A Deep Dive into Zero Trust Security

Why implement zero trust security?

With today’s workforce becoming progressively agile, gaining access to scattered apps from a multitude of remote devices from anywhere globally, there has been an acute need to protect the data, apps, users, and devices. As remote working has become mainstream, there is more load on the Cloud, and consequently, there is increased potential risk for security breaches. The Zero Trust Security model is a strategic idea and principle that helps firms stop data breaches and protect their assets, urging them to trust no entity within the organization before verifying, as threats can come from external users and internal ones. The cloud service provider is responsible for the platform’s security, but the onus lies on the customer to secure the data they store. AI/ML, blockchain, DevOps, and other emerging technologies require companies to consider their digital environment’s veritable security. For a business, it is imperative that employees securely access enterprise apps deployed behind the firewall. Other entities that will access the apps include vendors, contractors, associates, customers, and developers. Whether these apps are hosted in a public cloud or a private data center, this is a complex, unwieldy task that requires on-premise-hardware and software, including Application Delivery Controllers, VPNs, Identity, and Access Management (IAM) systems. Despite these technologies, an enterprise is subjected to many security threats caused by access to internal apps that expose the entire network to detrimental attacks. To offset these challenges, more and more enterprises are shifting to zero trust security.

The nuts and bolts of zero trust security

The Zero Trust Security model assumes zero trusts. Every request is thoroughly authenticated, authorized, and encrypted before granting access. Also, as cyber criminals can manage to compromise any of the assets, it is easy to breach the organization’s network. The attacks are more sophisticated by blatant poachers such as cyber criminals and bad actors. Once hackers cross the corporate firewall, it is easy for them to navigate without much resistance.

The zero-trust security concept relies on existing tech and govt. processes such as micro-segmentation and granular perimeter reinforcement to trust a user, a machine, or an application seeking access to critical data. To ensure high security, various systems and methodologies are incorporated, including: (ref. image)

The nuts and bolts of zero trust security

Common IT challenges to implementing the zero trust security model

Once you are acquainted with the zero-trust network, the pros, and cons, the subsequent move in the journey is to absorb some of the challenges you may have to overcome in implementing and adopting the zero-trust security system. You, along with the security team, must understand the importance of implementing policy as a code, and evaluate the policies and the complete degree of change involved in advancing from the traditional model that covers only the security boundaries to a comprehensive zero trust security model.

Network security can be demanding in this era of mobility, IoT, and Work From Home (WFH) settings. The challenges to implementing Zero Trust include technical debt, influence on legacy systems, and conventional development of peer-to-peer & distributed systems. The other common IT challenges include network trust & malware, secure application access, complexity, and IT resources. The best security strategy is moving to a least-privilege app access model, where access is given only to those needed to perform a task.

Ways to implement zero trust security

Assimilating zero trust security theoretically can be easy, but implementing it can be an arduous task. Zero trust security was first implemented over a decade ago. However, many enterprises are still ambivalent about implementing it in their organizations, despite the widespread popularity of the model. Complex IT environments, legacy systems should be embraced in a multi-phased manner. Build zero trust by design and not retrofit it. Here are the steps involved in implementing it:

  • Efficiently deploy micro-segmentation: Micro-segmentation is a process of disintegrating security perimeters into smaller zones to ensure that dedicated access is given to each part of the network.
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication: Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a smart approach to achieving high network security. It is considered as the guiding principle of zero-trust security. MFA involves three factors, namely, the knowledge factor, the possession factor, and the inference factor.
  • Incorporate PoLP (Principle of Least Privilege) or limited user access: PoLP restricts access to users with only adequate permission to those files required to perform the accorded task. They can read, write, and execute these files. Also, the PoLP access can be applied to limiting access to apps, systems, processes, and devices to only those permissions necessary to carry out the task.
  • Verify all the devices located at the endpoints on a network: While hackers can be deliberately notorious, systems and devices are prone to fallibility. So, both have to be verified. Each device accessing corporate resources must be enrolled and verified before giving access to the data.

Transiting to zero transit security model

The quest for the zero-trust security model is just an email or a phone call away. Trigent enforces stringent security policies and assists with any possible security anomalies or incidents. Trigent’s Security Solutions team assesses your company’s IT vulnerability and builds a zero-trust security model, whether it’s an existing IT environment or a transition from a legacy system, or replacing VPN with ZT Remote Access. Our security services include operational management, security incident management, compliance management, audit support, solution analysis, information security advice & guidance, system assurance, and global information security coordination.

Reach out to us to know which zero trust security technologies can most suitably guide your security transformation.