Zero Trust has become the main buzzword throughout the IT and cybersecurity world today due to the rise of remote work in modern businesses. The new WFH landscape offers a lot more flexibility, however, has also proven to be a significant risk to network security. Cloud-based attacks have grown 630% since the pandemic with emerging threats and more sophisticated attacks previously unseen in the traditional office perimeter security setting.
That is why the Zero Trust security model has become an integral component for any organization in ensuring that sensitive data and critical assets are protected.
Zero Trust is a security framework that eliminates implicit trust and requires that all users needing access to a network must be fully authenticated and authorized at every step. The Zero Trust security model works by continuously validating users before granting access to a network, cloud environment, or application.
The Zero Trust security model works on a basis of continuous validation before access is granted to a network, limiting the blast radius in the event of a breach. Zero Trust helps protect against lateral movement techniques and compromised credentials – which accounted for 61% of all data breaches.
The nature of a Zero Trust framework is to “never trust, always verify”. This is essential when securing remote workers and third parties that require access to the corporate network. Traditional security measures such as a hardware-based firewall or VPN must be manually configured and cannot scale beyond its limits. And that is just part of the problem.
Traditional security measures also assume that once someone has been granted access to a network, they are free to roam the network unrestricted and leave your critical assets in a vulnerable position. Zero Trust eliminated this model and works with a more granular approach, authorizing users in a network into a single application, data file, or system at a time and continually running authorization checks to ensure that the user has clearance.
How the Zero Trust Security Model Works
The Zero Trust security model works by enforcing a set of granular security controls and company policies centered around granting least privileged access, especially in a time when workers can access resources from a cafe or the comfort of their living rooms. Zero Trust prevents eavesdropping from malicious actors, more commonly referred to as man-in-the-middle attacks.
Once the network has been categorized according to priority, the next step is to identify the users, applications, and infrastructure of that system. This process is known as network segmentation. The users in a network have to be categorized according to their access levels to various company resources. Network micro-segmentation restricts access to all applications and devices. This process can prevent lateral movement techniques where passwords or credentials have been compromised, leading to a massive security breach.
Zero trust systems make use of advanced security technology such as identity protection, multi-factor authentication, and endpoint security. What sets the Zero Trust framework apart is that the verification takes place at every point of access requested by a user.
The Benefits of Zero Trust
With the rise of remote work among employees, it is essential that new security models such as Zero Trust must be adopted. Having a hybrid work model can present major security challenges for any IT department. This is why the Zero Trust security model is now being widely adopted by companies that hire remotely. Some of the benefits of Zero Trust over traditional security measures such as legacy VPNs include:
Advanced User Authentication
The Zero Trust framework makes it much more difficult for attackers to access the network because they will need to be authorized, typically in the form of a Multi-factor authentication (MFA) security process. In past situations, attackers could access an entire network through a single endpoint. Zero Trust eliminates that risk.
Improved Network Security
Before a Zero Trust framework can be set up, a detailed inventory of all applications, data flows, and users, within a network must be obtained. Administrators are then able to get an accurate and detailed rundown of every area or grid of their corporate network – which allows for easier management and a safer workplace, ultimately improving performance as tighter security controls are set in place.
Better Enforcement of Company Policies
Zero Trust creates a tight-knit system through universal policies that are created and implemented throughout the organization’s network. Access is now given on a “need to know” basis by predefined user roles and assigned permissions. Admins can block or allow access to an application based on rules. For example, an operations manager may have access to certain financial documents, but company forecast sheets might be restricted.
Companies across all industries and verticals must consider adapting to Zero Trust principles or risk leaving their security light years behind. Perimeter 81 specializes in securing remote access with an award-winning Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution that integrates with major Identity Providers (IdPs) such as Okta and can be deployed instantly across your organization. Gain full network visibility and lower your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) with Perimeter 81’s ZTNA.
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