What is Zero Trust Security and Why Should You Care?

by Joseph Mandros June 13, 2023 | 6 min read

Automation has become a game changer for businesses seeking efficiency and scalability in a rather unclear and volatile macroeconomic landscape. Streamlining processes, improving productivity, and reducing incidence for human error are just a few benefits that automation brings.

However, as organizations embrace automation, it’s crucial to ensure modern security measures are in place to protect these new and evolving assets. While other security models control the majority of the narrative across the business landscape, zero trust is quickly emerging as a necessary security implementation concept.

With our recent release of the next-generation architecture for PagerDuty Runbook Automation and PagerDuty Process Automation, we are positioned as the ideal partner to help organizations implement and grow within a zero trust security architecture for the modern enterprise.

To learn more, keep reading and/or register for our webinar about Zero Trust security happening this Thursday, June 15th at 6 A.M. PT and 11 A.M PT respectively.

What is zero trust security?

Zero trust security is a model that challenges the traditional perimeter-based security approach by assuming that no user or device can be inherently trusted—regardless of their location. It emphasizes continuous verification and validation of identities, devices, and network traffic before granting access to resources. It achieves this through multi-factor authentication, granular access controls, encryption, and monitoring, enabling organizations to minimize the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access.

By shifting the traditional perimeter-based security paradigm and adopting a “trust no one” approach, zero trust security offers a holistic framework that aligns seamlessly with modern automation initiatives. Additionally, it can positively impact the process evolution of a business’ inner workings as the world becomes increasingly more complex—and prone to bank-breaking threats.


What’s the big deal?

Zero trust security often stands out as a superior approach compared to traditional security models, largely due to its fundamental shift to a modern technological mindset and comprehensive implementation.

Unlike perimeter-based security models that rely on the assumption that internal networks are inherently trustworthy, zero trust security adopts a “trust no one” philosophy. It implements strict access controls, continuous authentication, and rigorous monitoring at every level, ensuring that every user, device, and network component is treated as potentially untrusted. This approach significantly reduces the attack surface and prevents lateral movement within the network, making it highly effective against both external threats and insider risks.

Additionally, zero trust security provides adaptive access controls that dynamically adjust privileges based on context, bolstering security without impeding productivity. By combining strong authentication, encryption, and segmentation, zero trust security offers a holistic and proactive defense strategy that fortifies organizations against sophisticated threats, making it a superior choice for today’s deep field of dynamic and interconnected digital landscapes.

Business of all sizes can positively benefit from implementing a security model like zero trust, with contributing factors such as:

  • Protecting Sensitive Data: Zero trust security ensures that access to this valuable data is strictly controlled and authenticated, reducing the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and potential financial and reputational damages.
  • Mitigating Insider Threats: Zero trust security addresses the risk of insider threats by assuming that no user or device should be implicitly trusted. This helps organizations identify and address potential risks before they cause harm.
  • Adapting to Evolving Cyber Threats: Traditional security models often rely on perimeter-based defenses, assuming that internal network traffic is safe. However, modern cyber threats—such as advanced persistent threats and zero-day exploits—can bypass traditional defenses. Zero trust security takes a more granular approach, implementing continuous auditing, multi-factor authentication, and strict access controls to protect against these evolving threats.
  • Supporting Remote and Mobile Workforces: With the rise of remote work and the increasing use of mobile devices, businesses face new challenges in securing their networks and data. Zero trust security allows organizations to implement secure access controls, regardless of the user’s location or device. This flexibility ensures that employees can work remotely while maintaining a strong security posture.
  • Meeting Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: Implementing zero-trust security can help organizations meet these requirements by enforcing access controls, monitoring data usage, and demonstrating a proactive approach to cybersecurity.
  • Building Customer Trust: In today’s data-driven world, customers value the security and privacy of their personal information. By implementing robust zero-trust security measures, businesses can build trust with their customers, demonstrating their commitment to protecting sensitive data and mitigating cyber risks.

PagerDuty Process Automation + Zero Trust

Digital Transformation initiatives rely on cloud technologies to rapidly scale the business, but there are new challenges around security with automating operations and cloud infrastructure. The main challenge being that engineers need the most secure protocols to run automation in restricted application environments that mandate a zero trust architecture—where direct SSH zone access is deprecated.

Additionally, significant engineering effort is required to deploy and manage automation that performs well across hundreds of remote environments and geographical regions. Lastly, creating resilient automation runbooks is time consuming and prone to error when coordinating within a variety of complex environments.

With PagerDuty Runbook Automation, engineers can now run automation from a central system that triggers the execution through enhanced Runners or AWS SSM within the remote environments—without needing to rely on SSH firewall rules.

PagerDuty Runbook Automation dispatching tasks to remote environments using zero-trust principles.

The new Runners can leverage common plugins like Ansible and Kubernetes and customers can create new types of runbooks where engineers target many remote secure environments and explicitly state where and how tasks will be independently routed and executed within each environment. This enables better performance, scale, and fault tolerance.

For customers with high security requirements, PagerDuty Runbook Automation and Process Automation can now enable connectivity without the need to open ports in their firewalls, such as SSH, enabling remote operations. This new functionality simplifies secure connectivity to automation by reducing the need for customers to deploy their own bastion or jump host and public endpoints.

To learn more about zero trust security and PagerDuty Process Automation, be sure to register for the webinar happening this Thursday, June 15th, at 6 A.M. P.T and 11 A.M. PT respectively.