Trust is the glue that holds businesses together, the key to forging strong partnerships, and the biggest security threat to your organization.
Oddly enough, when it comes to IT infrastructure, reducing trust in your network may be essential to maintaining trust in your business. Zero Trust Architecture is an alternative security model created when organizations began exposing their data to the World Wide Web. They could no longer control what all devices connect to their applications, so Zero Trust Architecture was built to place a higher burden of trust on data traveling within the network.
Zero Trust Architecture is basically code implemented at the application level, and it makes the application “aware” of the Data, Assets, Applications, and Services (DAAS) that interact with it. When you sign on to your work email from a new device, and the platform prompts you to verify your identify—that’s Zero Trust Architecture at work.
Reasons to adopt Zero Trust
With the Internet of Things and machine learning on the rise, businesses require ever more resilient cybersecurity strategies to avoid costly data leaks and regulatory fines. Considering 84% of CISOs believe cybersecurity breaches are inevitable, Zero Trust Architecture can help you gain peace of mind in the strength of your security practices (StreetInsider.com).
Moreover, with Zero Trust Architecture, businesses can enjoy a smarter, more powerful, and cost-effective data security strategy due to greater operational efficiencies. And as you move to the public cloud, you can take Zero Trust Architecture with you by inserting a Virtual Segmentation Gateway into the virtualization stack of the public cloud service.
Four Key Elements of Zero Trust Architecture
1. Ensure all data and resources are accessed securely, based on user and location.
Identify traffic and data that map to actual business flows and establish visibility into the applications that drive these communications. Your IT needs to know who every user is, what applications they’re using, and the best way to connect those apps to the network so that you can enforce security policy effectively and secure access to your data.
2. Adopt a least-privileged access strategy and strictly enforce access control.
Reduce the number of pathways for attackers and malware to latch onto your devices and applications. By assuming devices aren’t trustworthy, you’ll be able to stop dormant hackers from consistently accessing information under the radar.
3. “Always verify,” meaning inspect and log all traffic.
When the police suspect a criminal is driving through their city, they set up checkpoints on major roads to assess every motorist they possibly can. Just so, build “inspection points” into popular junctions to catch in-network attackers as they navigate your systems. Create security rules that can be used to identify, allow, or deny traffic that moves through these junctions. This can help you form trust boundaries and prevent the exfiltration of highly sensitive data.
4. Add more authentication methods to counter credential based attacks.
Your COO may want privileged access to certain data streams, but what happens if they leave their phone at the gym, or someone steals their laptop at the airport. Never assume that access from a device means access from that device’s owner. Adding more user-authentication gateways can help you identify bad actors before they gain access to your network.
In Part 2 of this blog, we’ll dive deeper into the technologies and principles behind Zero Trust Architecture. But the first step is to limit the trust you have in your own network. It may seem counterintuitive, but Zero Trust may be the only way to have confidence in your security.