IGNITE: Microsoft Zero Trust security model for ransomware protection

Ransomware is getting worse. We’ve reached a point where groups that exploit organizations with ransomware have budgets that are larger than what some nation states could provide. This is likely because of the large profits (skyrocketing from $92M to $406M in 2020) that they’ve been able to get. Ransomware has become a well-funded, serious threat.

There are many things that you should do to prepare for ransomware attacks, including having good backups in place and knowing how to communicate to the world after an incident has occurred. However, there is a factor that many people don’t think of to help them lower the impact of attack and that is using a zero trust security model.

In addition to helping to modernize your Microsoft security, a proactive initiative with zero trust can provide a strong foundation to making sure that any identities and devices are in a good state. This was the subject of the Microsoft Ignite session, Exploring the zero trust security model.

Digital transformation happened… and attackers saw opportunities

With digital transformation, companies need to adapt technologies to meet people where they are while improving internal processes. In order to drive this, you need to use new technical platforms that are always on, agile, connected, and available for business needs.

Attackers see this disruption as an opportunity. As companies are rushing to get new products to market, sometimes security is skipped in the process. This can create a dual pressure of both the changing platform as well as a changing attack landscape.

During this time of disruption, security needs to be modernized. This is why Microsoft believes the foundation begins with zero trust.

What is zero trust?

Organizations need a security model that is flexible enough to account for the complexity of modern environments, regardless of whether you’re on the go or at your desk. It should also embrace mobile workforce habits while protecting people from threats irrespective of their location.

This is the essence of zero trust. With the zero trust model, you no longer assume that everything behind the firewall is safe. Instead, you verify each request as though it came from an uncontrolled network.

What this means for Microsoft security

Security is a blend of the old and the new. There will always be best practices that have been known for a long time like applying patches, keeping software up-to-date, etc.

But security also needs to be dynamic. As companies go through digital transformation, they need to revisit a lot of the basics of security. At the most fundamental level, security is about protecting what’s important. It’s about lowering risks to an organization. This means lowering the risk of an attacker getting control of your assets. It means doing the things you can about it before an incident occurs.

These types of assets that can be damaging if they are compromised or altered by an attacker. This is why you need to modernize your security operations. You need to do more than just take logs from the firewall and block IPs using a firewall. You need to think about, “How do I protect things everywhere including the devices, identities, apps, data, and everything?” You need to learn how to make sure that all of these are protected and monitored and you can detect, respond, and recover from an attack quickly.

You know that you can’t lock everything down so it is 100% safe. However, you can integrate into those processes and improve security. To succeed at this, you need to create a culture of learning.

Create a culture of learning about Microsoft security

This is where a culture of learning is critical for the entire organization. As transformation occurs, people will be unfamiliar with the changes, and are more likely to make mistakes as a result. With a culture of learning about Microsoft security, you can prepare employees with a smoother transformation with fewer mistakes.

Be prepared with zero trust and Microsoft security

As you can see, the Zero Trust Security Model is a concept with huge implications for Microsoft security. It’s an important step in keeping your company safe in this age of cyberattacks by fostering an environment where everyone learns about cybersecurity and how they contribute to it every day. A culture of learning will help ensure that your employees are aware of what’s happening on their network so they can spot any suspicious behavior or patterns before anything bad happens.

Boost the security of your tenant, and read this Azure AD, SharePoint Online, and Office 365 Security Guide.

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