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The Ultimate Guide to Zero Trust Security

October 26, 2022 by
The Ultimate Guide to Zero Trust Security
Reza Abdolee

With businesses embracing digital transformation, cloud applications, and remote work environments, enterprise networks have become more complicated and dispersed due to an ever-growing number of edges. The traditional perimeter-based approach to security is no longer sufficient in today's environment, as more devices and people connect to the enterprise network from different places. Protecting the corporate network from the unsecured internet has become crucial.

Organizations need to implement a "never trust, always verify" zero-trust security model to protect this increasingly sophisticated and expanded attack surface. This security model helps organizations integrate robust access controls across distributed networks to protect users, applications, endpoints, and infrastructure. 

This article will explore the need for a zero-trust security model, its benefits, and how organizations can implement zero trust.

The Modern Threat Landscape

Today, applications and data are distributed across several networks and away from corporate data centers, providing users greater access to corporate resources using many endpoints from multiple locations. Moreover, the increase in IoT devices and BYOD initiatives have resulted in a proliferation of network endpoint devices. 

Traditional security models work by assuming anything inside the enterprise network is trusted. However, they are no longer sufficient in this increasingly sophisticated attack surface. As companies embrace digital transformation to benefit from multi-cloud architectures, remote workers, and digital innovation, they need to change their approach to security. 

Understanding the Need for Zero Trust

Threat actors take advantage of the expanding attack surface and network perimeter to bypass traditional access controls. As mentioned earlier, the modern threat landscape has become complicated, and the traditional approach to security and access controls is insufficient to address sophisticated vulnerabilities in our network. Therefore, a zero-trust approach can help overcome such challenges. Before discussing the benefits of zero trust, let’s explore the limitations of traditional access controls. 

Realizing the Limitations of Traditional Access Control

Traditional access controls strategies are inherently based on trusting users and network devices. However, securing network resources becomes challenging as the network perimeter continues to disappear. Today, users access the corporate network from home offices and mobile devices. 

Organizations need a solution to overcome the restrictions of traditional access controls. A solution that provides:

  • Granular segmentation of the network
  • Ongoing verifications of users and devices
  • Least-privilege access for users and devices

A zero-trust model challenges the traditional perimeter security in which a firewall protects the corporate network. Organizations today understand the need for a robust security model built on a zero-trust approach. 

Gartner states, "60% of organizations will embrace the Zero Trust approach as a starting point for security by 2025." 

Benefits of Zero Trust Security for Businesses

A zero-trust approach can bring several benefits to enterprises. Some of its benefits include. 

  • Greater visibility across the enterprise network
  • Simplified IT management
  • Improved data protection
  • Reduced risks of security incidents
  • Secured remote workforce
  • Enhanced continuous compliance

Principles of the Zero Trust Model

The zero trust model is based on the principles of continuous verification and automating context collection and response according to the NIST guidelines. The main principles behind the zero-trust approach are given below. 

Continuous Verification and Validation 

The first principle in zero trust is continuous verification since it assumes the network is always hostile. It works on the principle that no users and devices should inherently be trusted, as there may be attackers within and outside the network. This approach enables continuous monitoring and validation to verify user identity and device security. 

Least Privilege

Last privilege access is not a term solely related to the zero trust model. However, zero trust encourages least-privilege access within enterprise networks. It allows limited access to users on a need-to-know basis. This approach toward security reduces users' exposure to sensitive data and parts of the network. 

Microsegmentation

Microsegmentation refers to the division of large enterprise networks into small zones to maintain their security and access to separate parts of the network. Zero Trust utilizes micro-segmentation or granular segmentation of the enterprise network to limit the impact of a breach and establish more control points.

Preventing Lateral Movement

Granular network segmentation helps prevent malicious lateral movement within the enterprise network. Also, this helps detect the attacker's presence in the network so that compromised devices or accounts can be quarantined from further access. 

Device Access Controls 

In addition to user access controls, strict device access controls are required by a zero-trust approach. Zero trust systems help monitor the number of devices accessing the network, ensure they are authorized, and validate them to ensure they are secure and haven't been compromised. 

How to Establish Zero Trust in Your Organization?

A zero-trust model moves security away from inherent trust. Instead, trust is validated on a per-transaction basis. Following these strategies, organizations can incorporate a zero-trust approach into their networks.

  • Establish IAM as a Foundation for Zero Trust: The first step in zero trust access (ZTA) is to trust users with verification before granting any access. Identity and access management (IAM) is essential in ZTA to manage privileged access and role-based access controls (RBAC).
  • Leverage EDR for Zero Trust: Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is critical for an effective zero trust strategy as it helps detect endpoints' security flaws and automate the process.
  • Bring Zero Trust to Device Security: In addition to verifying the users on the network, organizations need to validate and monitor the devices on a network, such as networked office equipment, IoT devices and sensors, etc.
  • Reimagine the VPN with ZTNA: While VPNs have been an effective way to secure networks for a long time, many organizations now look for better solutions. Zero trust network access (ZTNA) can help in this regard to improve the security of the remote workforce, enable granular access, and deliver a better user experience than traditional VPNs.

Enhancing Your Cybersecurity Posture with Novesh!

With the rapid growth of the work-from-home environment, remote workers require enterprise-level network connectivity at home. However, home networks are inherently under-secured, exposing organizations to several security risks and cyber-attacks. 

Put your trust in Novesh Cybersecurity solutions and extend your network security with us. We offer IT and OT security services for a wide range of industries. Fortinet's enterprise-grade security and Checkpoint security solutions back our cybersecurity strategies to provide you with robust security. Get in touch to learn more about our services, or book a demo today.

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