Zero Trust is a framework to manage cybersecurity in today’s world. Zero Trust’s underlying idea is that security of organizational security is constantly at risk from both internal and external threats.
To protect its intellectual property and data, the IT industry relied on perimeter-based security strategies. To validate and inspect users who accessed and left the network, organizations would use firewalls and other network-based tools.
It has been a significant shift in the way the business operates, due to the move to hybrid cloud infrastructures and digital transformation. These changes have made it necessary to redefine the network perimeter.
It is important to strike a balance between security requirements changing and user experience. Users, applications, and devices require fast, secure access to data.
These seven components are crucial to Zero Trust.
1. Resource-Level Authentication
Zero Trust was established in response to inability to provide reliable perimeter security for modern IT environments. A perimeter security system creates a perimeter with a firewall that surrounds the central network. Users who require network resources can access the perimeter via authentication.
As organizations began to move away from central infrastructure and towards cloud computing, maintaining the perimeter became more difficult.
In many cases, the physical infrastructure that perimeters are supposed to surround is no longer present. This means that perimeter-based security has become obsolete.
Zero Trust solves the problem by moving authentication to the resource-level. This authentication is required for accessing any resource, rather than user authentication at the point of entry to the infrastructure. This helps reduce the risk of lateral movement in the event of a breach. Interestingly, many organizations have moved to resource-level authorization. They don’t realize that it is part of Zero Trust.
2. Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA), is one of Zero Trust’s most popular implementations. Nearly 90% of small and medium-sized enterprises have MFA.
MFA and Zero Trust work together, because MFA improves the security of traditional authentication models that rely on username and password.
MFA is present at all access transactions with Zero Trust architecture unless passwordless authentication or conditional access takes over. You might consider expanding if your organization has already begun using MFA for just a few applications.
3. One Sign-On
Single sign-on (SSO), a secure authentication method, takes some of the burden off end users by removing MFA. SSO allows for secure authentication of all user applications using a single set of login credentials. They can be backed up with multi-factor authentication in an ideal scenario.
SSO uses protocols such as SAML to eliminate the need to enter credentials for every application. This is done without compromising security.
True SSO integrates all applications that make up an organization’s infrastructure. Users only need to enter their credentials once to gain access to all the applications they require to perform their jobs.
4. Device Management and Visibility
A company must be able to see all devices in its network. Device management must go beyond visibility as networks become more dispersed and more devices are added to them.
A company must also have control over the devices. The extent of control is determined by who owns the device.
The IT team should have the ability to request a passcode, customize policies and applications, lock the device remotely and allow users to opt-in and out, regardless of who has it.
Mobile device management tools (MDM) should be used by corporate devices as well. IT teams can set requirements and enforce restrictions, lock and wipe the device remotely, and require a password.
5. Patch Management
To be secure, devices and software must be up-to-date. Most organizations already manage patch management. It’s part of building a Zero Trust Architecture. A standardized patch management system is essential for every device in an organization. It’s not enough to rely on manual management.
Automating management can decrease the IT team’s impact and increase security.
6. Principle of least Privilege
The principle of least privilege states that every employee in an organization should only have the access they require. It is a cornerstone of the foundation for least privilege.
As people are given different roles, privilege creep can easily occur. This means that it is important to keep track of who has access and how often they have access.
7. Management of Access and Identity
Zero Trust requires identity and access management, or IAM. Zero Trust’s perimeter is built around the identity.
Although most organizations have some IAM, it is not sufficient to achieve Zero Trust architecture.
IT managers can manage access to sensitive information if they have a comprehensive IAM framework. IAM includes systems such as single sign-on, multifactor authentication and privileged access management.
These technologies allow secure storage of identity and profile data.
IAM covers how individuals are identified within a system, what roles are assigned to them, and how they are removed, added, or updated. IAM includes granting access to individuals and groups, protecting data, and securing the whole system.
Roles can be defined according to job, responsibility, or authority. An IAM system must capture and record user login information, manage the user database, and allow users to assign and remove access privileges.
IAM is also able to facilitate the management and administration of digital identities for both applications and devices.
IAM can be managed in two ways: identity as a services or authentication as a Service. Administrators and users will find it easier to use a third-party provider in both of these cases.
IAM has many benefits, including the ability to authenticate and authorize users, greater control over user access to lower the risk of data breaches and improved policy enforcement.