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    Zero Trust Security Model: All You Need to Know

    As per the ‘Cyberwarfare in the C-Suite’ report, global cybercrime costs are expected to reach $10.5 trillion USD[i] annually by 2025.

    Thus, it’s crucial to use security frameworks that help you strengthen your online security. One such framework is the zero-trust security model, which was developed in 2010 by John Kindervag, a former Forrester analyst.

    CIOs and CISOs are increasingly incorporating zero-trust security architecture to prioritize securing their user data with zero-trust network access.

    Here is an article that will help you understand the zero trust security model in detail, its benefits, and how it works.

    Let’s dive in!

    What is Zero Trust Security Model/Architecture?

    The zero trust security model requires all the users, inside and outside the organizational network, to be authorized to access the business-specific information.

    This framework doesn’t differentiate between users trying to access the business data. It follows a holistic security approach that no user or device can be trusted until they’re authenticated and verified.

    Unlike the traditional legacy security systems, zero trust architecture helps strengthen access management across the enterprise.

    Zero Trust Access (ZTA) assumes that networks can be local, cloud, or hybrid, and these can be located anywhere. This is why any kind of access needs to be validated, with this type of modern security framework.

    Principles of the Zero Trust Security Model

    1. Verify Explicitly: Ensure that all data points, location, user identity, device health, etc are always authenticated and authorized. Typically, organizations use single sign-on (SSO) access, which doesn’t require users to enter a password every time they want to access their system. This can be resolved by implementing multi-factor authentication or intelligence-based access.

    2. Use Least Privileged Access: Keep the user access limited and learn where all the sensitive organizational data resides. Businesses have increased data flows today, which also sometimes come from outside of the corporate network. You can leverage cybersecurity tools to identify critical resources that should be on the security radar.

    3. Implement Detailed Policies: While implementing a zero-trust policy, security administrators should have policies for when users, devices, and applications can have access to particular data. These permissions can be implemented at the time of building high-level policies.

    Zero Trust Use-Cases

    ”Zero Trust Use-Cases

    1. Privileged Access Management (PAM)
    Privileged accounts are a big risk since they have complete access to your IT infrastructure. If they are breached, then all your network devices, operating systems, and applications will become accessible by unauthorized sources.

    Privileged Access Management (PAM) allows users to have some unique access rights. This helps provide controlled access to specific users and devices and builds protection against the deliberate misuse of privileged access. PAM helps you enforce additional security measures such as biometric authentication, recording for supervision, and full auditing.

    2. Suppliers & Third-Party Access
    Suppliers, partners, and third-party vendors are important business ecosystem entities. Therefore, CISOs and IT managers should ensure secure and controlled external access is maintained for every user accessing organizational information.

    Zero Trust Access (ZTA) helps you apply intelligent methodologies across all your communication channels. It allows you to scan the network participants with multi-level authentication. Regarding third-party access, zero trust allows you to implement stringent security policies restricting access without permission.

    3. Monitor Operational Technology
    The proliferation of IoT devices has led to an increase in new devices gaining access to the network. Implementing zero-trust network access helps you handle unrecognized traffic and enforce advanced security mechanisms to avoid intrusions.

    ZTA enables you to monitor the security of your IoT devices and manage device access, bandwidth usage, and the type of information that should be available to a particular user.

    Benefits of Zero-Trust Architecture

    ”Benefits of Zero-Trust Architecture

    1. Continuous Compliance: Zero trust architecture supports continuous compliance, evaluates access requests, and tracks their time and location. This creates a chain of evidence that reduces the time and effort to comply with regular audits.

    2. Simplifies IT Management: Zero trust is based on continuous monitoring and analytics, therefore, you can leverage automation to identify access requests. Privileged Access Management (PAM) can verify the risk level of such requests before granting access.

    3. Improves Data Protection: Zero standing privilege framework combined with just-in-time security access restricts malware from getting access to your network. A zero-trust network is designed to limit what a user can access and for how long. Limited, time-bound access to different users can go a long way in reducing the impact of breaches.

    4. Streamlines User Access: The use of VPN rapidly increased in recent years, which led to configuration errors and security failures. This also created workflow chokepoints and performance issues when employees used VPNs to access required resources. The zero-trust framework ensures users have access to essential information, without needing approval from administrators.

    Implementing Zero-Trust Architecture

    ”How to implement zero-trust architecture

    1. Identify the Protect Surface: Zero trust architecture helps you identify your key assets and segment them within a small protected area with strong authentication access rules and controls.

    2. Map the Traffic Flow: Traffic movement across a network determines how it should be protected. So, you need to know the context of the interdependencies of your DAAS. To enforce controls effectively, you can document how different resources interact. This will help you learn the transaction flows and protect your business data.

    3. Design a Zero Trust Network: To create your zero trust architecture, you can start with a next-generation firewall that acts as a segmentation gateway and creates a microperimeter around your protect surface. You can also extend your layers of inspection and access control to Layer 7 to verify anything asking for access to resources within the protect surface.

    4. Outline the Zero Trust Policy: Ensure that you define the legitimacy of the resources that should have access to your protect surface. You need to identify:

    a. Who should be allowed to access a resource?
    b. Which application is being used to access a resource?
    c. Which resource is being accessed at what time?
    d. What is the packet destination?
    e. Why is a particular packet trying to access a resource within the protect surface?

    5. Monitor & Maintain Controls: At this stage, you need to focus on the operational aspects of zero trust and review all the internal and external logs. Zero trust is an iterative process, therefore, inspecting and logging all traffic will help you get insights into how to improve your business network and make it safe.

    The Bottom Line

    Zero trust network is a modern-age solution that helps businesses implement new technologies and policies that enhance business security, support agility, build resilience, and enhance productivity.

    Evaluate the security of your business website with a cybersecurity audit and implement zero trust network access to create a secure business environment.

    If you’d like to know more about our cyber security services, drop us a line at [email protected] and we’ll take it from there.

    [i]Cybercrime Costs