Zero Trust – What Is It and Should You Care?
Zero Trust is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Zero Trust is a security framework that at a macro level is as simple as the name suggests; you “never trust, always verify” – meaning no user or application is trusted by default. Identity must be verified continuously for access to any of an organization’s assets. What this fundamentally means is that you can’t assume that users or applications inside your network are who they say they are. This has become more relevant as the traditional network perimeter has been replaced increasingly by cloud environments and employees in work from home (WFH) environments. There are numerous ways a Zero Trust architecture can add value to an organization’s data and security infrastructure, especially considering one of its core pillars is focusing on proper policy execution and implementation.
With the rise of decentralized workforces, and less defined network perimeters, there is an evolving need to change how we think about defense in depth. No longer is it sufficient to think about firewalls, and DMZs, and that’s where trust-based security comes into play. Identity, and its continuous verification become the new perimeter. In an ideal environment, even if an attacker is able to breach the network, they should find themselves relatively limited in their access as each account, application, and user require continuous verification. If a remote worker’s account is compromised, the breach should be limited to only their account and the attacker should find limited usable data while struggling to move laterally through the network to get a more advantageous foothold. A similar result can be achieved through operational excellence in implementing least privilege and user access controls. Least privilege is the concept that a user account, application, or process should only have those privileges that are essential for its intended function and nothing more. Access controls are intended to verify a user’s identity and to limit access of resources and information to only those users, applications, and processes which are authorized. While there are many tools out there that can help you achieve Zero Trust, the principles are rooted in controls you should already be practicing like the principle of least privilege and user access controls.
While some enterprise level organizations may apply complex behavioral data and analysis run through Security Information and Event Managers (SIEMs) to enhance and build out their trust-based security posture, any organization can create a reliable trust-based security posture with the right policies and buy-in. To achieve this, you’ll need to be applying the principle of least privilege, implementing access control systems, and regularly reviewing these permissions and policies. You’ll also likely need to employ a Mobile Device Management (MDM) tool to ensure that all devices are in compliance with your trust-based security posture. Failure to enforce other basic security practices such as maintaining encryption when data is at rest, could jeopardize the effectiveness of your trust-based security posture. It is always a good idea to routinely perform internal security audits to identify any additional shortcomings in your security posture and practices.
Still confused? CyberData Pros can work with your team on an internal audit and data mapping exercise to help you better understand your company’s posture. We will then classify your data and help you put together an action plan. Contact us now for a free consultation and to learn more about our services.