Tuesday, December 5, 2023

How to Combat Ransomware Attacks with Zero Trust

Ransomware is on the rise. In fact, it is estimated that a new attack will occur every 11 seconds. By the time it takes you to read this sentence, your organization might be under attack from a new ransom group looking to cash out. 

Malicious links and attachments are among the main causes of phishing, which leads to ransomware attacks. Cyber awareness and training should be at the cornerstone of your organization, especially in today’s hybrid work landscape, to keep employees safe from the latest phishing tactics. 

But that’s not enough to thwart malicious actors from coming up with new and ingenious ways to expose vulnerabilities within your organization and network. 

Outdated security measures or unpatched software can increase your chances of an attack. A small glitch can lead to a massive breach if left unpatched. The average cost of a data breach as of 2022 was $4.24 million.

Once upon a time, a VPN was all you needed to grant secure access to cloud resources. That is, until, the pandemic struck and forced organizations to rethink the way secure access was granted. This helped pave the way for a new security approach that covers all bases, whether on-site or remote, with more advanced levels of authentication, to reduce the threat surface.

Zero Trust leverages the principle of least privilege (POLP) by limiting and segmenting user access with role-based permissions. Zero Trust helps enforce company security policies and manage all users and devices before access can be granted to cloud environments or other highly confidential information.                                                               

Using Zero Trust and MFA to Avoid Ransom Fees

Ransomware is big business. The average ransom fee is $420,000, and healthcare is one of the most targeted sectors. Preventing costly ransom fees can be as simple as adding advanced security measures such as Multi-factor authentication (MFA) across all devices and applications.  

That added layer of protection can make a world of difference to your organization. MFA  requires multiple types of verification in an effort to reduce identity theft and compromised credentials. MFA uses several authentication factors to verify a user.

  • The knowledge factor, in the form of a question. For example, the classic, What is your pet’s name? or What city did you grow up in?  
  • The possession factor: This method involves a device or something you own. Your smartphone would be a good example. You will have to enter a password in order to access  
  • The inherence factor – By far, the most advanced and personal identifier of the group. This factor involves biometric verification, such as a fingerprint or voice authentication.  

When combined with Zero Trust, your cloud and network security become even stronger, giving ransomware groups more work to do.                                                            

Implementing Zero Trust in Your Corporate Network

Zero-trust security operates using multifactor authentication and access controls to form a robust security platform to stand against sophisticated ransomware attacks and other security threats.

In simpler terms, the first step in implementing a zero-trust model involves the dynamic authentication of individual users and user accounts to ensure that each person is who they say they are.

This complex framework combines user ID protection, cloud security to verify a user’s identity, next-level intelligence, privileged access management, and a well-maintained security strategy.

This long-term security approach makes it harder for cyber criminals to penetrate the organization’s corporate network.                                                     

Another aspect of network security to consider when implementing a zero-trust model involves limiting the user interface using strict access criteria. This ensures that only privileged users have access to sensitive information about the company.

Other users are denied access to any part of the network unrelated to their work or beyond their scope. The access criteria must be carefully monitored so users don’t overstep their access points. The organization needs a skilled cybersecurity professional to take charge of the admin portal and control who gains access to different files in the network.

Here are some ways Zero Trust can defend your corporate network from ransomware:

Zero Trust allows people within the organization to minimize threats by limiting the paths available to cyber criminals through identity-based microsegmentation. Segment your network with granular policy controls to defend it from external attacks.

Streamline Compliance Regulations

One of the key advantages of the Zero Trust architecture is the ability to streamline the audit process. Zero Trust policies ensure that compliance regulations such as ISO 27001 and HIPAA are met to avoid penalties and provide a better user experience. Conducting routine assessments is vital for your overall security posture. 

Secure Remote Access

Securing cloud environments halfway across the globe can be quite challenging. Zero Trust secures remote access to employees, contractors, and other third parties by limiting unauthorized access. Admins are now able to protect applications and other cloud resources from anywhere with a few clicks. 

Is zero Trust the Answer to Ransomware?

As cyber threats continue to grow more advanced every day, security professionals will have to take new measures to keep their critical resources safe. 

Zero Trust can take the pressure off by segmenting network access, assigning role-based permission sets, and enforcing stringent company policies to stay on top of all best practices. 

Curious to learn how you can safeguard your organization from ransomware attacks? Check out our Essential Guide to Preventing Ransomware Attacks and discover how businesses all over the world are combating ransomware with Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).


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