Top tips: 3 common Zero Trust myths debunked

General | October 26, 2023 | 3 min read

Top tips is a weekly column where we highlight what’s trending in the tech world and list ways to explore these trends. For the final week of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’re playing myth-busters and debunking three popular misconceptions about Zero Trust.

Cyberthreats are becoming more and more brazen over time, and let’s face it—without a strong Zero Trust framework, your organization doesn’t have a dog in the fight. Although Zero Trust is gaining popularity, this only raises questions as to whether it is being done right and whether these organizations have a proper understanding of what the Zero Trust framework entails.

Zero Trust allows you to be productively paranoid about your digital assets. If your organization has implemented restrictions for low-level staffers while the CEO gets to access data on a whim, then you’re not doing Zero Trust right.

Never trust, always verify

Whether it is for an employee or a third party from outside of the company, implementing a Zero Trust approach prompts you to err on the side of caution and require users to climb their way up the trust ladder. While this might be an easy concept to follow on paper, chances are you’ve been misled by other organizations’ incomplete or erroneous interpretations of Zero Trust, or you’ve been misinformed.

As of 2023, less than 1% of organizations have implemented a complete Zero Trust framework, which could be partly due to the misinformation surrounding it. Luckily, we at ManageEngine are here to dispel three common Zero Trust myths and misconceptions to clear any doubts in your mind.

1. Only big enterprises need Zero Trust
It is understandable to think that only big enterprises need to implement Zero Trust since they have many users with access to large volumes of data, thus creating a larger attack surface. But in reality, this is not the case. If your organization deals with sensitive data and has multiple users who require access to this data, then you are eligible for a Zero Trust framework.

Any business with an online presence needs to have a strong Zero Trust infrastructure. The recent popularity of the hybrid work model reinforces this requirement due to the resulting expansion of the organization’s security perimeter, which translates to an increased vulnerability to threats. Zero Trust is the moat around your organization’s cybersecurity fortress, lowering the drawbridge for only verified users and thus giving your organization an extra layer of security.

2. Zero Trust is a one-time thing

It’s easy to get sold on the idea that once you’ve implemented Zero Trust in your organization, you’re safe and secure, and no follow-up action is needed from your end. Here’s the thing—Zero Trust is not a one-time implementation; it’s a continuous security framework that revolves around the mindset of never trust, always verify. This means that you should constantly monitor and update your organization’s security policies, access controls, and authentication mechanisms to address and mitigate new vulnerabilities and attack vectors. Cyberthreats are constantly evolving, and we must always be on the lookout for new ways to stay secure.

3. I don’t need any other cybersecurity measures if I have Zero Trust

Zero Trust is not a one-stop solution for all your cybersecurity needs. Implementing a Zero Trust framework does not eliminate the need for other cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls or antivirus software. The goal of Zero Trust is to complement and enhance your already existing security strategy while adding an additional layer of protection centered around continuous verification and least privilege access. Moreover, it is crucial to remember that Zero Trust only addresses threats involving user access and identities, while a multitude of other types of cyberattacks, such as malware, DDoS, and phishing attacks, cannot be mitigated by a Zero Trust framework.

From what we’ve gathered, Zero Trust is a mindset that continues to grow, evolve, and adapt in order to help organizations stay prepared for ever-evolving attack vectors. The Gartner® report cited above also suggests that by 2026, the percentage of companies with a complete Zero Trust infrastructure will expand to 10%. In order to attain a fully functioning, effective Zero Trust framework, it’s high time we started fact-checking and dispelling any myths surrounding Zero Trust. Timely awareness and education help us make massive strides in cybersecurity.