Trust Nobody, Not Even Yourself

Marlborough, MA – Have you ever had a time when you left home and, just moments after, felt that you forgot to lock the front door? Yet you assure yourself that no, you did lock it, but that little inkling keeps nagging away in the back of your mind. So you listen to it and go back to find that you did, in fact, lock the door. Funny, right? You were correct all along, yet despite that, you acted contrary. You didn’t quite trust yourself and had to verify your actions. It’s a peculiar phenomenon, and relevant to today’s blog post: the digital security model called Zero Trust.

Zero Trust refers to a security philosophy that has been recently adopted for protecting Information Technology (IT) systems. Also referred to as “perimeterless security,” Zero Trust’s main concept is “never trust, always verify”, which means that any devices that connect to any organization system, network, or infrastructure must be verified every time they connect, regardless of whether they have been verified in the past or part of a permissioned network.

Chances are you are more familiar with another philosophy called “Trust, but Verify.” This process had devices within an organization’s operational perimeter or any devices connecting via a certified Virtual Private Network (VPN) automatically verified. However, some flaws with this system have resulted in it being dropped in favor of Zero Trust. The first is that “Trust, but Verify” doesn’t stop any malicious actors that make it within the perimeter, whether they are part of the organization or ones who hijacked legitimate credentials or verified devices. The other is that an organization’s perimeter is, nowadays, much more loosely defined. With the Internet of Things and cloud technology having become an integral part of just about every industry, there isn’t a clear border for any one organization’s operations.

Zero Trust takes both of these flaws into account. One way this is done is through Two-Party Authentication. Not to be confused with Two-Factor Authentication, Two-Party requires both parties – or systems, in this case – to authenticate each other. Certain metadata is referred to during the verification process to confirm both parties are who they say they are. Another is through constant monitoring of connected devices to ensure nothing suspicious is happening. Not only are an individual’s actions seen, but also the health of their systems. This is done to confirm that no viruses, malware, spyware, or any other types of harmful programs are present on connected devices. Should anything seem out of place, the connection between systems can be severed on-demand to protect the network.

To summarize: Zero Trust is all about much more thoroughly vetting connected  devices because modern technology allows so many more from all over the world to be integrated into company networks. While stricter than previous security systems, Zero Trust is significantly more secure, meaning fewer chances of cyber-attacks and even greater data integrity. Some of these principles are actually employed in Scitara’s Scientific Integration PlatformTM SIPTM and Digital Lab Exchange DLXTM systems. Because a variety of different devices – both modern and legacy – can be connected, DLX utilizes the monitoring principles of Two-Party Authentication to ensure each device is operating as intended and, if any issues arise, all relevant parties will be alerted so necessary action can be taken. And with all that said, take a chance with Zero Trust. If you can’t trust yourself to remember if you locked your front door at times, don’t give anyone else the benefit of the doubt with your organization’s network.

About Scitara
Scitara is a global provider of cloud-based, industry-specific platform and solutions for the life sciences industry. Based in Massachusetts, the Scitara leadership brings decades of experience in solving digital challenges for the scientific laboratory: Meet the Modern Lab™. For more information, please visit www.scitara.com.

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