Guide Managed Security

What is a zero-trust model?

What is a zero-trust model

What is a zero-trust model?

Why are organizations continuously looking for implementing security measures that combat the most modern threats? The answer is, modern cybersecurity threats require modern cybersecurity solutions. Also, organizations are moving further away from conventional office perimeter for security to hybrid working environments that demand measures that encompass cloud environments and loT ecosystems.  

Conventional security measures no longer work with threat actors evolving with time, deploying sophisticated attacks that could easily bypass conventional security infrastructures.  

Therefore, organizations have started using a zero-trust model for security that assumes that there is no security boundary at the entry point of the network and implements policies and rules for securing the network based on this assumption. 

We will take a look at the zero-trust security model through our blog.

What is a zero-trust security model?

The Zero Trust model of security came into use when John Kinderverg first discovered the flaws of conventional security frameworks that relied heavily on trusting people and devices at various stages for security in 2010. To solve these flaws, he created a model that worked on assuming that there is no one trustworthy enough inside and outside to allow access. John suggested that gateways be used at every level which was known as Segmentation Gateway (SG). In this model, every individual who tries to gain access to the network passes a security test. If during the identification process, multiple logins, logins from different devices or different locations, or any other anomaly is detected, then the user is not permitted to enter the network. It is a model that does not rely on the trust of any single entity or user and verifies their identity at every stage.

Why do organizations need a zero-trust model?

One research report conducted by Illumino states that over 90% of organizations said that deploying the zero trust model was one of their top IT and cybersecurity priorities. The answer is quite obvious. Organizations need to meet the most immediate security requirements of today given the hybrid working environments and deployment of cloud and IoT ecosystems. They are slowly moving from the trust-to-verify model to the zero-trust model to quickly adopt remote working environments. The following are the reasons why organizations require zero trust model for their security: 

  • There is a high amount of sensitive data exchange outside the organization’s physical perimeter exposing the data to the threat actors. 
  • Bad actors are impersonating trusted members of the organization to perpetrate an attack to breach the network’s security to steal sensitive personal or financial data. Therefore, the trust but verify model is no longer secure. 
  • Businesses are on the verge of digital transformation adopting technologies such as cloud and IoT therefore they need more sophisticated security that performs identity checks at every stage of security despite recognizing the user trying to make an entry. 
  • Modern threats require modern security solutions that do not rely on the trust of people or devices.
  • Zero trust security improves efficiency among employees. One research report stated that it freed up to 40 hrs per week by keeping the network secure from modern attacks.  
  • Software as Service and Product as Service models cannot be fully trusted.
  • Bring Your Own Device creates vulnerability in the security

What are the benefits of zero trust security? 

The amount of loss that a data breach can cost a company is unimaginable. It damages the reputation of an organization by affecting its customers at large, not to mention the massive loss of data that can never be recovered. Having a security framework that doesn’t rely on the trust factor of personnel not only ensures superior protection but also safeguards the organization’s reputation. One research report stated that the Zero Trust security model can save organizations from the cost of a data breach by roughly 1.76 million. As organizations are moving towards cloud adoption, the zero-trust security model has become the foundation of an increasing number of them. This stands especially valid given the high number of sensitive data exchanges and data-rich environment that demands security needs. There are numerous benefits of implementing zero trust security. The following are some of the benefits:

  • Zero Trust model builds trust among networks and improves resilience against cyber attacks
  • It assists organizations in building simple and easily secured enterprise networks compared to complex enterprise security solutions.
  • Through zero trust model, employees can gain secure access to applications 
  • Saves time, money, data, and resources that businesses would otherwise lose in a cyber attack 
  • Empowers organizations to engage in digital transformation without any fear of sophisticated cyber threats and attacks 
  • Helps organizations to seamlessly deploy IoT and cloud ecosystems.
  • Blocks 90% of credential exploitation-based attacks
  • Improves visibility of network traffic through a continuous device, network, and application monitoring 
  • The Zero Trust model helps you seamlessly fulfill compliance requirements whether they are statutory or regulatory 
  • It improves the efficiency of operations by removing the reliance on humans for access security 
  • It enables organizations to analyze user access
  • Zero trust helps the security team to work better through security analytics-based data that is stored in a single location 
  • Just in Time access model of the zero trust security model protects data from insider threats and unauthorized access to data
  • Secures all the systems that are connected to a network from a remote location
  • Helps limit the impact of a cyber-attack by using identity-based segmentation of the network
  • Renders automation capabilities to the security of an organization.
  • Encompasses multiple elements, people, and resources at different levels of an organization
  • Reduces risk at the organizational and business level by providing transparency on how various assets are communicating within a network.

What are the principles of the zero trust model?

The zero trust security model works on a given set of principles that make it the most secure security model. It is an evolution from the trust-by-default model of security to trust by exception. Even Google deployed zero trust architecture back in 2009. The following are the principles that the zero trust model works on:

Principle 1: Never trust anyone

Earlier, the security models were dependent on trusting a given set of key personnel for accessing securely. But in the zero trust model, that dependence is eliminated by authorizing and validating every user on access. It involves continuous verification of users on access. Therefore, there are no trusted devices, users, assets, systems, or any other entity trying to gain access to the network. It deploys the principle of least privilege and only allows users that much access that is required to successfully execute their tasks within a given system. This is what makes zero trust one of the most reliable models of security. 

Principle 2: Network is always insecure

Zero Trust Model assumes that the network is always hostile to internal and external threats and deploys measures to secure the network, always. Conventional security models assumed that the network had some level of security until an attack made them vulnerable to breaches and other forms of cyber attacks. In zero trust, no such assumption is made regarding security, and users are always verified upon access eliminating the plausibility of unauthorized access to a minimum. This assumption also helps experts develop their cybersecurity infrastructure to be more and more impenetrable and invulnerable to access exploitation-based attacks.

Principle 3: Location-based security is not trustworthy

Previous models of security assumed a given number of IP addresses as secure which led to the exploitation of access vulnerabilities by bad actors. In zero trust, it is assumed that no location is safe for access, reducing the chances of location-based breaches to zero. It conducts the process of authorization and verification every time a user tries to access the network. One of the many benefits of zero trust is that it leaves zero margin for bad actors to exploit. This is the main reason why it is one of the most trusted security models.  

Principle 4: Policy implementation should be based on threat intel

In the zero-trust security model, policies are devised based on the security and threat intel data collected across endpoints, servers, devices, applications, and other entities connected to the organizational network. It requires the deployment of analytics for monitoring, detection, and response. The data received via these analytics becomes the basis for policy creation and implementation. This is the main reason why the policies that are devised with the zero trust model can enable solutions to perform optimally rendering instantaneous responses to cyber threats and quicker detection of vulnerabilities. 

Principle 5: To control damage in case of a cyber attack

The zero Trust security model enables organizations to control the damage in a cyber attack by using the principle of damage control. It seeks to limit damage control by deploying the least privilege principle which only permits users as much as required to perform and finish their job. Another way it controls damage is by segmenting the network based on identities. This is more of a secure approach compared to the traditional models that used network-based segmentation can be difficult to maintain because of the variable nature of data, credentials, and work-related information. Through just in time and Just Enough Access, the Zero Trust model fortifies an organization’s network from cyber-attacks.

How does SharkStriker help you implement the zero-trust model?

The zero trust model is one of the best security models that eliminates human error. However, the implementation of zero trust models requires organizations to take expert help such that there is no margin for error in implementation. SharkStriker has worked with organizations across industries to empower them to achieve a zero-trust model that works optimally as per their operational environment and their business goals. We help them to achieve efficiency in operations and function uninterruptedly without the stress of cyber attacks. To make sure that the organizations make the best of the zero trust model through a systematic process. Through this process, we can deploy a zero-trust model of security effectively in a tailored fashion, without leaving out all the key aspects of the organization. The following is the process we follow to implement zero trust:

Scoping and discovery:

First, we conduct an organizational discovery of all the endpoints, systems, servers, applications, and devices that are connected to the network, including cloud and IoT ecosystems that are part of the organizational network. Once we determine all the entities that are connected to the network, we ascertain all the plausible attack points and analyze the organization’s IT infrastructure of vulnerabilities. We also evaluate how the data is exchanged and at what point it is processed. We determine all the critical points where all the sensitive information is stored and try to evaluate its vulnerabilities. After the discovery of all the entities that are connected with the network as well as all the vulnerabilities and attack points, we prepare a scope. 

Evaluation and remediation:

After the discovery of all the endpoints, cloud and IoT ecosystems, servers, applications, devices, and systems connected to the network, we evaluate how they can be protected. We use security analytics to protect them and develop a security infrastructure that safeguards them. We analyze workloads on a real-time basis to come up with security measures that would protect them from the most sophisticated. Based on the telemetry derived from the network, we develop security mechanisms that protect all the endpoints and other entities connected to the network.  

Optimization and improvement:

Based on comprehensive evaluation we engage in the last step which is to prepare the right set of policies & procedures and optimize all the security solutions as per the least privilege access model. After the implementation of the zero trust security model, we conduct all the necessary tests to check if everything is running as expected and as per compliance. Finally, we prepare a report of the entire process and document it for reference and fulfillment of compliance and preparation of policies in the future. We create material for key personnel of the organization such that they are aware of the model and implement steps individually for cybersecurity.

To summarize

We have seen how the zero trust security model has helped organizations to evolve their cybersecurity posture from the previous trust by default to trust by exception. However, assistance from experts must be taken to ensure that the implementation of the zero-trust model is effective. 

SharkStriker has helped enterprises to effectively deploy a zero-trust security model, get in touch with our experts to experience the tailor-made deployment of zero trust model in your organization. 

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