Cyber risks continue to rise, attracting the attention of both governments and businesses. Legacy security measures have become increasingly ineffective due to the tremendous increase in remote working and the explosion of connected devices.
The adoption of zero trust security methods has risen dramatically in recent years. . In fact as per a 2021 Statista survey report “Is adopting a zero trust model a priority for your organization?” 42 percent of those polled indicated they intend to implement a zero-trust strategy and are in the process of doing so. In general, 72 percent of respondents either plan to adopt zero trust in the future or have done so already.
Fundamentally, it is critical to recognize that there is no single solution to zero trust. Zero trust is meaningless unless an organization’s security foundation is already in place. In general, there are two crucial branches of zero trust: network controls and user controls.
The majority of network controls are focused on network segmentation, which splits down traditional trusted zones into smaller portions. However, the effectiveness is dependent on how well businesses keep track of which devices need to communicate with which. Maintaining this can be challenging and expensive. This is particularly typical in on-premises environments with large network segments. Micro-segmentation protects process-to-process or machine-to-machine interactions at a much granular level, which is increasingly important as cloud services become more prevalent. Application segmentation of key applications inside an environment is the focus of network segmentation and micro-segmentation.
The resources users require are much more distributed and dispersed, leaving few possibilities for network segmentation; as a result, zero trust measures are primarily driven by user identity and the attributes connected with that user. To establish trust, businesses can use risk adaptive authentication, or security posture checks. The validation of the user goes beyond standard authentication and makes use of additional attributes linked with the user. For instance, the location they are connecting from and the security posture of the device being used.
The entitlements on the resources being accessed are critical to any zero trust strategy. Assume that data and application access rights are incorrect, obsolete, or excessively permissive. In that circumstance, regardless of how good or sophisticated their zero trust policies are, enterprises risk leaving their data vulnerable.
Companies are expanding their corporate attack surface as a result of increased usage of cloud services and remote working model. They need to act swiftly to reconsider their security strategy. Employees are constantly interacting and sharing data on-prem and in the cloud, shattering security perimeters and network borders. The cosy workplace, with its physical security controls and natural oversight is no longer there.
The ability to see what services an organization is using and what access controls it has is crucial to a company’s security. As the use of cloud services among remote employees grows, many companies are unaware of the cloud services that have been implemented. If an employee uses a service that meets the requirements for being trusted, but the user entitlements are inaccurate or the data is openly accessible to other users of the service, the service and the data it holds are still not secure. This is a typical misunderstanding regarding the security provided by cloud services and apps.
When implementing zero trust, companies should think about the following:
- What services are used and how are users and processes interacting with them?
- How are identities and devices maintained in the environment, and how are they managed uniformly across all services?
- What attributes of these devices and identities can be used to build trust?
- What entitlements do those identities possess, and are they accurate?
- What procedures are in place to keep devices, identities, and entitlements up to date?
Organizations need to pay special attention to certain fundamentals in order for zero-trust projects to be successful. First and foremost, businesses should ensure that they possess full visibility of their data. Knowing what their data is, where it is stored, who has access to it, and how it is protected is essential. Second, businesses should concentrate on identity management. Third, it’s critical to determine which SaaS services are being used across the organization and whether identity governance and administration (IGA) policies are in place to secure those services. Finally, as businesses attempt to protect their connectivity and access to cloud services, they should acknowledge that Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) will continue to be an important component of the equation.
In the end, these foundational controls and processes will determine whether or not an organization’s adoption of zero trust accomplishes its security goals.
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