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Given the ease with which networks become compromised in today’s work-from-anywhere environments, it is no longer an option to simply define network perimeters with lone firewall implementations. Modern-day architectures must focus on applying access control through the principle of least privilege. This is where the Zero Trust security model comes into play. Zero Trust utilizes the principle of least privilege to ensure that access is given based on the unique functions of an individual’s role in a system. The NIST 800-207 defined the goal of a zero trust environment as “Preventing unauthorized access to data and services coupled with making the access control enforcement as granular as possible.”
Zero Trust aims to focus on the cruces of the previous defense-in-depth trusted environment implementations. Many institutions and organizations have begun implementing Zero Trust security, most notably, the Federal Government. The White House’s fact sheet states, “Outdated security models and unencrypted data have led to compromises of systems in the public and private sectors. The Federal government must lead the way and increase its adoption of security best practices, including by employing a Zero Trust security model, accelerating movement to secure cloud services, and consistently deploying foundational security tools such as multi factor authentication and encryption.”
How to Build and Deploy a Zero Trust Policy
Credit goes to John Kindervag, the creator of Zero Trust, with the process defined in his five-step methodology.
The Zero Trust model is the only way to protect your critical assets. That’s why SessionGuardian takes a preemptive, zero-trust approach to cybersecurity. Read more about our approach in our recent blog post: What is Virtualization Security in an Unmanaged Environment.
Benefit One: Less network overhead
Zero Trust reduces the overhead of extending the corporate network out to hybrid workforces. “Work from Anywhere” continues to increase and balloon security concerns for company leadership and IT managers. A hybrid workforce security solution should clearly define more than the perimeter of a network. The Zero Trust security model articulates clear benefits over other possible solutions, such as a software-defined perimeter (SDP) or virtual private network (VPN).
Both software-defined perimeters and virtual private networks provide protection against network-based attacks. However, the VPN encrypts the work-from-anywhere employee to the company but then the company network must have other controls in place on-premise. The SDP, on the other hand, limits access to a certain degree, but beyond that perimeter, any authorized traffic may or may not have access depending on the access controls in place.
These solutions are practical and effective when deployed in the correct scenario as some small businesses may lack the time commitment or spending power to execute a zero trust security model.
Benefit Two: Better management and user experience
The pain of remembering countless passwords or performing a self-service password reset (SSPR) daily creates a point of emphasis to eliminate undue burdens on customers and employees. Likewise, system administrators spend less time performing hard resets on individual accounts.
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a critical component of understanding Single-sign on (SSO). SSO not only allows management to assign users to security groups and perform automation or large operations in a single instance but users themselves are also granted the accessibility they seek. The reduced administrative time and costs become realized in the form of other business benefits or higher profit. The authentication method for SSO can be made very strong through multi-factor authentication (MFA). Time-based One-Time Passwords (TOTP), personal USB keys, and mobile devices have increased the level of simplicity in the authentication process.
Benefit Three: Enhanced logging and monitoring
When the assumption is the network is already compromised, the zero trust security model restricts access to all who attempt to access resources. This model encompasses the allowlist access-only approach and denies all others. ZDNet points out that zero trust enhances “Your logging capability to include events from user devices and services gives you a much richer picture of what's happening in your environment, allowing you to detect compromises with more accuracy.” The kind of events monitored at first may be baseline failed MFA requests and geolocation hits outside of the known areas.
After an initial rollout, monitoring can be developed to further investigate user workflow interactions to identify anomalous behavior. Finally, assessment of these policies evaluates to even further developed policy and granularity in the scope of the zero trust policy.
SessionGuardian believes in the power of zero trust through continuous identity verification. To demo our software, get in touch with us today. Schedule a demo.