The Zero Trust model is built around never trust; always verify. Continuously re-verifying users and devices ensure they have the correct security posture to access applications.
It also limits their “blast radius” should a breach occur. This helps reduce the cost of implementing and managing appliances.
Today’s organizations operate in a complex, distributed ecosystem. From remote workers to cloud-based applications, it takes a lot of work to correlate real-time security context across many different areas of an organization. That’s why cybersecurity teams need a solution that offers strong authentication and validation for all users, devices, data and systems.
Zero Trust assumes nothing on a network is trusted by default. It requires all traffic to be authenticated and authorized per session with policies that evaluate and grant access using granular context such as identity, device, location, type of content and more. This provides constant, adaptive protection that isn’t dependent on network constructs such as IP addresses or ports.
Zero trust networking supports the least privilege principle for user and service accounts. It ensures that credentials only get the permissions needed to complete a task, which helps reduce common threats such as password recycling and sharing. It also eliminates the need for a VPN and allows employees to securely connect to their applications from anywhere, including on BYOD devices. The result is a more secure, efficient and safer organization.
Zero Trust can be a labor-intensive process for IT teams who need to assess users, devices, and networks. It also requires a thorough understanding of the business and its employees. The goal is to build a model that can automate as many security processes as possible while reducing the required human resources.
Implementing Zero Trust can help improve the remote worker experience by securely making it fast and easy to access applications and data. This can benefit organizations with distributed workforces or who rely heavily on working from home.
It can also reduce the time it takes to gain access to data and the number of steps required for logins. For example, removing the need to use separate passwords for each application and replacing them with simpler multi-factor authentication (MFA) is faster and less cumbersome for users. It can also significantly reduce the threat surface by enforcing the principle of least privilege. This ensures that non-human accounts like service accounts are only granted the minimum permission to do their job.
Zero Trust requires a new way of architecting your cybersecurity. It’s based on “never trust, always verify” and continuously authenticates users, devices and applications with continuous validation and enforcement of security policies based on identity and context clues (such as device location, data source or user or network connection time).
This requires micro-segmentation, a secure gateway, IAM and MFA systems, privileged access management, an IPS/IDS system, and granular application access control. It also requires a flexible software solution that will adapt to your infrastructure and address your unique business requirements.
Zero Trust can be a disruptive technology for your business and workforce, so getting stakeholder buy-in early is important. Start by socializing key benefits, including reducing risk and cost, and pointing out specific use cases. This will help your teams understand how the technology can make a real difference for them and the business and drive their enthusiasm to support the implementation process. By understanding their concerns, you can develop a mutual delivery plan that paints a clear picture of what is required to achieve full zero-trust implementation.
Zero Trust prioritizes security by locking down access until a user is verified. However, this can hinder productivity and cause workflow roadblocks if managed incorrectly.
Organizations need a solution that supports a hybrid and remote workforce without disrupting performance. ZTNA solves this challenge by implementing a granular, adaptive, and context-aware set of policies to secure applications without requiring users to log into a central VPN or bypass traditional firewall access rules.
To deploy Zero Trust Network Access, organizations can choose from three different on-ramp options:
Agent-based: This approach requires the installation of an agent to each endpoint device to perform security functions. This can be effective if the company wants to protect against unmanaged devices or mobile apps.
Service-based: This option leverages a cloud service or Secure SD-WAN to provide the same functionality as an agent but without needing an agent on every endpoint. This is ideal for enterprises with existing network-based controls that want to upgrade to a Zero Trust model.
A Zero Trust architecture also provides visibility into the network’s activity, which can help detect suspicious activity and flag anomalies. This allows the company to avoid a costly cyberattack by reducing its exposure to malicious insiders and compromised accounts that can gain wide-reaching access.
Traditionally, networks allow direct access to various data assets, servers, and applications. Zero Trust architecture removes that direct access, requiring all traffic to pass through a tightly controlled gateway and authenticating users at the application entry point. This allows administrators to limit access to specific workloads and servers based on the needs of the user, device, or service. This also makes it easier to monitor and protect the flow of information between those servers and applications.
Zero Trust also allows you to build dynamic adaptive security closed loop with strong risk-coping abilities by establishing user, device, and service trust levels in your policy engine. This visibility helps flag any malicious activities on your network and minimizes the impact of a breach.
While implementing Zero Trust may seem daunting and cost-prohibitive, it doesn’t have to be. The right ZTNA solution can help you adopt this security framework while leveraging your existing infrastructure. Learn how a Zero Trust architecture with a centralized security control plane with identity management, access management, granular visibility, and monitoring from StrongDM can simplify your approach to cybersecurity and reduce costs.