Progress in computing technology is very fast. You can see new product models almost every month that outdate the previous version. Your latest computer might be obsolete in a year. This also applies to network security. Your current security model might not protect your network that long. Using a stronger and long-lasting security approach is advisable. This is where zero trust model of cybersecurity shines.
Zero trust security framework replaces the old “castle and moat” approach. This security model assumes that users and devices inside the perimeter are trustworthy. Everything within the “castle walls” is safe. This is not reliable anymore, as threats can come from inside the network itself. A zero trust architecture provides protection for external, internal, and unknown threats. Zero trust model of cybersecurity enforces a “never trust and always verify” principle.
Today’s working environment consists of people who bring their own devices for work. Managing, handling, and configuring these endpoint devices is challenging. The zero trust model of cybersecurity provides robust security for these endpoints. It protects smartphones, laptops, and tablets, among others, from various threats.
Every user and device must pass identity verification before gaining network access. Once successful, they get access albeit with restrictions. Users can only access network resources within the scope of their user privileges. This thwarts internal threats from happening and limits the attacker’s actions.
The zero trust model of cybersecurity focuses on Identity and Access Management (IAM). It can do the following:
- It identifies the users in a system.
- It identifies the roles for each user.
- It adds, removes, and updates users and their roles in the system.
- It assigns access levels to users or groups of individuals.
- It protects sensitive data within the system and secures the system as well.
In the next section, you’ll learn how to enforce a zero trust model of cybersecurity.
How to Enforce Zero Trust Model of Cybersecurity
The aim of enforcing a zero trust model of cybersecurity is to stop data breaches from happening. There are many ways of doing this, so here are a few tips:
It is important to secure data while in storage, while in use, and while in transit. This is achievable through encryption. End-to-end encryption prevents an attacker from reading or modifying data. Only the recipient and sender of the data have access to it. That applies to data while in transit or in motion.
Encryption can also protect your data while it is in use or in memory. An example of this technology is Total Memory Encryption (TME) from Intel. It encrypts the entire physical memory of a system. Encryption secures your data while in storage as well. Examples of this are disk encryption, file encryption, and database encryption, among others.
Not trusting any user by default is the basic logic. Any user trying to gain network access must first pass identity verification. This enables a user to prove their identity on the system. Once successful, only then do they get to access the network’s vast resources.
Also, do not trust any device by default. If users undergo identity verification, devices must pass validation as well. This is possible through device certificates and whitelisting. A device certificate is a built-in digital file that provides proof of your ownership. Unknown devices are quicker to spot because of this.
A whitelist contains all allowable elements on your network. It can contain the IP addresses of devices that have permission to use the network’s resources. Users should first register their devices to be part of this whitelist.
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA is one of the systems used for Identity and Access Management (IAM). Other systems include Single-Sign-On (SSO) and Privileged Access Management (PAM). MFA provides an extra shield against various threats.
The most common MFA combination is your login credentials and biometric signature. Cracking your username and password is easy for an attacker. But getting your biometric data is near to impossible.
A user who gains network access gets various restrictions. This is where IAM best functions. It identifies the user first and checks their role in the system. IAM also checks if the user is part of a group that has higher levels of access. The privileges or access rights that a user gets is enough to do their task according to their role.
A customer service agent only gets the right set of privileges to do their work. Accessing the resources of other departments requires another permission and authentication. This limits the damage of an internal threat. Always remember the “never trust and always verify” key principle.
How do you prevent threats from happening? This is possible through consistent and continuous monitoring of your network. You should be able to observe all activities occurring on your network. This includes all inbound and outbound web traffic as well.
You can filter this traffic for suspicious activities using a next-generation firewall (NGFW). It is a part of the third generation of firewall technology. It comes with filtering features such as:
- Application Firewall.
- Deep Packet Inspection (DPI).
- Intrusion Prevention System (IPS).
- Encrypted Traffic Inspection.
- Website Filtering.
Now you know what zero trust model of cybersecurity is and how to enforce it on your network, and you are also aware of the importance of network security. You can find out more about zero trust model of cybersecurity by clicking here.
You learned what a zero trust model is and why it is important to use a zero trust model. You also understand the different approaches when applying a zero trust model. For more information on the zero trust security framework, please click here.