How To Securely Share Data

How to securely share data is the first in a five-part series of articles that explains how zero trust data access (ZTDA) can be implemented across an enterprise. The articles focus on enterprise data sharing, threats to unstructured data, and implementing ZTDA using the commercial FileFlex platform.

By Dr. Edward Amoroso, TAG Cyber

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Zero trust data access (ZTDA) provides an effective means to securely share data  

The Modern Emphasis on Zero Trust

To date, most of the emphasis on zero trust in the modern hybrid enterprise has been focused on remote access to network-based resources, usually as a replacement for virtual private networks (VPNs). The resulting zero trust network access (ZTNA) is usually deployed to provide internal and external users with work-from-anywhere connections to enterprise applications, without the need for VPN support.

Obviously, the ability to remotely access a network has always been a critically important function requiring security solutions. Accordingly, many new commercial ZTNA vendors have emerged in this area, several of whom are evolving into more generalized secure network infrastructure providers with cloud-based control. These offerings are sometimes referred to as secure access service edge (SASE) systems.[1]

Using Zero Trust To Securely Share Data

One aspect of the zero-trust equation that has received relatively little attention, however, involves secure remote access to data. Users generally view data in the context of files and folders, often hosted in Microsoft SharePoint. As such, one might have expected to see solutions emerge that abstract away the network and application design details in lieu of extending a virtual data access overlay for users working on-premises or remotely.

The reality is that solutions to this problem have proven difficult, given the many unique aspects of how organizations create, store, share, and protect unstructured data. Luckily, recent advances in a new method known as zero trust data access (ZTDA) have led to commercial offerings that can now extend the zero-trust equation to securely share data. This is good news for organizations struggling with this nagging challenge.

Understanding Zero Trust Data Access Using FileFlex

A Five-Part Series of Articles from TAG Cyber

In this series of articles, we plan to outline the basics of the emerging ZTDA model, which involves the creation of a secure remote access infrastructure that allows secure sharing of data files and folders both internal and external, regardless of the details of their underlying network support and hosting implementation. The commercial FileFlex platform from cybersecurity company Qnext is shown to provide ZTDA capabilities effectively.[2]

In Article 2, TAG Cyber analyst Chris Wilder[3] addresses risks to unstructured data. In Article 3, TAG Cyber’s Dr. Edward Amoroso[4] expands on this theme to outline zero trust data access methods and how zero trust data access might work at the file and folder level for customers. Article 4 provides an overview of their commercial platform for zero trust data access. Article 5 from TAG Cyber’s John Masserini[6] proposes an action plan for enterprises in this area.

[1] Customers of TAG Cyber’s Research as a Service (RaaS) can review modern ZTNA and SASE commercial offerings either through the perusal of curated libraries on the TAG Cyber RaaS portal or through live tailored engagements with expert analysts.

[2] https://fileflex.com/company/

[3] https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisrwilder

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_G._Amoroso

[6] https://www.linkedin.com/in/jjmasserini/

Copyright © 2022 TAG Cyber LLC

Dr. Edward Amoroso is the founder and CEO of TAG Cyber. Experienced Chief Executive Officer, Chief Security Officer, Chief Information Security Officer, University Professor, Security Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Computer Science Researcher, and Prolific Author with a history of working in the telecommunications industry beginning at Bell Labs and leading to SVP/CSO position at AT&T. Skilled in Cyber Security, Network Architecture, Wide Area Network (WAN), Managed Services, and Network Design. PhD in Computer Science from the Stevens Institute of Technology, and also a graduate of Columbia Business School. Directly served four Presidential Administrations in Cyber Security, and now serves as a Member of the M&T Bank Board of Directors, Senior Advisor for the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University, Adjunct CS Professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology, CS Department Instructor at New York University, and Member of the NSA Advisory Board (NSAAB).