Given the higher volume and velocity of cyberattacks owing to an increasingly hybrid workforce, enterprises must always be prepared to protect their data in the event of an attack. The Zero Trust approach to cybersecurity has become one of the most popular means of safeguarding communications and data.
The traditional approach to cybersecurity was to identify and implement specific remedies to defend against every potential danger and attack. To achieve this, organizations have deployed a variety of solutions, such as Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), firewalls for network security and end-point protection for malware. According to an independent study by IBM, today’s businesses have implemented an average of 45 security solutions across their networks. This traditional method creates a security gap in interoperability between tools. Moreover, there are unnecessary overlaps between multiple devices or software each being paid for through its own licensing – simply put, too many solutions from too many vendors.
Cybersecurity relies on trust. As technologies evolve, new ways of trusting connections/users/devices emerge, either directly or indirectly. As a result, different scenarios require different levels of trust. For example, internal users/devices are granted access to organizational resources based on “implicit trust”, but secure defenses prohibit external users/devices from accessing resources within the perimeter. However, this makes the entire domain more complex and thereby easier for attackers to exploit loopholes in the system.
The traditional model of physical security no longer applies as businesses rapidly evolve. Remote and hybrid workforces are the new trend in modern business, where employees can work from anywhere in the world. Additionally, cloud computing environments are growing and becoming popular places to host applications, data storage, and other IT assets. As there are no well-defined physical boundaries to ensure security, network administrators must rely on explicit trust between local users and remote networks and devices.
Therefore, we need a framework to ensure the security of modern enterprises against volatile cyberattacks. Implementing the Zero Trust approach has never been more critical.
“Trust no one, not even your end users” – Forrester Research
In layman’s terms, Zero Trust (ZT) is the new cybersecurity paradigm that mandates trust is never granted implicitly but must be continually evaluated and imposed explicitly. With this approach, a user/device has to earn the trust of a system after continuous authentication/authorization regardless of their location.
In this context, internal users are treated the same as users outside the network. Being in a public cloud environment does not change the way microservices communicate with each other. They are given the same level of trust as a set of applications communicating in a private or on-premises network, and each connection is always evaluated against all rules.
A Zero Trust environment cannot be implemented overnight. It is a gradual transformation where every step of a digital transaction is validated using various security implementations. These implementations adhere to a standard set of rules set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Some examples of these implementations are Identity and Access Management (IAM), Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Micro-segmentation, and DevOps. Migrating business processes into these implementations is one way to implement Zero Trust.
According to a Statista survey, 30% of companies have already begun to roll out Zero Trust security solutions, and 42% plan to do so in the near future.
Some benefits of implementing the Zero Trust security model are as follows:
Adapting this framework is not without its challenges. Identifying business processes with the lowest risk of failure during the transition to a Zero Trust architecture is the first step towards migrating critical entities over time. Check out our next article to learn more about Zero Trust security, which focuses on an end-to-end approach to establishing enterprise resource and data security.