Zero Trust

What is Zero Trust?

Security measures and tools have historically been focused on fortifying defenses in an effort to keep outsiders from gaining access to an organization’s network, but this is not an effective model for a number of reasons. In today’s digital landscape, the traditional “castle and moat” style of cybersecurity is outdated and incompatible with how most organizations operate.

Zero trust is a security framework in which all users must be authenticated and continuously validated for access. For many organizations, there is no traditional network edge, no clear delineation between what is “inside” the network and what is “outside.” Due to the growth of cloud solutions and remote working environments, an organization’s data, workers, and devices are no longer located inside a convenient perimeter.

While it may sound negative, zero trust simply means that access is not implicitly granted to any user. All users on the network are given access to what they need when they need it and no more. Implementing zero trust security in an organization requires a high level of coordination and cooperation between different teams across the entire enterprise in order to secure all data, users, applications, and networks.

Tenets of Zero Trust

The zero trust framework is fairly simple in concept, relying on protecting and managing a few basic pillars: identities, endpoints, applications, data, infrastructure, and networks. To protect an organization’s assets and resources through zero trust architecture, the following factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Consider all data sources and computing services to be enterprise resources.
  • Secure all communications, no matter where they are located.
  • Use the principle of least privilege to grant access only to necessary resources.
  • Grant access to individual enterprise resources on a per-session basis.
  • Determine resource access using dynamic policies.
  • Assume the network has been breached and employ measures to limit damage.
  • Monitor the integrity and security of all assets.
  • Strictly enforce authentication and authorization before allowing access to resources.
  • Use information about the state of assets, networks, and communications to improve security posture.

With these general guidelines applied to all resources and users, any organization can protect its assets against cyberattacks and other cybersecurity incidents that may occur. Zero trust not only limits the ability of bad actors to obtain access to sensitive resources but also minimizes the opportunity for insiders to unintentionally cause data loss or other damage from within an organization.

The Future

Many organizations have adopted a zero trust architecture, and more continue to do so over time. As technological innovations are made, the digital landscape and threat trends are constantly evolving, requiring the evolution of security measures to match. Zero trust is not only growing in popularity but also developing to leverage new technologies and practices.

One of the biggest trends in zero trust right now is the use of Remote Browser Isolation (RBI) tools. This technology allows users to browse the internet in an environment isolated from the device and network, protecting organizations against any malicious content users may come across on the internet.

Some of the other aspects of that are expected to grow include:

  • Cloud security, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML)
  • Comprehensive, granular authentication and authorization
  • Enhanced Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Network micro-segmentation
  • Interaction with regulatory compliance

To explore the definitions of more fundamental cybersecurity terms, read up on 21 Essential Cybersecurity Terms You Should Know or 50+ Cybersecurity Acronyms & Definitions.

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Zero Trust
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