What is Zero Trust Security?

Zero Trust is a network security model based on the philosophy that no person or device inside or outside an organization’s network should be granted access to IT systems until authenticated and verified. 

This strategy shifts from “trust but verify” to “never trust, always verify.” Even if the user has accessed the network before, their identity is not to be trusted until repeatedly verified. 

Zero Trust Security restricts all users’ access to applications and data, whether inside or outside the organization’s network, until they are authenticated, authorized, and continuously validated. Networks can be local, cloud-based, or a mix of the two, with resources and workers located anywhere.

The Need for Zero Trust Security Framework

The castle-and-moat concept is used in traditional IT network security. Outside access is difficult to obtain in a castle-and-moat security system, but everyone inside the network gets default trust. The issue with this strategy is that once an attacker gains access to the network, they have complete control over everything inside.

Companies are no longer storing their data in a single location creating vulnerability in a castle-and-moat security system. Today, data is frequently dispersed among cloud vendors, making it more challenging to have a single security control for an entire network.

Zero Trust Security is critical for securing infrastructure and data, remote workers, hybrid cloud environments, and ransomware threats. 

Pillars of Zero Trust Security Model

  • User identity should be continuously monitored and validated. Once the established logins and connections are timed out, users and devices will be required to be re-verified.
  • Use a minimal or least privilege approach to security granting users only the level of access they require. Limit the time each user is exposed to network-sensitive areas. Logging in with a VPN gives all users access to the entire network and is not well-suited for least-privilege approaches to authorization. 
  • Device access control should track how many devices attempt to connect to their network and verify that each one is authorized.
  • Prevent lateral movement of attackers who have gained access to a network. Zero Trust access should be segmented so that once the attacker’s presence has been detected, the compromised device or user account can be quarantined, effectively cutting off access to other parts of the network. 
  • Use micro-segmentation of network files into secure zones to ensure that a person with access to one zone does not have access to other zones.
  •  Multi-factor authentification (MFA) requires more than one piece of evidence to authenticate a user. Simply entering a password should not be sufficient. With MFA, a code is sent to another device, such as a mobile phone, thus providing two pieces of evidence to verify the user.

 

The Human Element Of Zero Trust Model

Cyberattacks can happen due to the actions of a single person by

  • Clicking on a malware link in a phishing email
  • Allowing an individual to access the workplace 
  • Using an unsecured wi-fi router from a home office
 
Zero Trust Model can mitigate the human element that leads to cyber threats 

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