As the threat landscape evolves and adversaries find new ways to exfiltrate and manipulate data, more organizations are adopting a zero trust strategy. However, many are only focusing attention on endpoints, leaving the database vulnerable to malicious attacks. Databases are the last line of defense against data exfiltration by cybercriminals. To combat this, it’s essential that zero-trust security controls are applied to critical database assets.
The zero trust information security model denies access to data and applications by default. Threat prevention is achieved by granting access to only networks and data utilizing policy informed by continuous, contextual, risk-based verification across users and their associated devices. Zero trust advocates these three core principles: 1) All entities are untrusted by default, 2) least privilege access is enforced, and 3) comprehensive security monitoring is implemented.
The traditional scope of cybersecurity was once considered to be perimeter protection of the enterprise network and associated data and applications. This castle-and-moat security model extends trust to all users and devices within the perimeter, allowing extensive or even unlimited access to assets within the castle. Despite massive investments in perimeter security defenses, cyber attackers can still access sensitive data. Zero trust is an evolution of security that no longer relies on castle-and-moat security to protect data environments. It moves enterprise cybersecurity away from over-reliance on perimeter-based security, including firewalls and other gating technologies, to create a barrier around an organization’s IT environment.
The 2022 IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report, conducted by the Ponemon Institute, found the average total cost of a data breach reached an all-time high of $4.35 million. Implementing zero trust has a direct impact on potentially lowering the cost of a breach by limiting the risk of unauthorized access, insider threats, and malicious attacks. Just 41 percent of organizations in the study said they deployed a zero trust security framework. The 59 percent that didn’t deploy zero trust incurred an average of $1 million in greater breach costs compared to those that did deploy.
While the initial goal of zero trust is to prevent data breaches, the core goal is data protection. Zero Trust Data Protection (ZTDP) is a new and evolving term for an approach to data protection based on the zero trust security model. Achieving ZTDP requires an effective data security and governance solution that can implement the zero trust model within the data environment. Privacera’s approach is built on three pillars:
Least privilege access control: Most cyber attacks occur when an attacker exploits privileged credentials. By imposing least privilege access-control restrictions on software and systems access, attackers cannot use higher-privilege or administrator accounts to install malware or damage the system. Strong user authentication and authorization: Providing a granular level of data access control across systems for different users by the client, partner, business unit, sub-contractor, customer, franchise, department, or by contractual terms requires unified authentication and authorization controls capable of scaling across large, distributed hybrid and multi-cloud environments.Data obfuscation, using encryption and/or masking: Organizations must be able to granularly encrypt or mask data at the table, column, row, field, and attribute level, not just the entire data set. This enables data science and analytics teams to use more data to build models and extract insights, drive new business opportunities, garner increased customer satisfaction, and optimize business efficiency.
The Cost of a Data Breach Report also noted security automation made the single biggest difference in the total cost of a data breach, making it more likely security best practices will be followed without fail. Zero trust should inform both what is protected and how access is controlled, while security automation can more efficiently put those zero trust principles into practice. The powerful combination of zero trust and Privacera security and governance automation helps your security team to more effectively apply data security controls as well as remediate incidents as quickly as possible — ensuring you maintain a stronger and more resilient security posture while reducing your cybersecurity risks.
Learn more about the emergence of data security governance for evolving zero trust strategies and get your roadmap to business success here.