Collaboration at Zero Trust

September 18, 2019

The concept of Zero Trust is taking hold as the best approach to secure business data and stay compliant with various regulations. Traditional security models assume that everything within an organization’s network can be trusted by default. In contrast, the Zero tTrust framework is an alternative architecture for IT security, operating on the premise that anything inside or outside of a corporate network - including data, devices, systems and users - is a security risk and must be checked and verified before being granted access. It is not a technical concept but rather defines an approach businesses take, or should take, when dealing with digital data.

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The idea of Zero Trust was introduced by analyst firm Forrester Research almost a decade ago but has only recently started to spike in popularity, thanks to businesses becoming increasingly digital. More digitalization means more data, and more data leads to more risk.

Organizations can no longer implement “set and forget” security policies, thanks to reasons such as:

  • The steady increase of data breaches each year continues to put information at risk
  • Internal threats (e.g. Capital One in the U.S.) continue to pose as much - if not more - cyber risk to end users
  • The prevalence of always-on, mobile and remote working meaning that more communication and collaboration is being conducted outside of the corporate firewall.

Stringent regulations (e.g. GDPR) are leading to companies being scrutinized more accurately on how they are implementing and managing security across the board. Calls for greater culpability for C-level executives in the organization’s security posture - for example, the U.S. Corporate Executive Accountability Act aims to “establish criminal liability for negligent executive officers of major corporations… that affects the health, safety, finances or personal data” of individuals.

As organizations operate within a more dynamic framework, the security strategy needs to be centered around the concept of Zero Trust - a “trust nothing” approach that is both programmatic and pragmatic to businesses. Under this framework, there are no default configurations, companies must continuously monitor all network communications, monitor all users all the time, and implement comprehensive system permissions and safeguards.

For companies to effectively enact zero trust, it should first develop its goals and roadmap to protect its mission-critical data. This will help to evaluate the user experience, by understanding who its users are, what apps and systems they are using, and what kinds of access they need. Given that employees are increasingly working across disparate and distributed teams, it’s also critical to ensure that access can be provided in both a controlled and compliant manner.

Wire believes that the zero trust framework is effective for companies, as it also draws on technologies such as end-to-end encryption, multi-factor authentication, access control and identity management, auditable logs and other system permissions. Zero trust requires a holistic assessment of how to secure every app, device and user, not forgetting that this should also be done in a scalable way, as new users and technologies are introduced into the corporate infrastructure in the future.

At Wire, all communication (messages, calls, files, and images) are secured with end-to-end encryption. New encryption keys are used for each message, so even if one transaction is compromised, it has minimal impact overall. These keys are only held at the endpoints (devices) are not available to Wire.

Additionally, our software is entirely open source. Our source code is available on GitHub for anyone to verify, propose modifications and improvements. It is audited each year by independent experts.

Ultimately, as organizations advance their security strategies, the Zero Trust model elevates an enterprise’s approach. Organizations move from an approach focused on products and network segmentation to a more comprehensive and holistic architectural design, which is in line with how we work and the pace of business.

Learn more about Wire's approach to security.


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