The United States relies increasingly on mobile devices like smartphones to send and receive data, and this meant that a need for wireless data transmission similar in volume to wired Internet connections has come into greater demand. The result is that the 5G wireless network, the latest, fastest, and largest data transmission standard, continues. The largest telecommunications companies, such as Verizon and AT&T, continue their rollout, with an estimated coverage of 175 and 100 customers. However, this also means that more security will also be required as more data is transmitted across 5G networks. And zero trust policies, with convenient password-free authentication systems, will be critical to this success.
What Is Zero Trust?
As the name implies, “zero trust” security means making no assumptions about the validity of a person or device attempting to access data and requiring multiple stages of verification and authentication throughout every step of login and transaction. This has become even more prevalent in recent years as the pandemic forced many companies to keep workers at home, using home devices, and in some cases, even their own smart devices, to remotely access data. This meant that some of the usual trust mechanics, such as knowing a valid user was correctly accessing the network because they could be physically seen at their desk, on their office computer, accessing data locally stored on that device, could no longer be taken as givens. Now, workers needed to be able to access data remotely from any number of locations and devices, making authentication of legitimate users a priority.
One of the hallmarks of zero trust protocol is constant verification. It is not enough to accept a password of biometric authentication once and then turn a blind eye to whatever that user does for the remainder of the transaction period. Verification is an ongoing process for different actions; thus, password-free authentication systems are important in streamlining this process.
Another important aspect of the zero trust approach is “limiting the blast radius.” A security protocol is extremely vulnerable if it assumes no breach will ever happen and thus has no contingencies in place if one occurs. Zero trust protocols take breaches of some kind as a given and compartmentalize access and activities so that even if a breach occurs, it can be quickly contained and quarantined, rather than allowing a single breach to gain complete, centralized control of an entire system.
If you are interested in zero trust security concepts and incorporating FIDO protocol into a password-free authentication system, read here to learn more.