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Zero Trust Security Model

With the recent technological advances, continued migration to the cloud and the shift to remote/hybrid work accelerated by the 2020 global pandemic, traditional security measures do not cut it anymore. These security measures which operate on the principle of “trust but verify” just aren’t enough to secure organizations. They are built to trust anyone and anything inside the organization’s network.

 

A weakness that arises with this principle is that when an attacker gains access to the network through phishing attacks, compromised credentials, or exploiting internal system vulnerabilities, they are deemed trustworthy and have free rein over everything inside.

 

Additionally, with data dispersed across cloud services, and third-party platforms, and accessed from remote locations, the once-solid perimeter defences lose their effectiveness. It widens the scope of data accessibility outside the traditional organizational boundaries and introduces new factors.

Enter the Zero Trust Security Model.

 

This model operates on the principle of “never trust, always verify”. It uniquely addresses the challenges that modern businesses face including how to secure remote workers and hybrid cloud environments. It challenges the wisdom of trusting anything and anyone inside the network perimeter by advocating for continuous verification and strict access controls, regardless of the user’s device, location or resource they want to access. In short, zero trust assumes a breach.

 

Several principles are behind the zero-trust security model. One of those principles is least-privilege access, this entails giving users only as much access as they need to complete their responsibilities. This principle ensures that the number of users with access to sensitive data is limited.

 

Multi-factor authentication is another principle that is behind the zero-trust security model. It ensures that a user provides two or more different types of authentication for them to be allowed to access a particular resource. This principle reduces the chances of attackers gaining access to the network through stolen credentials or weak passwords.

 

Microsegmentation, a practice that involves breaking up an organization’s network into smaller, isolated sections to maintain separate access is also among the principles behind the zero-trust security model.

 

Zero Trust Security Model has a lot of benefits other than enhancing security for companies reliant on remote work. Firstly, it minimizes an organization’s attack surface by implementing strict access controls and continuously verifying the identity of users, devices, and applications attempting to access resources. With fewer entry points for potential attackers, the likelihood of successful breaches is decreased.

 

Additionally, the zero trust security model mitigates the impact of successful attacks and reduces the cleanup time and cost by restricting the breach to one segment thanks to its micro-segmentation principle.