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Zero trust is becoming increasingly popular in the cannabis industry.

According to a 2022 study, 80 percent of respondents are in the process of moving towards a zero trust strategy, or have already done initial implementation to put it into place.

And for a good reason. A zero-trust strategy encourages verification at every physical and digital interaction to ensure total protection. Zero trust doesn’t leave security to chance, but instead relies on security protocols to protect you in every aspect of business.

Why zero trust is a better form of security

When most people think of security, they tend to think “us versus them.” Strategies often include defining an attack surface and utilizing tools to build a defense around it.

The trouble with this strategy is it leaves gaping holes. How do you define an attacker? What if the attacker is from within? A disgruntled employee, for example, can easily cause havoc because they have all the access they need within the system.

Zero-trust secures users and devices in a way that perimeter security plans cannot. Instead of an open/closed security approach, security measures are used multiple times as you move throughout a platform. Entering through one door doesn’t automatically give you access to other sections. You must prove yourself repeatedly as you request more information.

How to implement zero trust in a cannabis business

Zero trust isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Review 100 cannabis businesses, and you’ll likely find 100 unique methods. It ultimately depends on your size, IT budget, staff resources, and the data you need to protect.

Still, there are ways for cannabis businesses of any size to build a manageable and affordable solution.

Define and discover

The first step is to fully define what you have. This includes thoroughly auditing your data, where it resides, and how much protection you need. You’ll need to determine who has access to what, and the minimum access they need to carry out daily functions.

Top security problems

Every organization has a general understanding of where its weaknesses are. Start there, and build from there. Most people don’t know what they don’t know. That’s where weaknesses often begin. If you’ve had problems in the past, or are just looking for a more thorough approach to security, it might be time to hire a consultant who can guide you into top-level security.

Map transaction flow

Data constantly moves throughout your business. In order to secure it, it’s important to document how it flows. Zero-trust relies on blocking crucial in points, shutting out users who don’t have the appropriate credentials. A map will help you define where those in points are.

Create a zero-trust policy

A powerful zero-trust policy starts with the “who, what, when, where, why.” It’s about organizing your data at every level, and identifying users as they move throughout the process. Clear policies lead to strict controls to ensure every access point is secure.

Test and monitor

Nothing works forever. That’s why it’s essential to monitor your policies and controls regularly. Monitoring ensures that all systems are operating as they should, and completes an audit trail. You can perform compliance checks to ensure your data remains safe.


Automation is the key to a successful zero-trust policy. This creates a sophisticated system that does the work for you, and only alerts you when potential problems exist. You can deploy changes and updates knowing they will be implemented throughout the system, keeping you safe and secure.

Are you ready for zero-trust security?

Security is ever-changing. What you’ve implemented and secured before may suddenly be your biggest risk. Zero-trust is a way to stay ahead of potential threats, providing more security across the board. Make today the day you move forward with zero-trust security measures, and build an extra layer of protection into your current security plan.

You’ll be glad you did.

For IT Strategy, Security and Compliance, or Help Desk Services, reach out to us at Cannabis Technology Partners 360-450-4759.