Zero Trust Security – What You Need to Know?

Zero Trust Security

Zero Trust Security – What You Need to Know?

One of the important responsibilities of an enterprise or an organisation is to provide secure access to its applications and internal network for entities outside of the organisation’s firewall.

When enabling access, the company must consider the premise that there are contractors, partners, suppliers, and customers to whom access needs to be granted.

This premise is a critical and risky proposition and may lead to a compromised network or cyber-attacks if access is not configured correctly.

There are sophisticated security systems like Application Delivery Controllers (ADC), Virtual Private Network (VPN), and Identity Access Management (IAM) to control access.

Yet, these systems are incapacitated or rendered useless when an access breach opens the entire network for an attack. To counter these challenges, companies have started to rely on Zero Trust Security.

What is Zero Trust Security?

Zero Trust is an IT security model or a security framework that requires strict identity verification, authentication, and continuous validation for security configuration before an entity is granted access to applications and data regardless of its location, be it within or outside the network perimeter.

Zero Trust adapts a holistic approach and incorporates several different technologies and principles rather than a single security principle.

The Zero Trust principle assumes that there is a risk of breach with each access and that firewall is not always safe.

Zero Trust teaches us that as a company, we should never blindly trust and always verify.

Read Also: How Much Does a Penetration Testing Service Cost?

How to Implement Zero Trust?

How to Implement Zero Trust?
How to Implement Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is basically an augmentation of the company’s existing security infrastructure and architecture and does not require a complete technological rebuild.

In fact, Zero Trust can be deployed or used iteratively with the existing security infrastructure. Here is a five-step methodology to implement Zero Trust Security.

Define protect surface

The threat landscape is constantly evolving, and malicious actors are finding new ways to break through the ever-expanding attack surface. Hence, constantly protecting the attack surface is not a viable option.

In Zero Trust, the focus is on the protected surface which includes key components like Data, Applications Assets, and Services (DAAS). The protect surface allows the company to have a micro perimeter for the attacks, which can be dealt with much more effectively as compared to an attack surface which gauges attacks on a macro level.

Map the Transaction Flows

The data flow or the traffic flow across a network determines how it should be protected. The company should document how specific resources interact and the interdependencies of the DAAS.

Monitoring the data flow and keeping an eye on DAAS components ensures that the data is well protected.

Read Also: Guide to Penetration Testing

Architect a Zero Trust Network

Since the Zero Trust network can be iteratively deployed with the existing systems and adopts a holistic approach, it can be customised and structured around the protect surface.

Once the protect surface is defined and the transactional flows mapped, you can build a Zero Trust architecture starting with next-gen firewall.

The next-gen firewall creates a micro perimeter around the protect surface and acts as a gateway for information flow. With Zero Trust Architecture, you can add additional layers of inspection and access control.

Create a Zero Trust Policy

Using the Kipling method create a Zero Trust policy documenting which resources should have access to others. The following questions should be stated and answered using Kipling’s method:

  • Who should be accessing a resource?
  • What application is being used to access a resource inside the protected surface?
  • When is the resource being accessed?
  • Where is the packet destination?
  • Why is this packet trying to access this resource within the protect surface?
  • How is the packet accessing the protected surface via a specific application?

Enable Real-time Monitoring

To improve breakout time (that is, when the intruder breaks into the system, compromises it, and then laterally moves to other systems), companies should enable real-time monitoring.

Real-time monitoring enables the information security team to detect an intrusion faster, investigate and remediate the intrusion, and prevent further instances. 

Zero Trust Security Framework

The Zero Trust security framework consists of the following methods.

Utilisation of Micro-segmentation

Micro-segmentation is a process wherein a company segments the internal network into small security perimeters or small zones to deal with attacks and breaches at a micro-level.

Having smaller segments of the network means separate access to each which in turn makes the whole network more secure.

Leveraging a Variety of Preventive Techniques

A Zero Trust model relies on a variety of preventive techniques like:

Identity Protection and Device Discovery

Credential and device protection form the crux of Zero Trust framework. Understanding how devices and credentials are configured is a great way for organisations to implement identity challenges and improve its authentication discrepancies.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA helps improve security and confirm the identity of users. As the name suggests, it uses multiple layers of validation, namely security questions pertaining to the credibility of the users. Incorporating more factors of authentication improves and strengthens the overall security system of an organisation.

Read Also: What is Multi Factor Authentication?

Implementing Principle of Least privilege (PoLP)

PoLP is a practice wherein the access rights of users are limited to a minimal. PoLP grants access or rights to users to read, write or execute only the files or resources they need to perform their tasks.

PoLP allows the least amount of privilege necessary to do their work. Additional privileges can then be added to persons that require them after validating the purpose.

Validate all Endpoint Devices

Endpoint devices are more exposed and prone to attacks. In Zero Trust security approach, along with the users, the devices too are validated.

The devices must first be enrolled into and recognised by identity-centric control tools so that they are verified. The endpoint devices seeking access should also match the standard security requirements.

Zero Trust Security Cloud Approach

Zero Trust Security Cloud Approach
Zero Trust Security Cloud Approach

Implementing Zero Trust security in the cloud establishes a secure perimeter that protects sensitive data and applications by creating a set of boundaries and enforcing access and data flow control.

Companies that are expanding their cloud computing capabilities must establish a Zero Trust security approach to have a more secured and robust system.

Following is a methodology for Zero Trust security cloud approach:

  • Document what type of data and applications the company has and where they are located. Based on the type and location define a protect surface, for e.g., for data, applications, assets, and services that are critical.
  • Map the transactional flows.
  • Create boundaries between users and applications and architect the new cloud infrastructure.
  • Develop the company’s Zero Trust policies and educate users regarding the same.
  • Continuously monitor and maintain the Zero Trust environment, that is, overlooking all traffic, investigating any unusual activity, and creating additional policies as needed to secure the infrastructure.
  • Implement the cloud platform’s security to ensure Zero Trust in the cloud.
  • Provide users with a highly secure and seamless experience of connecting to the applications they need to use irrespective of their physical location.

Conclusion

Zero Trust security improves control over access to an organisation’s resources and prevents unauthorised access. It helps in creating a micro perimeter by defining an attack surface and prevents lateral attacks by making resources unreachable.

Zero Trust approach also increases visibility for the organisation and enables continuous monitoring.

If you would like to know more about Zero Trust security and discuss the needs for your company infrastructure and cloud setup, get in touch with an expert at SecureTriad right away!



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