An Introduction to Zero Trust Security

The perfect storm of digital transformation, cloud adoption, and remote working has shattered the legacy architecture of a perimeter-based security approach.

Data, users, and devices have been pushed outside of the secure corporate network via cloud computing. In this new environment, organisations must respond with appropriate security measures to eliminate risks.

The solution to this problem is Zero Trust security.

Zero Trust offers remote access to an organisation’s network without jeopardising compliance with ever-changing privacy rules. It’s critical in today’s age of work-from-anywhere opportunities.

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a security concept built on the principle that organisations should not trust anything inside or outside their perimeters and should instead check anything attempting to connect to their systems before providing access. Zero Trust presupposes that there is no typical network edge; networks can be local, cloud-based, or a blend of the two, with resources and workers located anywhere.

For today’s modern digital transformation, Zero Trust is a framework for safeguarding infrastructure and data. It is the only product of its kind to meet today’s corporate concerns, such as securing remote workers, hybrid cloud settings, and ransomware attacks. While many companies have attempted to define Zero Trust on their own, there are a variety of standards from reputable organisations that can assist you in aligning Zero Trust with your business.

A widespread misunderstanding is that going zero trust means you may remove your remote access VPN from the network while remaining secure. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite that simple. You may be able to provide access to your services just as securely as if you were using your VPN if you have sufficient safeguards in place and are confident in the identities of the user and device using your service. However, you must first evaluate other security features provided by the VPN that you may not have access to without it, such as the ability to operate remotely with outdated systems.

The Zero Trust Model’s Foundations

Zero Trust is a three-principle-based integrated end-to-end security strategy.

Never trust, always verify – Always authenticate and authorise based on all accessible data points, such as the user’s identity, location, device, data sources, service, or workload. There are no trusted zones, devices, or users if continuous verification is used. Zero Trust, on the other hand, views everyone and everything as a possible threat.

Assume breach – If you assume your defences have already been breached, you can take a stronger security posture against potential threats, reducing the damage if a breach occurs. By segmenting access and decreasing your attack surface, confirming end-to-end encryption, and monitoring your network in real time, you may reduce the “blast radius”—the extent and reach of possible damage caused by a breach.

Apply least-privileged access—Zero Trust adheres to the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP), which is the practice of restricting an entity’s access rights to only those that are required to accomplish its purpose. PoLP, in other words, prohibits users, accounts, computing processes, and other objects from having unnecessarily broad network access, leaving your network susceptible and increasing the attack surface in the event of a breach.

  • Never trust, always verify – Always authenticate and authorise based on all accessible data points, such as the user’s identity, location, device, data sources, service, or workload. There are no trusted zones, devices, or users if continuous verification is used. Zero Trust, on the other hand, views everyone and everything as a possible threat.
  • Assume breach – If you assume your defences have already been breached, you can take a stronger security posture against potential threats, reducing the damage if a breach occurs. By segmenting access and decreasing your attack surface, confirming end-to-end encryption, and monitoring your network in real time, you may reduce the “blast radius”—the extent and reach of possible damage caused by a breach.
  • Apply least-privileged access—Zero Trust adheres to the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP), which is the practice of restricting an entity’s access rights to only those that are required to accomplish its purpose. PoLP, in other words, prohibits users, accounts, computing processes, and other objects from having unnecessarily broad network access, leaving your network susceptible and increasing the attack surface in the event of a breach.

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Steve Byrom
Steve Byrom
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