Zero trust model is a paragon in cyber security that aims at safeguarding information assets and works under the principle of “Never trust any person or device, always conduct a verification process, and, on a perpetual basis”. It does not matter how many times a user or device has accessed an IT resource, that entity cannot be trusted, they must be verified again and again. Many companies have invested heavily on strong firewalls that help protect network resources from attacks coming from the outside (internet) world, however, they do very little to detect and block insider attacks.
Previously, it had perceived that all entities within a network were trustworthy while those outsides were perceived to be bad, however, having learnt from some of the biggest data breaches in history, this assumption has proved to be wrong and outdated. Ever since the covid 19 pandemic came, company networks have gone beyond the four walls of an office building; a good number of employees are now working remotely. This greatly increases the risk profile and creates avenues that can be exploited by attackers. The zero-trust model gives access to users based on their credentials and roles, whether onsite or remotely.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), NIST 800-207 publication, the zero-trust model is governed by the following tenents:
No matter the location of the network, every communication must be secured – network location alone is not equal to trust. Requests to access resources in an on-premises network must meet the same prerequisites as requests to a cloud-based network.
Admission into a network resource is given per session – users access resources on the network through the principle of least privilege, required to complete a particular task. In addition, each request should be thoroughly evaluated, and the authentication and authorization used for one resource cannot be used to automatically give access to another resource.
No asset can be permanently trusted –of each asset’s security state is assessed each time there’s a request to access a network resource. This includes constant verification and mitigation measures such as patching whenever vulnerabilities are detected.
Authentication and authorization are a dynamic process and must be imposed each time before access is given – since access to resources on the network is a continuous process, user/ asset identification, threat evaluation and constant revaluation of trust is done on a perpetual basis. This includes the use of Muti Factor Authentication (MFA), continued monitoring, reauthorization and reauthentication which are implemented throughout the process of accessing network resources.
Data collection on the state of network assets, infrastructure, and communication, and using that information to improve an enterprise network’s security posture – this data can help in policy formulation and implementation.
The Zero Trust Model comes with the following benefits:
Sensitive information is protected – it ensures that your most sensitive information is kept safe, away from malicious parties.
Good for compliance – the zero-trust model can help in cases where organizations need to comply with certain security demands.
It reduces the risk of data breaches – by treating assets, from both within and outside the network with the same security standard, this model greatly reduces the risk of data breaches.
Have greater control of your cloud environment
Final thoughts? Modern businesses are becoming more and more mobile, where multiple devices access data from outside the four walls of the office. This has significantly increased the risk levels and as opposed to the previous model of “verify now, trust later”, which exposed enterprise networks to the data breaches, malicious software and ransom attacks, there is need to implement a robust security model which is able to protect information, both within and outside the network.