarely in sync—but you can still address challenges across your growing digital attack surface, enabling faster threat detection and response.
Providing an essential analysis of your organization’s digital attack surface and cyber risk, cybersecurity risk assessments continually assess, score, and prioritize individual assets for an up-to-date view of your digital estate. Drawing from a wide variety of assets, including user behavior, security product logs, and cloud app activity, these assessments can judge whether your resources are vulnerable to an attack and provide a risk score, along with actionable and prioritized tasks to better secure your digital attack surface.
A cybersecurity risk assessment will look at your organization’s exposure to vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and suspicious activity or data access, weighing it alongside its existing security policies and regulatory compliance. It will also identify and prioritize any detected threats or vulnerabilities and analyze identities, SaaS applications, and network content to pinpoint the exact weaknesses in your digital attack surface.
To effectively implement Zero Trust, CISOs rely on risk assessments to inform their policy creation and access control measures. These assessments are essential in reducing an organization's cyber risk and maintaining a secure environment.
Communicating the Value of Zero Trust at the Board Level
Your organization will find that a comprehensive risk assessment provides a clear outcome to present to the board when you make the case for implementing and operationalizing Zero Trust. Boards today are savvier about cybersecurity’s financial implications. The main thing they care about related to risk is the economic impact, including compliance lapses, followed by how your risk of a breach is trending over time.
As such, calculating financial impact is difficult but possible:
1. Don’t only use the doomsday scenario. Have several clearly articulated scenarios with differing impacts. A company-wide ransomware attempt must be paired with the ransomware of a small segment of the operations.
2. Choose your references carefully. Cybersecurity has a long history of genuinely awful financial impact projections. Base the numbers on your company financials, but choose only meaningful tactical numbers to pair with your company data. For example, use a specific case study to reference the potential cost of failing to meet compliance regulations. That’s better than a fluffy “average cost of a GDPR fine,” which doesn’t drill down into specific industries, enterprise size, or type of violation. Ask your financial team for assistance: Make them an ally, not a challenger.
3. Assume you will be asked to justify any assumptions, such as the above time to recover. If you can’t speak fluently on the assumptions and data, don’t include them or cite them with a notation to note their weakness.
4. Be real on the potential costs of implementing safeguards. Don’t lowball the potential final costs. Every board member knows that IT projects go overbudget and that security is expensive. It’s better to be straightforward upfront than to go significantly over budget later.
5. Break out your numbers into the kinds of exposition that board members expect. A single big number is only going to get focused on and leave the real discussion on risk to the wayside. Show your math and break it down over time. Product costs year one, maintenance and support over five years, implementation, expansion costs should your business grow, additional modules and upgrades, loaded staff costs (i.e. not just salary), training and certification, and pad it with a healthy percentage for the usual implementation headaches.
6. Don’t hesitate to include the financial assessment as a set of annexes, but if you do, always provide executive summaries.
7. Don’t include impact on stock price unless you are fully prepared to go down that rabbit hole. Then be prepared to answer why the stock price of company X went up after a major hack.
Depending on the risk assessment model you choose, relative terms may be used to determine risk. These won’t automatically have meaning to the board – or at least, not every board member will interpret such relative words the same way. But speaking about money will hold the same meaning to everyone in the room.
When conveying the risk assessment results and financial implications of that risk, it is also important to verbalize the “why:” Why this assessment was chosen, why the risk is low, medium, or high, etc.
Answering “why” questions will prepare you for “What’s Next.” If your risk ends up being higher than acceptable, what next steps will be taken and what do you need to take those steps. Making the current situation clear and concise is the best way to bring everyone in the room along the risk journey with you, ending in the most productive place to minimize your risk in the cloud.
Make Risk-Informed Decisions with Trend Vision One
With Trend Vision One™, your organization can address and help alleviate board-level concerns around a breach's long-term risk and impact. Recognized as a "Strong Performer" in the Forrester Wave™: Zero Trust Platform Providers, Q3 2023, Trend Vision One also adheres to industry standards like NIST, providing customers with all the advantages of Zero Trust in a single platform.
A powerful tool that enables access control decisions informed by risk, Trend Vision One offers highly advanced visibility and analytics, making it an excellent choice for anyone seeking a robust experience. When compared to other solutions for assessing risk, Trend Micro looks at a broader and more extensive array of risk factors when determining risk scores.
According to the Forrester Report, “Reference customers laud the value of Vision One in optimizing visibility and control. Much of the information an analyst needs is accessible in a single console. This console provides a risk-scoring metric based on user and device behavior that informs accurate risk-based policy creation in the platform or third-party solutions via integrations.” The report continues, “Organizations starting their ZT journey and needing a solution for advanced visibility and analytics to establish a baseline should evaluate Trend Micro.”
The Trend Vision One platform can assist you in customizing your Zero Trust strategy to conform to regulations and ensure compliance. By leveraging the platform, you can significantly improve your visibility and gain invaluable insights through advanced analytics. This empowers you to proactively establish policies that effectively mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of your operations.
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