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What is Zero Trust Security?

For today’s modern digital transformation, Zero Trust is a framework for safeguarding infrastructure and data. Before being permitted or maintaining access to applications and data, all users, whether inside or outside the organization’s network, must be verified, authorized, and continually checked for security configuration and posture.

Zero Trust has become one of cybersecurity’s latest buzzwords. It One of the newest phrases in cybersecurity is “zero trust.” It is assumed that there is no typical network edge; networks can be local, cloud-based, or a blend of the two, with resources and people located anywhere.

By leveraging network segmentation, preventing lateral movement, providing Layer 7 threat prevention, and simplifying granular user-access control, Zero Trust is a significant departure from traditional network security, which followed the “trust but verify” method to protect modern digital environments by leveraging network segmentation, preventing lateral movement, providing Layer 7 threat prevention, and simplifying granular user-access control.

How does Zero Trust work?

Before Zero Trust had a name, the concept of de-parameterization was promoted as early as 2004 by the Jericho Forum. This working group of Chief Information Security Officers ultimately compiled the Jericho Forum Commandments, which defined “areas and principles to be observed when planning for a de-parameterized future.”

During his time as a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research in the fall of 2010, John Kindervag coined the term “Zero Trust,” based on the realisation that traditional security models are based on the outdated assumption that everything inside an organization’s network should be trusted. It is assumed that a user’s identity is not compromised and that all users act responsibly and can be trusted in this broken trust paradigm.

Trust is a weakness, according to the Zero Trust paradigm. Users, including threat actors and malevolent insiders, are free to travel around the network and access or exfiltrate whatever data they want once they’re connected. It’s important to remember that the point of infiltration for an attack isn’t always the target area. 

Why is Zero Trust Important?

The conventional approach automatically trusted users and endpoints within the business’s perimeter, exposing the organisation to hostile internal actors and valid credentials taken over by criminal actors, granting unauthorised and compromised accounts broad access once inside. Due to the pandemic that began in 2020, when enterprises saw their offices go vacant as employees shifted to working remotely in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, this model became obsolete with the cloud migration of business transformation initiatives and the acceleration of a distributed work environment. Security executives needed to swiftly assess whether their identity and access management (IAM) systems could handle remote employees accessing corporate resources from beyond the network perimeter.

A Zero Trust approach can assist you in supporting the new normal of remote access for your employees and other workforce members. Zero Trust ensures that only the right users have access to the right resources for the right reasons by moving the reliance away from trusting the corporate network and toward always confirming a user’s identity before allowing access.

What is Zero Trust Architecture?

Zero Trust Architecture

A Zero Trust Architecture refers to the way network devices and services are structured to enable a Zero Trust security model. The architecture requires developers to consider how services interact. Zero Trust planning can appear to hinder productivity, even more so if you’re adding a new service or are unfamiliar with the DevOps necessary to grant access.

You identify a “protect surface” in Zero Trust. The network’s most vital and valuable data, assets, applications, and services – DAAS – make up the protected surface. Each organization’s protect surfaces are different. You may determine how traffic moves around the organisation in relation to protecting the surface once you’ve established your protected surface. Only by determining and enforcing a policy that provides secure access to your data can you determine who your users are, which applications they use, and how they connect.

Once you’ve figured out how the DAAS, infrastructure, services, and users are all interconnected, you should put controls in place as close to the protected surface as feasible, effectively building a microperimeter around it. Wherever the protected surface goes, this microperimeter moves with it. A segmentation gateway, also known as a next-generation firewall, can be used to construct a microperimeter by limiting access to the protected surface to only known, approved traffic or legal applications.

With granular Layer 7 policy based on the Kipling Method, which creates Zero Trust policy based on who, what, when, where, why, and how, the segmentation gateway gives granular insight into traffic and imposes extra layers of inspection and access control.

You continue to monitor and manage in real-time after you’ve developed your Zero Trust policy around your protect surface, looking for things like what should be included in the protected surface, unaccounted-for interdependencies, and methods to improve policy.

What are the benefits of the Zero Trust Model?

The benefits of using the Zero Trust Model are as follows:

  • The strategy is to protect yourself from all sides, especially from within.
  • Traditional security methods, such as defense-in-depth, have traditionally focused on network perimeter protection. Many of today’s breaches originate from within, whether by workers or threats that have infiltrated the network via email, browsers, VPN connections, and other means.
  • For someone who already has network access, data exfiltration can be simple.
  • Every access request is assessed and logged, and Zero Trust helps to assure continual compliance.
  • Zero Trust makes use of centralized monitoring, which allows you to quickly create accurate data and store it in one place.
  • It constantly monitors how you use data and may revoke authorization to copy that data to another location.

Stages of Implementing Zero Trust

Despite the fact that each company’s demands are different, CrowdStrike recommends the following stages for implementing a mature Zero Trust architecture:

  • Stage 1: Visualize – be aware of all resources, their points of access, and the risks involved
  • Stage 2: Mitigate – detect and stop threats, or lessen the consequences of a breach if it can’t be prevented right away.
  • Stage 3: Optimize –  extend protection to every aspect of the IT infrastructure and all resources regardless of location without creating a poor user experience

Implementing Zero Trust Using the Five-Step Methodology

Companies have been cautious to embark on the Zero Trust path due to old security paradigms and the mindset of “all or nothing.” Building a Zero Trust architecture, fortunately, is lot easier than it appears. Zero Trust does not necessitate a comprehensive technology revamp because it is an addition to your existing architecture. Instead, it can be implemented in stages, allowing you to use the tools and technologies you already have.

You may identify where you are in your implementation process and where to go next by using a five-step approach for implementing and maintaining Zero Trust. These are the steps to take:  

  1. Define the protect surface: The defend surface is the most important data, applications, assets, and services for your firm to safeguard. Working relentlessly to decrease the attack surface is no longer possible. It’s difficult to define, shrink, or fight against the assault surface because it’s continually expanding.
  2. Map the transaction flows: You can appropriately enforce data protection measures by documenting how your digital assets interact. The manner in which traffic passes through a network defines how it should be safeguarded. According to IT security experts, it’s critical to obtain contextual awareness about your DAAS’s interdependencies.
  3. Architect a Zero Trust network: There is no single, universal design for zero trust networks. Instead, the architecture is designed to protect the surface. The next-generation firewall operates as a segmentation gateway, enclosing the protective surface in a microperimeter. Additional layers of inspection and access restriction, all the way up to Layer 7, can be enforced.
  4. Create the Zero Trust policy: To whitelist which resources should have access to others, you’ll need to create Zero Trust policies using the “Kipling Method.” In his poem “Six Serving Men,” Kipling, a well-known novelist, proposed the concept of “who, what, when, where, why, and how.”
  5. Monitor and maintain the network: Examining and logging all network traffic will provide useful information about how to improve the network over time. This final stage is going through all logs, both internal and external, up to Layer 7. Zero Trust is a continuous process that might yield considerable results over time.

A Zero Trust network is a cost-effective and non-disruptive approach to move data and applications from your old networks to the cloud. You can expand to move more data, apps, assets, or services once you’ve finished the five-step technique for building a Zero Trust Network for your first protect surface.

What are the Principles of Zero Trust?

When deploying a zero-trust data security system, follow these four key zero-trust principles.

  1. Use Microsegmentation: Microsegmentation separates a network into distinct segments, each with its own set of security credentials. Even if one segment is breached, this strengthens the means of protection and prevents bad actors from spreading throughout the network.
  2. Introduce Visibility And Automation: However, unlike SDP, ZTNA does not allow for inline inspection of user traffic after the user has established a connection. When a user’s device or credentials are compromised, or when a malicious insider utilizes their access to a resource to disrupt the application or host, this might lead to possible security vulnerabilities.
  3. Provide Identity Beyond Identity And Access Management (IAM): ZTNA services combine identity-based authentication with access control to give an alternative to IP-based access control, which is commonly utilized with most VPN installations. To prevent unpatched or vulnerable devices from connecting to corporate services, ZTNA also allows enterprises to set location or device-specific access control policies. This solves a typical VPN problem in which BYOD distant users are given the same degree of access as users in a corporate office, despite the fact that they often have fewer security restrictions.
  4. Enforce Policies Everywhere: Previously, data security was primarily concerned with data access. However, once data are obtained, the user usually has broad permissions to use and transmit it without any extra security restrictions. Persistent security is required. You should keep your data safe at all times, both when it’s in transit and when it’s in use. Security should be applied to all file types and applications. Identify non-zero-trust solutions, such as tools that publish a list of supported programs.

Zero Trust Use Cases

While Zero Trust has been referred to as a norm for many years, it is becoming more formalized as a reaction to securing digital transformation and a variety of complex, destructive threats that have surfaced in the last year.

Due to their business, digital transformation maturity, and current security strategy, each firm has distinct problems. If effectively implemented, Zero Trust may adapt to fit individual needs while still providing a return on investment for your security strategy.

You must safeguard an infrastructure deployment model that contains the following elements:

  • Multi-cloud, hybrid, multi-identity
  • Unmanaged devices
  • Legacy systems
  • SaaS apps

You must consider major threat use cases, such as:

  • Ransomware – a two-part issue involving code execution and compromise of identity
  • Supply chain attacks – Unmanaged devices and privileged users working remotely are common scenarios.
  • Insider threats – When users work from home, it’s even more difficult.

These are things to think about in your company:

  • Expertise challenges for SOC/analyst
  • Considerations relating to the user experience
  • Requirements of the industry or regulations

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