What is a Zero Trust network?

The distributed nature of the modern workforce and workplace, coupled with application access from the outside of an enterprise’s network perimeter, has led to a verify-first security model. This Zero Trust access model has become the core of security transformation and dictates that no part of an enterprise is secure unless verified.

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a security model that dictates strict identity verification and authentication for anyone accessing the data and resources. This works regardless of whether the person who is trying to access is inside or outside the organizations' security perimeter.

The Zero Trust model, also known as Zero Trust security model, Zero Trust architecture (ZTA), or Zero Trust network architecture (ZTNA), was coined by Forrester Research. This Zero Trust model no longer assumes that any entity operating within the security perimeter is safe and can be automatically trusted. Any entity must be verified before granting access to any resource.

What is Zero trust
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The importance of Zero Trust

Critical applications are not only accessed via internal business premises but also remotely. It is crucial to ensure that only authorized users access critical data. Zero Trust emphasizes that organizations leverage microsegmentation and micromanagement based on users, devices, and locations to verify if they can be trusted and allowed to access.

Zero Trust provides security professionals with this level of visibility into:

  • Who accessed the data
  • From where the data was accessed
  • What applications were accessed
  • How long was it accessed

Security administrators can monitor the activities of all users, devices, and data, irrespective of whether they're internal or external.

The principles behind Zero Trust

Zero Trust security operates behind certain principles that verify and double-check who should access what.

Continuous monitoring

Zero Trust verifies user identity, privileges, device identity, security, and login. It also configures connection time-outs periodically, so that the users and devices are frequently verified.

Access control

Zero Trust regularly monitors the devices that are connected to ensure that only authorized devices are connected. This ensures that unauthorized devices have not accessed the network and that the network is safe.

Least privilege

Zero Trust provides its users with access only to those resources that they want and work with on a daily basis. This reduces their exposure to sensitive data and those that they do not require.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

MFA is the most important part of ZTA as it requires more than one piece of evidence to authenticate the user. Commonly used MFA is entering a code or accepting a push notification in addition to utilizing a password.

Microsegmentation

Microsegmentation involves categorizing the security perimeters into different segments so that separate access permissions can be maintained for each segment. This ensures that not everyone within a segment can access everything without proper authorization. It also prevents the lateral movement of attackers even if they have gained access to a network.

Implementing Zero Trust

Though there are multiple approaches to implementing ZTA for your organization, here are a few vital pointers:

Use a next-generation firewall (NGFW)

NGFWs provide network protection and can assist with microsegmentation. They also deliver breach prevention and advanced security, comprehensive network visibility, flexible management, and deployment options that help put proper ZTA standards in place.

Deploy a data loss prevention (DLP) tool

DLP tools detect and prevent data breaches, exfiltration, or unwanted destruction of sensitive data. Organizations can use DLP tools to protect personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive data by identifying security endpoints and protecting them. These tools also help detect abnormal behavior, attacks, and generate audits and reports.

Continuous monitoring

It is always important to watch what is going on in your network, including users, devices, their connections, and time of connection. Monitor your network 24x7 to understand detect intrusions and anomalous behavior.

Draft your Zero Trust policy

Understand your organizations' workflow and data flow, and draft a Zero Trust policy based on how your organization stores data. Properly segment data and restrict access so that you have control over who accesses what.

Establishing Zero Trust

Zero Trust involves multiple technologies that can authenticate users and ensure safe working. Common Zero Trust technologies include:

  • MFA
  • Identity and access management (IAM)
  • Orchestration
  • Analytics
  • Encryption
  • Scoring
  • File system permissions

Authentication based on push notifications from a mobile device is gaining popularity as it is simple and effective, especially in the case of passwordless sign-on.