Australia's emerging Zero Trust future

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Australia's emerging Zero Trust future
COVID has changed the Australian cybersecurity landscape.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Australia's security landscape has been changed forever because of COVID-19.

As we advance, organisations are reimagining how they approach all areas of their operations, from supply chains, digital experiences and even workplaces. In response, adversaries are developing new and aggressive ways of exploiting vulnerabilities, forcing businesses to adapt or face the risks.

New research from Frost & Sullivan investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cybersecurity and compliance attitudes across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. The report found that many businesses have changed their approach to security amid the pandemic, with 40% increasing their investment in cybersecurity to further safeguard their assets against cyberattacks.

In this new world, no single product or solution can replace the effectiveness of an enterprise-wide commitment to holistic security; instead, it's the entire organisation's responsibility to ensure every business department is on the same page regarding safety and privacy. Organisations must change how they approach security in a future where trust is a vulnerability.

Why Zero Trust

43% of enterprises affirmed that their endpoint device security policy was created specifically for the pandemic. While businesses are scaling up their security protection due to COVID, they are also looking to Zero Trust models to gain a more holistic solution to their security needs, with 75% of companies recognising Zero Trust as being very important in the aftermath of COVID.

The Zero Trust model enables organisations to continually verify each asset and transaction before permitting any access to data. Verification includes, but is not limited to, strong authentication of users, posture checks for devices, and micro-segmentation of networks. Zero trust also takes the whole context of the user’s environment into consideration, not just unconnected pieces of data, before granting access. 

A solution to match Australia's diverse data environments

With 64% of respondents agreeing that their organisations adopted cloud more during the pandemic, many businesses are looking to devise security formulas for today's hybrid and adaptive enterprise solutions. A key benefit of Zero Trust is it’s not dependant on a location and can be deployed across all environments, whether cloud, on premise or mixed set-ups. In addition, with the benefit of being able to be built on top of existing architecture, it means that once set up, only the right users have access to the right information no matter the environment, securing data at every point–inside and out.

Delivering complete visibility and total control

In the wake of the pandemic, cybercriminals have become bolder, with adversaries now targeting the underlying technologies that support a growing remote workforce, from video conferencing platforms to project management platforms and collaboration tools, and Australian businesses are recognising the need to have complete visibility and control of their security operations. Insights from the report show only 29% of Australian enterprises had full visibility of their security operations, with 66% stating they only had partial visibility into their cloud applications. For businesses, being able to dictate with full viability who has access to what data is critical in a future where manual security tools are becoming an unsustainable practice against aggressive, automated attacks. Zero Trust provides a single view of threats, technology management, vulnerabilities and perceived risks across an organisation's entire environment, giving businesses increased visibility and a more complete understanding of their networks and data environments.

COVID has changed the Australian cybersecurity landscape. As businesses adapt to more sophisticated tools, leaders need to consider solutions that protect their most valuable data across every access point–inside and out. Companies need more than just tools; they need the consistent policies that Zero Trust frameworks deliver, systems that can be applied across the entire organisation quickly and easily no matter the environment–maintaining security at every level.

Michael Waring is Vice President, Security Solutions Group (Asia Pacific and Japan) at Ivanti.

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