,An online search can easily find thousands of articles, speeches and presentations on why zero trust is the must-have paradigm for all things cybersecurity moving forward. — 123rf.com
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Depending on who you talk to, zero trust is a new concept for stopping data breaches, the preferred network architecture for cybersecurity, the most secure model for online interactions, the best security framework or even a mantra for life — and its influence is growing rapidly.
Wherever you turn, experts and thought leaders are singing its praises. An online search can easily find thousands of articles, speeches and presentations on why zero trust is the must-have paradigm for all things cybersecurity moving forward.
So how do we actually define zero trust? A NIST blog says stick to the principle "never trust, always verify."
According to Palo Alto Networks, "zero trust is not about making a system trusted, but instead about eliminating trust."
Still others give a longer definition: "Zero trust is a security concept centred on the belief that organisations should not automatically trust anything inside or outside its perimeters and instead must verify anything and everything trying to connect to its systems before granting access," Mary K. Pratt wrote for CSO Online.
I went on the record several years ago as a big supporter of zero trust. Nevertheless, as in other areas of technology, I began to worry as perceptions changed and its power grew.
Check Zero-Trust Scope
I now fear that some are taking zero trust way too far, even expanding what was originally intended by those who started the trend to cover all areas of life. For some people it is even the model for all human interactions, which is where I pull the emergency cord and get off the bus.
While I suspected this might be happening after sitting in on several public- and private-sector webinars on zero trust over the past year, I became downright alarmed when a LinkedIn thread on whether organisations should hire hackers with a criminal record yielded this comment from a respected colleague: "I operate in a zero-trust environment. I wouldn't trust my noncriminal employees any more. They are as likely to cause a cyber attack through negligence. And a convicted hacker probably has more understanding of real-world tactics than what you can learn in a three-part online course."
Putting the criminal hackers aside, my response was: Wow! Are we really now throwing away trusted relationships at home and work under the banner of zero trust?
And what about Stephen M. R. Covey's best-selling book The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything? The author shows how trust — and the speed at which it is established with clients, employees and all stakeholders — is the single most critical component of a successful leader and organisation.
Now I was on a mission. I went out and found articles, podcasts and blogs featuring John Kindervag, who is credited with creating the zero-trust trend more than a decade ago while at Forrester.