NetworkSecurity

Zero Trust Principles

Zero Trust Principles: Everything you Need to Know

In recent years, the cybersecurity landscape has changed dramatically. With high-profile data breaches regularly making headlines, companies of all sizes are beginning to realize that they can no longer afford to trust traditional security models. Enter zero trust security and zero trust principles.

What Is Zero Trust Security? 

The zero trust security model is a new approach to cybersecurity that does away with the implicit trust that exists in traditional security models. Under a zero trust model, all users, devices, and applications are treated as untrusted entities—regardless of whether they’re inside or outside the corporate network.

In other words, under zero trust security services, there is no such thing as an “inside” or “outside” network. All traffic is treated equally, meaning all traffic must be authenticated and authorized before passing through the zero trust network access.

To achieve this, zero trust architecture typically uses micro-segmentation—a technique for segmenting networks into small, isolated segments (or “micro-segments”). By isolating individual systems from one another, micro-segmentation makes it much harder for attackers to take lateral movement across the network if they do manage to compromise one system.

How Does Zero Trust Security Work? 

Zero trust security strategy assumes that every user identity, device, and application is an untrusted entity, regardless of whether they’re inside or outside the corporate network. All traffic must be authenticated and authorized before it’s allowed to pass through the trust network.

To achieve this, zero trust architectures typically use micro-segmentation—a technique for segmenting networks into small, isolated segments (or “micro-segments”). By isolating individual systems from one another, micro-segmentation makes it much harder for attackers to move laterally across the trust network if they do manage to compromise one system.

Zero Trust Principles

The term “zero trust” was coined by an analyst at Forrester Research in 2010, and since then, it has become one of the hottest topics in cybersecurity. Why? Because despite all the money organizations are pouring into perimeter defense security tools like firewalls and intrusion detection systems, a data breach is still happening at an alarming rate.

So, what’s the answer if perimeter defenses aren’t enough to stop data breaches? That’s where zero trust comes in. By adopting a zero-trust security posture, organizations can improve their chances of detecting and responding to threats before they cause serious damage.

Let’s take a closer look at what security capabilities zero trust has by looking at five core principles:

Identify Users And Devices

The first principle of zero trust is establishing a baseline of what “normal” activity looks like for users and devices on your network. This includes which devices they typically use to access corporate resources, what time of day they log in, which applications they use, etc. Once you have this baseline, zero trust can more easily identify deviations from normal behavior that could indicate malicious intent. For example, if you normally see User A logging in from 9-5 on weekdays but suddenly start seeing login attempts from User A at 2 AM on a Saturday, that could be cause for concern.

Protect Sensitive Data

Zero Trust protects sensitive data with strong authentication and authorization controls. In other words, it doesn’t rely on a username and password to grant access control to corporate resources—it requires additional factors like two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA). And once users are authenticated, it carefully controls which resources they have access to with authorization policies based on their job function or other factors. For example, there’s no need for sales reps to access engineering plans or for customer service reps to access financial data.

Detect Threats

Even with strong authentication and authorization role-based access controls in place, threats can still make it through. That’s why Zero Trust security solutions continuously monitor activity on your network for suspicious behavior—things like unusual login attempts, unexpected file transfers, or unapproved changes to critical data sets. When suspicious behavior is detected, zero-trust network access quickly responds before the threat can do serious damage.

Respond Quickly 

Once a threat has been detected, zero trust solutions quickly contain it and prevent it from doing further damage. This might involve isolating infected devices from the rest of the network or shutting down access to sensitive data sets until the threat has been removed. The faster you respond to a threat, the less serious damage is possible.

Continuously Improve

The final step is continuous improvement—in other words, never stop trying to strengthen your zero trust cloud security posture. This includes regularly testing your defenses against known exploits, updating your inventory of software and hardware assets on an ongoing basis, and providing security awareness training for employees. Hence, they know how to spot and report suspicious behavior in a private network. Remember, the goal is not perfection—continual improvement to better detect and respond to threats as they arise.

Zero trust security architecture assumes that no user can be trusted implicitly—not even those who are inside the organization. By adopting a zero-trust approach, organizations can improve their chances of detecting and responding to threats before they cause serious damage with the help of security teams.

What Does The Zero Trust Model Say?

The Zero Trust Model, also known as the “never trust, always verify” model, is a security framework that limits access to network resources and data. It emphasizes the assumption that all users, devices, and resources are potential threats and must be constantly verified before granting access. The model considers every interaction a separate transaction and requires strict verification processes for each one rather than relying on blanket permissions based on user or device identity.

This approach helps to minimize the risk of insider threats and prevent unauthorized outsiders from gaining access to networks and sensitive information. In addition to verifying users and devices, the Zero Trust architecture also recommends using encryption for all network transmissions, ensuring extra protection even if an attacker manages to breach a system. Organizations can better protect their networks and data from unauthorized access by taking a proactive approach to security with the Zero Trust Model.

What Are The Three Pillars Of Zero Trust? 

Zero trust architecture is an information security strategy in which organizations do not automatically trust anything inside or outside their perimeters. They must verify anything and everything trying to connect to their systems before granting access. The three pillars of zero trust are data security, visibility and analytics, and identity security.

Pillar 1: Data Security 

Data security is the foundation of zero trust. To implement a zero-trust security strategy, businesses must first secure their data. This can be done through data encryption, data masking, and tokenization. Data encryption ensures that data is unreadable unless accessed with a key, making it more difficult for hackers to steal sensitive information.

Data masking replaces sensitive data with fake data, making it useless to attackers even if they can access it. Tokenization replaces sensitive data with random characters, making it impossible to decipher without the proper key. By encrypting, masking, and tokenizing data, businesses can ensure that their sensitive information is secure, even if it falls into the wrong hands.

Pillar 2: Visibility And Analytics 

The second pillar of the zero trust strategy is visibility and analytics. To properly secure data, businesses need to see where their data is and who is accessing it. Visibility and analytics allow companies to see what information is accessed and by whom. This will enable businesses to quickly identify any suspicious activity so that they can take action to prevent an attack on a user account before it happens.

Pillar 3: Identity Security 

The third pillar of zero trust is identity security. A business needs to ensure that only authorized users have access to secure its data properly. Identity security ensures that only authenticated users can access policies by verifying their identities before granting access. This prevents unauthorized users from gaining access requests to sensitive information.

Why Use A Zero Trust Architecture?

The traditional method of network security, known as the “castle and moat” approach, relies on a network perimeter to keep out unauthorized users. However, this model is becoming less effective with the rise of remote work and increased data breaches. This is where zero trust security policies come in.

A zero trust security strategy assumes that no user or device can be trusted until they are verified and has multiple layers of safeguards in place throughout the entire network. This makes it harder for unauthorized users to access sensitive information and helps protect against insider threats.

Organizations across all industries, from financial institutions to healthcare providers, can benefit from implementing zero trust systems. It’s important to note that simply implementing a zero trust security strategy doesn’t guarantee complete security; regular auditing and updates are necessary to maintain an effective defense against cyberattacks. Ultimately, using a security strategy based, zero trust model can provide greater peace of mind and help protect an organization’s valuable data.

Zero Trust Security: Why You Can’t Afford To Ignore It Any Longer

In recent years, the Zero Trust security model has gained much traction as an effective way to protect data and networks. Unlike the traditional security perimeter model, which relies on a single, centralized firewall to keep intruders out, the Zero Trust model assumes that all users and devices are potential threats and requires strong identity verification and continuous monitoring for abnormal behavior.

While the traditional security perimeter model is still common, keeping your data safe is no longer enough. The rise of BYOD (bring your own device) policies and the increasing use of cloud-based applications have created too many weak points for a single firewall to protect.

The Zero Trust security model addresses these weaknesses by using micro-segmentation to break up sensitive data into small pieces spread across multiple control points. Least privilege controls ensure that only authorized users have access to specific data sets, and behavioral analysis helps identify unusual activity that could be indicative of a breach.

All of these factors combine to make the Zero Trust security model one of the most effective ways to protect your data in today’s increasingly connected world. Now is the start if you’re not already using Zero Trust security. Your business depends on it.

Conclusion

In today’s increasingly complex and dangerous cybersecurity landscape, organizations can no longer afford to put their trust in traditional security models. Zero trust security is a new approach that does away with the implicit belief that exists in conventional models. Instead, it treats all users, devices, and applications as untrusted entities, whether inside or outside the corporate network. Although Implementing a zero trust strategy can be challenging, keeping pace with the evolving threat landscape is becoming increasingly necessary.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.

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