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The Energy Sector in Particular is Embracing Zero-Trust Technology

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Dr. Mostafa AlGuezeri, the Managing Director of UAE and its Oversight Countries, at Hitachi Energy, says the adoption of technologies that support the zero-trust model is indeed increasing

How has the Zero Trust Network Architecture evolved since it was first coined in 2010?
The Zero Trust Network Architecture has evolved significantly since its inception in 2010. The concept was based on the principle of not trusting any user or device within the network perimeter. Over the years, this concept has been developed and expanded upon, and the modern approach to Zero Trust involves continuous monitoring and authentication, as well as using encryption and other security measures to ensure that only authorized users and devices can access resources. This approach is especially relevant today, with the increasing prevalence of remote work and cloud-based services. It has become an important framework for organizations to protect their data and systems from both internal and external threats.

Do you believe that technologies that support zero trust are moving into the mainstream?
The adoption of technologies that support the zero-trust model is indeed increasing. The pandemic has forced organizations to accelerate their digital transformation efforts, including the adoption of cloud-based solutions and remote work. As a result, there is a greater need for robust security measures to protect critical assets and sensitive data. Zero trust has emerged as a leading security framework that can help organizations secure their digital assets and reduce the risk of cyberattacks.

The energy sector in particular is embracing zero-trust technology. The energy industry is a critical infrastructure sector that is vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and as a result, has become a top target for cybercriminals. The implementation of zero-trust technology can help mitigate these risks by providing a more comprehensive security approach that protects against both internal and external threats.

Additionally, regulatory requirements and compliance frameworks such as NERC CIP (North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection) mandate the use of zero-trust principles to ensure the security and reliability of the grid. Many energy companies have recognized the importance of zero trust and are investing in technology to improve their cybersecurity posture.

Do you believe that enterprise IT departments today require a new way of thinking because the castle itself no longer exists in isolation as it once did?
The traditional model of securing the “castle” or perimeter of the network is no longer effective. With the rise of cloud computing, mobile devices, and remote work, the network perimeter has become more fluid, and traditional security measures are no longer sufficient to protect against modern threats. This is what led to the emergence of the Zero-Trust model, which assumes that no user or device can be trusted, even if they are within the network perimeter.

As a result, IT departments must adopt a new way of thinking that involves continuous monitoring, risk assessment, and access control to ensure the security of their systems and data. This requires a shift away from a perimeter-based security approach to one that is always focused on protecting individual devices and data, regardless of where they are located.

How can companies get started with zero trust?
To get started with zero trust, companies should begin by identifying their critical assets and mapping out their data flows. They should then implement strong authentication and access controls, as well as continuously monitor and analyze their systems for potential threats. Companies can also leverage the use of micro-segmentation, which can help to limit lateral movement and contain any potential breaches. Finally, it is important to have a plan in place for incident response and to regularly review and update security protocols as needed.

Industry experts have warned that cyber-attacks will be focused on techniques that zero trust controls can’t mitigate. What according to you can be done to address this?
It is important to acknowledge that cyber-attacks can pose a significant threat to the safety and reliability of critical infrastructure like Energy grids. While implementing zero-trust controls is a good start, it’s also important to recognize that While zero trust is an effective security strategy, it is not a silver bullet that can address all types of cyber threats.

To mitigate the risks of the threats that zero trust cannot control, companies can adopt additional security measures such as advanced threat detection, security information and event management (SIEM), and continuous monitoring of their network infrastructure. It’s also essential to keep the workforce well-informed about the potential threats and ensure they are following best practices, such as strong password policies and multi-factor authentication. A proactive approach to cybersecurity that combines multiple layers of protection can help companies stay ahead of evolving cyber threats.

What according to you are the limitations of zero trust?
Complexity and cost of implementation are the biggest limitations, as well as potential challenges in integrating with legacy systems. Additionally, zero trust does not provide complete protection against all types of cyber-attacks, such as those that rely on social engineering or other human-based tactics. Finally, zero trust requires ongoing monitoring and maintenance, which can be challenging for organizations with limited resources.

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Video: Interview with Pedro Simoes of Motorola Solutions at Intersec 2024

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Video: Interview with Osama Qafiti of Vanguard Integrated Solutions at Intersec 2024

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Video: Interview with Josey Tomy of Kuwait Secure at Intersec 2024

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We caught up with Josey Tomy, the Sales Director at Kuwait Secure, at the Toshiba Gulf FZE stand. He spoke about the challenges companies face in the surveillance sector and how solutions from Toshiba can help overcome those challenges:

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