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A 5-step approach to building digital trust through cybersecurity

November 19, 2021

Avinash Prasad   

Head of Managed Security Services, Tata Communications

Digital trust has become a new business indicator and is enabling better customer experiences. In this blog Avinash Prasad, Head of Managed Security Services, Tata Communications, discusses how enterprises can foster digital trust and build it into their cybersecurity practices.

The concept of trust is one of humanity’s foundational cornerstones. Without the seemingly simple ability to determine who we should and shouldn’t place our belief in, we’d never have been able to construct the elaborate societies we live in today.

However, trust does not naturally grow – it needs to be fostered, cultivated and most importantly, retained in a manner it brings value to a person or a business. In a previous blog, we considered how trust used to rely on interpersonal relationships, and how technology has taken over as the main propeller of trust for enterprises.

We also looked at the hierarchy of trust in the digital world. Starting from the first step – awareness of the possibility of an outcome – all the way up to the many potential strategic choices each business makes that contributes towards whether or not they’ll ever actualise digital trust.

In this piece, we’ll carry on the discussion by looking at how cybersecurity is integral to this effort by examining a five-step approach to effectively securing a business and fostering digital trust.

Cybersecurity practices that build digital trust

The zero-trust model has emerged as one of the standout approaches to cybersecurity, especially since remote working became the norm for so many businesses on the back of the pandemic.

“That’s because the zero-trust model relies on a simple, yet highly effective principle: assume breach, always verify.”

The approach encourages businesses to bolster their identity and context-based segmentation to reduce their attack surface and place  emphasis on user and device’s compliance and validation before granting secure access.

By employing intelligent threat monitoring and response and combining it with a robust identity and privilege management layer, threats emerging from a remote workforce, across any operations, multicloud, or internet-first architectures can all be greatly mitigated.

Zero-trust approach is the gatekeeper checking everyone’s ID upon every entry – regardless of how many times they’ve been inside before. However, it’s not enough to simply monitor who’s entering; businesses need to assume that cybercriminals will, eventually, access the enterprise network.

Once this is done, businesses need to begin streamlining the organisation, including users, business processes and policies, and start to align them with a “least privilege model”. The least privilege model dictates that if a user doesn’t need access rights, they shouldn’t have it. This way, businesses can see with clarity what new issues are arising specifically from the digitalisation of their operations.

After a least privilege model has been adopted across the organisation, it’s time to ingrain a consistent layer of security across layers of the network, cloud, application and data, to provide a reliable picture of the landscape’s security and enforcement.

“That’s why the next security step for businesses looking to drive digital trust is to employ the use of analytics-driven processes.”

This continuously assesses anomalies to unveil risks and vulnerabilities within the organisation. This is akin to a CCTV system looking at any shift in position for any person from normal to abnormal within their work environment.

The final brick in the foundation of digital trust is to establish a 24×7 managed security services framework that spans users, the business, access, devices, and threats. With this penetrative view into the entire state, businesses will be able to consistently detect faults and be able to provide remediation measures needed to rectify them.

Digital trust – enabler of experiences

The work that goes into fostering digital trust really can’t be underestimated as there’s no single solution that will deliver it to a business. Thus, understanding how the guidance above will manifest into digital trust requires businesses to consider their enterprise’s unique features such as the volume and variety of data, users and compliances to guide their individual journey.

“Cybersecurity is foundational to all these experiences, so every digital transformational project needs digital trust enablement baked into it. And even then, it needs to be perpetually sustained through assessments and upliftment.”

But with a consistent approach building up these designs and frameworks in place, the benefits of digital trust can begin to manifest and unlock new business opportunities. It’s hard work, but much like with regular trust, the impact of digital trust is wide reaching.

And by enabling new and yet seamless experiences across a business’s workforce, customer base and larger ecosystem of partners and suppliers, they push themselves one step closer to becoming the future-ready organisations they desire to be.

To learn more about our recent findings into the shifting foundations of business in the post-COVID-19 world, read our report, Digital Trust, The New Business Foundation.