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What is Zero Trust Security and why is it important for Fintech?

What is Zero Trust Security and why is it important for Fintech?

For years, businesses have used traditional and weak methods to access their data and applications. This method suggests that everyone inside the organization is trusted blindly. The employee/worker can gain access to the company’s data just because he/she works at the said firm. Anyone outside the organization’s network is a suspect but the one inside benefits from the doubt. This traditional method has led to numerous security breaches and the inside circle gaining implicit trust. It allows outsiders only to cross the perimeter and gain access to the organization’s workings.

Enter Zero Trust!

Zero Trust security is a model that sees every individual with an eye of suspicion, whether it is an outsider or insider. It is a layered security system that grants access to the users based on their identity and role. Whether the individual is at the office or working remotely, the zero trust model removes the binary of the insider employee gaining the benefit of the doubt. This model continuously asks for authorization and authentication at various places in the network rather than just at the perimeter.

The Zero Trust model acknowledges the fact that you cannot separate the “good guys” from the “bad guys”. Establishing a strong perimeter is no longer enough as cloud service and hybrid workplaces have increased, making it difficult to secure. The model believes in the “never trust, always verify” approach, and scrutinizes every user at various points with identity proof and authentication. As the name suggests, it does not believe in trusting any individual and ensures that every data is given access only if the individual is verified. This phrase “Zero Trust” was coined by John Kindervag in 2010, who identified the absurdity of a perimeter-based approach towards security.


Five principles of Zero Trust Security:

  1. Strong, adaptive authentication: Adding an adaptive type of multi-factor authentication (MFA) coupled with intelligent risk-based access enhances password security and offers valuable insights into user behavior.
  2. Continuous approval and authorization: It is possible to help guarantee that the correct user has access to the relevant resources by reauthenticating and revalidating user identities, for instance, following high-risk web browser sessions or extended periods of inactivity.
  3. Secure, least privileged access: The best strategies allow for dynamic provisioning; for example, reducing standing privileged access hazards by offering just-in-time (JIT) privileged access on a per-session basis.
  4. Continuously monitor and attest: The best approach to comprehend what is occurring and verify that it should be occurring, as well as to identify anomalies as they appear and preserve ideal system security, is to monitor continuously.
  5. Credential and authentication protection: Strong endpoint protection is built on endpoint privilege management, which is essential for identifying and thwarting attempts at credential theft (through memory scraping or software abuse), consistently enforcing least privilege (including removing local admin rights), and implementing flexible application control (like allow-listing for trusted sources) to fend off malware and ransomware.

Five principles of Zero Trust Security:

According to a recent IDS study, 93% of IT security professionals say zero trust is strategic to securing their organization. Especially in a digital world, additional layers of authentication are necessary for a safer data warehouse. One such important digital world is the fintech industry which focuses on the protection of software data.

Zero trust in fintech can help reduce attacks on your customer data and also protect the technological services and products provided to your customers. One such advantage of zero trust in fintech is the use of Privileged Access Management (PAM) which is an identity-based technology that gives you the ability to manage and keep an eye on the activities of the privileged users once they have gained access beyond that of regular users.

A zero-trust environment will help fintech:

    • Improve remote access security and securely enable work-from-anywhere and BYOD-heavy environments.
    • Reduce risk from ransomware, malware, and other threat vectors.
    • Document access regardless of source to ensure the activity was appropriate
    • Ensure more robust and seamless authentication between B2B. For instance, one organization grants privilege from a foreign organization without instantiating its directory services.

Financial services have historically been less willing to take risks when it comes to cloud computing, but the allure of digital transformation and the need for zero trust to allow work-from-anywhere will hasten adoption. Zero trust is essential for fintech to evolve, and achieve greater heights in the future where digitization will only increase with further use.

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