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Zero Trust: The Future Paradigm in the Cybersecurity Landscape

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By: Kunal Purohit, Chief Digital Services Officer, Tech Mahindra

India’s digital transformation has been remarkable, with the rapid evolution of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Quantum Computing, and GenAI creating new opportunities. However, they have also exposed vulnerabilities that require careful intervention. In the next few years, cyberattacks are expected to cause damage worth around $10.5 trillion annually, a 300 percent increase from 2015. Given this scale, security might not be enough. This is especially true in today’s digital era, where hybrid work is becoming more common, and “bring your own devices” practices are standard. Organisations need to secure their workforce and digital workplaces to prevent cyberattacks. Though it may sound daunting, there is hope in the form of the zero-trust model. Regardless of their size or sector, businesses can benefit from this approach, especially in the face of high-profile breaches, cloud migration, and an ever-expanding data attack surface.

Decoding ‘Zero Trust’: A growing imperative for cybersecurity 

In today’s digital age, cybersecurity has become a top priority for businesses of all sizes. The traditional perimeter-based security model is no longer sufficient to keep advanced attackers at bay. Zero Trust security, which follows the “Verify then trust” approach, assumes that no user or device can be inherently trusted, as threats can originate from external and internal sources. While cloud security solutions are necessary but not enough to protect against cyber-attacks. According to reports, one in four companies (27 percent) worldwide has suffered a data breach that has cost them between US $1-20 million or more in the past three years. This alarming statistic highlights the critical importance of cybersecurity in boardroom discussions, as the consequences of cyber breaches extend far beyond mere financial implications. Cyber-attacks can result in severe financial consequences, data loss, business interruption, wasted time, and recovery costs, ultimately contributing to the rising costs of goods and services. 

Moreover, the frequency and complexity of cyberattacks have risen despite growing awareness and interventions, risking cyber resilience strategies. However, 66 percent of organisations have taken proactive measures to prepare and protect themselves. Cybersecurity and cyber-recovery have emerged as the primary strategic endeavours for numerous global organisations. As businesses forge ahead with digital transformation, the focus on cybersecurity and cyber-recovery intensifies. Safeguarding data through robust cybersecurity measures and ensuring the ability to recover data in the face of cyberattacks are crucial investments in digital infrastructure. These investments enable businesses to mitigate the potential disruptions that could adversely affect their revenue streams. Therefore, adopting a proactive approach towards cybersecurity and implementing robust security measures to protect against such malpractices is essential. 

Leveraging tech-based cybersecurity nexus for heightened protection  

As technology advances, hackers are also finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities. But thanks to recent breakthroughs in threat detection technology, we now have effective tools such as AI/ML, Behavioural Biometrics, and IoT Security to counter these attacks. With cyber-attacks growing more complex and frequent, we must encourage traditional cybersecurity practices to identify and respond to emerging threats. Today, AI-driven cybersecurity systems leverage the predictive and adaptive capabilities of ML to automate, anticipate, and mitigate threats before they cause significant damage. According to a report, 45 percent of organisations have already implemented AI/ML in their cybersecurity systems, with 35 percent planning to implement. Staying ahead of the curve is critical for cybersecurity experts, and embracing emerging tech can be a strategic solution. Hence, organisations can fortify their security posture and minimise potential risks by adopting the most up-to-date cybersecurity technologies. 

Bridging the cybersecurity skills gap 

In order to ensure that organisations are well-equipped to handle cybersecurity threats, it is important for them to provide their employees with ample opportunities to learn and cybgrow. While automation is becoming more prevalent in all industries, there will always be a need for cybersecurity experts. By automating repetitive tasks, organisations can improve efficiency and free up their security teams to focus on more complex issues. To address the shortage of skilled workers, it is essential to reskill individuals with related technological knowledge and enable them to become cybersecurity experts. For example, individuals with experience in cloud computing can be trained to become cloud security experts. Additionally, fostering workforce diversity can help create a more proficient and well-rounded team. There are many ways to bridge the skill gaps in cybersecurity, and it’s important for organisations to continuously assess their needs, invest in training and development, and adjust their strategies to keep up with the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape.

As more and more organisations are moving towards cloud-based solutions, it is crucial to prioritise securing cloud-native environments. To achieve this, teams should be equipped with automated and purpose-built security solutions, along with the appropriate skills to deal with the intricacies of each emerging technology or application. Security technologies that can alert and educate security practitioners about potential issues and suggest ways to solve them will become the most scalable solution to this problem. In such a scenario, organisations must establish strict security policies, implement a robust cybersecurity framework that includes advanced threat detection and incident response mechanisms, and leverage the latest technologies to stay ahead of the constantly evolving threats.

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