Zero trust security is an approach that assumes the untrustworthiness of every user and device until proven otherwise.
This is in stark contrast to past security postures which assumed devices and users were valid and trustworthy unless proven otherwise. In the days when a network perimeter could be firmly established, this approach made sense. In an era where the perimeter has eroded to be nearly non-existent, companies require a network security approach that can be applied to every level of technology that interacts with the network.
Zero trust security requires all internal and external users and devices to be continuously authorized, authenticated, and validated to be granted access to company resources. It uses the least privilege principle, assuming that all devices and users have been interacting in a hostile environment: the public internet. The environment can’t be trusted, so it requires controls to offer companies some level of protection.
The approach mitigates risks by reducing the areas of the environment that are vulnerable. Even if a malicious actor were able to gain access to the network, zero trust security models require the actor to be re-validated at multiple entry points, limiting their potential for damage.
In an increasingly complex cyber security landscape, a company could be a primary target, part of a multi-target attack, or even collateral damage, but the ability to be resilient is significantly improved with zero trust security policies and controls. Most companies have the tools and resources in place to begin implementing zero trust security into their strategies, realizing quick wins that eliminate areas of risk.
It’s also important to create a comprehensive strategy, one that includes buy-in across the organization. A shared vision eliminates challenges resulting from duplicative capabilities, such as delayed project timelines and increased costs. It should be approached as a journey, not a destination, because it’s not a technology to purchase but a philosophy that guides policy. Every organization will have a unique approach, but here are the steps to building a strategy:
Define the Risk
The first step is determining the attack surface, with a full understanding of network resources and the interconnectedness of those solutions to create an effective protection strategy.
Segment the Network
Look at the network’s business functions and prioritized traffic, determining how to isolate critical functions and which lateral movements could be eliminated during a threat.
Apply management policies for access control for each network segment.
Implement Zero Trust Practices
Specific policies like multi-factor authentication, role-based resource access and monitoring can be used in combination to mitigate risk in a zero trust approach.
Build Detection and Response
Zero trust security is a way to mitigate risk, but companies are increasingly embracing a resilience model over the idea of eliminating risk. There will always be attacks, so your plan should include a well-defined strategy for responding to breaches.
Implementing a zero trust security strategy is different for every company. Contact us at Independent Connections for guidance in choosing the right combination of policies and solutions to improve network security and mitigate the threat of a breach.