Zero Trust in 2024

Issue 8 2023 Integrated Solutions, IoT & Automation

The rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) applications and uses in 2024 will profoundly impact security operations and AI-driven analytics, which can enhance threat detection, anomaly identification and predictive maintenance. However, one must always keep in mind that the use of AI will also expand in the hands of the criminal element to exploit any weaknesses that can be detected within security systems. Modern physical security solutions heavily rely on networked technologies, which can be vulnerable points of entry for cyber threats.

This has led to the blurred boundary between physical and IT security teams. In 2024, these two teams, which in many cases have worked separately on different agendas, will, more often, start to merge to ensure a more collaborative effort to protect the entire security ecosystem. The pandemic has, in a measure, contributed to the adoption of cloud-based and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies to facilitate remote working during the pandemic, and it has become necessary to consider physical security as inherently linked to digital security.

Expect an increase in AI-enhanced applications supporting a wide range of security functions, allowing a streamlining of routine tasks, and ensuring security personnel can focus on critical issues. Innovations in biometric authentication using AI will improve accuracy and reliability, coupled with the expansion of the effective development of facial recognition, which will play a pivotal role in access control. Enhanced PID systems will detect and respond to unauthorised physical access, and we can expect advancements in sensors, alarms, and perimeter security. Integration with digital security tools will provide a more holistic defence.

As stated previously, the continual expansion of networked technologies provides a level of vulnerability of physical security systems to cyber threats. This will lead to a greater adoption of a Zero Trust Framework within more local and international companies. The Zero Trust Framework is a modern security strategy based on the ‘never trust, always verify’ principle. Instead of assuming that everything behind the corporate firewall is inherently safe, zero trust challenges this notion. It treats every request as if it originates from an open network, regardless of its source or the resources it accesses. The fundamental principles of the Zero Trust model are:

• Verify explicitly: Always authenticate and authorise based on all available data points, including user identity, location, device health, service or workload, data classification and anomalies. Implement least-privilege access by granting just-in-time and just-enough access (JIT/JEA) to minimise exposure.

• Assume breach: Rather than assuming that the network is secure, Zero Trust assumes that a breach has already occurred. It focuses on minimising the blast radius and segmenting access. End-to-end encryption and analytics enhance visibility, threat detection, and overall defences.

• Build a secure hybrid workforce: Embrace a Zero Trust approach to security, especially in today’s hybrid workplace. Enable secure productivity for users working from anywhere.

• Safeguard critical assets: Implement unified data protection and governance practices to secure data, even beyond the network perimeter. Modernise your security posture by reducing vulnerabilities and automating policies.

• Minimise the impact of bad actors: Explicitly verify all internal and external access requests to prevent unauthorised entry. Layered defence mechanisms are essential.

• Stay ahead of regulatory requirements: Develop a comprehensive strategy to protect, manage, and govern data while complying with evolving privacy regulations.

In summary, Zero Trust challenges traditional security assumptions and promotes a proactive, adaptive approach to protect people, devices, apps, and data in our interconnected world, which any developer of products will need to keep in mind in 2024 and beyond. The same applies to companies planning on upgrading or replacing their physical security systems and equipment, in terms of any particular vulnerability which may be present within their security systems, which can be exploited.


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