Is Your Trust Model Increasing Risk?

Is your trust model increasing your risk? Before we can answer that, let’s clarify what a trust model entails.

Assessing risk requires an understanding of trust

Risk assessment is the collection of many different variables that are measured and weighed. One of those variables is how a company will acquire services, software, and support to support IT operations and optimize their business. According to NIST SP 800-139 Managing Information Security Risk, trust is defined as a belief that an entity will behave predictably in specific circumstances. The publication goes on to state that “Trust, while inherently a subjective determination, can be based on objective evidence and subjective elements.” Without those pieces of objective evidence and subjective elements, we have a blind trust, furthermore leading to a lack of trustworthiness.

The sentiments above echo how we should be approaching risk. Practicing risk treatment to identify risks, mitigate risks, then accept risks. With trust, we want to follow the same model. Have you ever heard the saying, “Trust but verify?”

Trust can be tricky

As we educate our customers on cybersecurity, this topic continues to show up. Specifically, the trust model outlined in 800-139 is called Direct Historical Trust. While reading about direct historical trust, one particular concept caught my attention. “While validated trust models assume that an organization provides the required level of evidence needed to establish trust, obtaining such evidence may not always be possible. In such instances, the trust may be based on other deciding factors, including the organization’s historical relationship with the other organization or its recent experience in working with the other organization.”

In summary, it can be acceptable to work with an organization, software provider, MSP, 3rd party cloud provider, if there is a history of trust. Even if proving they are trustworthy is not possible. However, and that’s a big, however, we observe significant mistakes with this approach with some clients and potential clients. Often, organizations place direct historical trust on their managed service providers to manage their IT infrastructure and assume cybersecurity is integrated into this process as well.

Trust but verify

The big mistake here is that it is completely plausible to verify the trustworthiness of an MSP. What is not acceptable is to blindly trust and assume. If you’ve been working with the same MSP for 10+ years, or they are a friend of a friend or even a family member, this can cause issues with cybersecurity readiness and protections.

Working with Rigid Bits can help provide the trustworthiness of your MSP and provide better insight into cybersecurity protections in place and missing. Only then, can we truly gather one of the most key variables needed to calculate risk: Trust.

Reach out to Rigid Bits to find out how we can help support your cybersecurity program.

About The Author
Rigid Bits
Rigid Bits
Rigid Bits is a cybersecurity firm that helps businesses identify and reduce their cybersecurity risks through consulting, professional services, and technology. They work closely with leadership and IT teams to help them test and reinforce the security of their environment while meeting compliance requirements and best practices. Rigid Bits also helps businesses become more prepared to stop cyber-attacks and supports breach investigation efforts with their digital forensics and incident response services.

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