Zero Trust requires extensive monitoring, visibility, and validation of users, devices, and data. This can require significant IT resources.
Least privilege access: Only grant credentials on a need-to-know basis. This minimizes damage if an account is compromised. Continuous trust verification enables granular user, device, and application posture verification.
Zero trust network access provides a security framework that hides applications from public internet discovery and authorizes connections on a need-to-know basis. It combines advanced technologies with a consistent assessment of the IT environment, users, devices, and communications.
It applies the principle of least privilege and uses micro-segmentation to separate networks into distinct sections and assign specific security policies to each. Zero Trust is a security solution that can be used in the cloud, at the network’s edge, or in hybrid configurations with on-premises infrastructure and remote workers.
Unlike traditional security models, Zero Trust is based on the “never trust, always verify” principle and uses advanced monitoring techniques to assess the security posture of users and devices. Continuous verification includes periodic reauthentication, continuous monitoring of user sessions, and detecting anomalous behavior. This approach limits attacks’ “blast radius” by ensuring that compromised credentials are quickly revoked and prevented from accessing internal resources. It also requires that all users be verified, not just those with administrative privileges.
Least Privilege Access
Ensure that humans and non-human accounts (such as applications, services, and APIs) have the minimum privilege necessary to complete their tasks. This includes discovering all local, remote, and inherited admin privileges and ensuring they are limited. This controls “privilege creep” when users are rewarded with additional access over time, enabling security teams to reduce their attack surface.
Just like a new employee doesn’t get instant access to the vault with the company’s secret recipes, IT security shouldn’t allow employees or third-party contractors to waltz into corporate systems with too many permissions.
Zero Trust requires consistently monitoring and evaluating users, devices, network changes, and data movement. In addition, zero trust access must ensure that the “need-to-know” principle is followed for insiders and outsiders. This means that only the data they need to do their job should be accessible, and this information must also be securely encrypted.
The security posture of every device, endpoint, and user needs to be continuously monitored and verified. A practical zero-trust framework will collect granular context from every interaction and dynamically create security policies that consider the current state of the environment, assets, and users. This information must be available for security teams to constantly re-evaluate the risk posture of their business as they evolve.
Zero Trust takes a holistic approach to security, believing nothing can be trusted by default- not devices, users, applications, and the network itself. This “never trust, always verify” principle can be achieved with visibility, automation, and orchestration, including advanced technologies.
The right combination of these components will provide a strong foundation for reducing risk and strengthening security. It will also enable organizations to implement a more secure and faster digital transformation journey, for example, by enabling micro-segmentation to isolate the impact of a breach and prevent janitor credentials from being used to spread into sensitive areas.
A security architecture that continuously authenticates and authorizes users by least-privilege access helps mitigate risk. It is also essential to monitor every connection’s status to maintain the proper level of Trust. For example, if a user needs to re-authenticate quickly or use multiple identity factors, it may be time to allow them access. Remembering too much authentication can motivate end users to circumvent security measures is also essential.
Zero Trust is a security framework that requires all users (inside and outside the network) to be verified, authorized, and continuously validated for their security configurations and posture before being granted or kept access to applications and data. This approach replaces the traditional perimeter-based security model and leverages modern technologies to provide holistic security.
In addition to ensuring that malicious insiders do not abuse access, Zero Trust can also ensure compliance with various industry standards and regulatory frameworks. Evaluating and logging all access requests is critical to a continuous compliance program, making audits easier.
A Zero Trust access strategy must include a robust data encryption platform that protects sensitive information from endpoints, devices, and applications. This is a critical component to reducing the potential impact of a breach. Encryption prevents the theft of credentials or tampering with application code. It also makes it much more difficult for an attacker to extract valuable data from a system after a successful attack.
A well-rounded Zero Trust strategy should also include continuous authentication, a crucial component of a security architecture that operates in a “never trust, always verify” manner. This approach identifies each device, user, and app accessing an internal network and continually checks for changes to the user’s identity, context, or security posture. It also minimizes the blast radius in case of a breach by granting users only as much access as they need and revalidating whenever an application is used.
Another critical piece of this comprehensive Zero Trust strategy is a running inventory of all network devices, whether end-user computers or phones, enterprise or IoT systems, servers, printers, and headless IoT devices like HVAC controllers and security badge readers. This is necessary to accurately detect any devices infected with malware or a known target for hackers.
A Zero Trust access strategy should also incorporate micro-segmentation, which involves dividing a more extensive network into smaller networks that operate independently. This allows IT teams to block access to specific resources or groups of resources if they have been compromised, minimizing the damage from a breach.