Zero Trust has become a popular term on the lips of many organizational management and security teams. A model is a cybersecurity approach that only grants access to network resources based on a least-privilege approach. Gartner predicted zero trust growth to be embraced by over 60% of organizations by 2025.
What is The Zero Trust Security Model About?
Traditionally, corporate systems have relied on the castle-and-moat security model, where people outside a network are untrusted. Still, once verified and granted access, they receive access to every asset within the system without restrictions.
This assumption is based on the notion that internal users can be inherently trusted or granted implicit Trust. However, this has also resulted in a wide range of attacks and breaches, making attackers move laterally around the network once past the perimeter.
However, instead of focusing on users’ locations and devices relative to the perimeter, zero Trust leverages user and device identities to grant access requests. It also considers their roles irrespective of location, whether within the office or anywhere else.
In zero trust, the process of authorizing and authenticating users repeatedly happens instead of the traditional one-time approach. By doing this, the model restricts and avoids unnecessary movements around the network. Furthermore, while this method considers outsider threats, it also considers that an insider’s legitimate account may also be compromised. Hence,it has been shown to frustrate the hacker’s opportunities immensely.
The Zero Trust benefits are numerous. It was introduced by John Kindervag in 2012 and has consistently gained lots of attention and growth.
Why Should the Zero Trust Security Model Be Considered?
The huge figure recorded around attacks has exploded in recent years with numerous high-profile data breaches, also affected by remote access systems, making it critical to implement tighter security frameworks—enters Zero Trust.
Traditionally, companies depended on security measures like firewalls to construct fences around network resources. However, if organizations maintain this approach, the increasing sophistication of attacks will walk over the system because, with the model, external access can be built remotely into the network through the use of VPNs which allows secure access on a network through a virtual tunnel.
Before the pandemic, only a few organizations operated the remote work system. But as many companies now embrace it, they need to support secure remote access at scale. In addition, the perimeter-based system was created when enterprises had resources residing locally in an on-premises corporate data center.
But the case is different now as most organizations’ resources are distributed across multiple cloud locations and private data centers, diffusing the traditional perimeter.
Planning For The Zero Trust Security Model
Many security experts have shown that while it is much easier to discuss implementing the Zero Trust model in theory, most organizations find it challenging to implement it into their systems. However, here are some things organizations should put into consideration while implementing the zero trust security model.
- Adopting ZeroTrust in Piecemeal can Cause Security Gaps. Since the traditional model is deeply rooted in granting implicit Trust, it becomes almost unattainable to transit to the zero trust model at once. And the process of training in bits can result in more growing pains and security gaps.
- It May Become Difficult To Adjust To Quickly. Workers who have gotten too used to the traditional method may find it very hard to adjust significantly to the zero trust security mode since the model restricts user access and prevents the free flow of movement across the network. More so, overzealous policies can block users from the resources they need.
- Zero Trust isn’t a single product. Zero Trust isn’t a technology or specific service. It is an approach to security that requires a diversion from the legacy mindset to implementing progressive policies that ensure that no implicit trust is offered to any user or device unless they have proven they are trustworthy through authorization and authentication processes.
Businesses considering transiting to the zero trust model should consider creating a cross-functional and dedicated team to create strategies and drive the implementation measures. It is ideal for a zero trust team to be made of members with expertise in the following areas:
- Security operations
- Data and application security.
- Network and infrastructure security.
- User and device identity
Zero Trust Use Cases
Just with any new technology, the zero trust use cases should be the critical determinant of the factors that drive it
- It secures third-party access.
- It provides broadened visibility over the network and enhances security posture.
- It offers data center micro-segmentation.
- It can provide multi-cloud remote security access.
What Are the Principles of a Zero Trust Model?
The zero-trust modem has principles that eliminate inherent Trust within a network and ensure the bolstering of security infrastructure by using continuous user and device verification. Here are some main principles of zero Trust:
- Identify your protect surface.
- Incorporate modern tools and architecture.
- Monitor and create alerts over suspicious activities.
- Understand the security controls in place on the network.
- Implement detailed policy.
Repeatedly implementing zero Trust also means improving the principles themselves. The modem isn’t a one-time implemented model that can only be done without any further need for updates or adjustments. Instead, the principles must be continuously given effect and improved upon through a continuous process model that restarts once a principle is achieved.
Zero Trust Vs. Other Technologies
So, let’s consider how zero Trust and some other technologies compare:
1. Zero Trust vs. Software Defined Perimeter (SDP)
The SDP aims to enhance security posture like Zero Trust by strictly determining what users and devices can access on a network. SDP is an architecture that is made up of SDP controllers and hosts that control to improve communications. Zero Trust and SDP focus on similar security goals but overlap in certain areas.
2. Zero Trust vs. VPN
VPNs have been great options for users in various parts of the globe for decades. However, it falls short of the new threats in the face of an increasing number of remote workforce and cloud services now deployed in many organizations. But that does not mean you should get rid of your VPNs. VPNs can be a very crucial part of zero trust severity models. With a VPN, you can reduce a company’s attack surface and prevent damaging lateral movements and attacks if a breach occurs.
3. Zero Trust vs. Principal of Least Privilege
The least privilege principle gives users and devices the access rights needed to carry out specific tasks and nothing beyond that. This is similar to the zero trust model, focusing on verifying and re-verifying users and devices through authorization and authentication.