Adopting a zero-trust mindset

Historically, stories have been written about “trust” and how the human mind is set to trust until there is a reason not to. So in the cyber security landscape of today, how do we go against our make-up and make that shift of mindset to, zero-trust? 

What is a zero-trust mindset?

The phrase zero-trust has rapidly taken off in recent years with many people still unsure of what it really means. The chronic outbreak of cyber-attacks during and after the pandemic, when businesses had to rapidly and sometimes unsecurely set up hybrid working, opened doors for cyber criminals that were previously locked and bolted down.  

In technology, zero-trust is the mindset that assumes any device, tool, environment  or user could be seen as a risk and potential route for cybercriminals to attack. This means that all of these components must be authenticated, authorised and verified before access is granted to any resource or data.  

Whilst those tech-savvy individuals may be more exposed to the risks and therefore shifted to a zero-trust mindset, those less so within businesses, may still have yet to make that mindset shift.  

Making the human mind transition

Although the attitude of ‘danger lurks around every corner’ may be excessive, with the current cyber landscape, it has become part of everyday life for IT security. So how do we, as humans who are programmed to trust, make that shift to a zero-trust mindset? 

The fundamental goal of zero trust is to ultimately change user’s perceptions and re-learn that any technology focused tool, device and/or environment, along with the user themselves, could be compromised. We know email is the number one route for attackers and an increasingly amount of people are becoming aware of targeted phishing emails and dangerous links, but email is just one of the possible tools cyber criminals will take aim at. The mindset user’s switch to when looking at a risky email needs to be expanded to all technologies.  

Zero-trust: the long game

Zero-trust is a long-term strategy, you and your business are not alone in struggling to ensure people make the mindset transition. Each strategy is unique to its business and implementing it will take time, humans natural resistance to change is one factor but ultimately, people and businesses need to make this mindset shift to ensure the continuation of IT security.  

Through the combination of People, Process and Technology, it can be changed and is the necessary step and transition to ensure the adoption of zero-trust. Without it, the risk net widens to not just the technology, but also the people. 

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