The network security perimeter is increasingly collapsing in the era of cloud computing and big data, and internal and external dangers are intensifying, leading to the breakdown of conventional perimeter-based security architecture, and thus the zero trust architecture comes into existence.
Although the concept of a zero-trust security architecture was introduced more than a decade ago, the COVID-19 outbreak has hastened its implementation since the beginning of 2020.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses all over the world have embraced the remote work paradigm. An increase in cyber-attacks has resulted from the significant shift in the workforce to remote work. For example, after allowing employees to access company resources remotely and using their own computing devices, the old network security approach that relies on securing a corporate network perimeter to keep outsiders away from its valuable resources becomes obsolete.
There are various best practices that firms can use when constructing a zero-trust architecture. The following are some best practices to assist businesses prioritize their efforts, securing device validation, ensuring system visibility, and preventing false trust.
Understand the architecture, which includes users, devices, and services
Businesses should build a thorough inventory of their users, devices, and services to secure their network and assets. This includes determining what data and assets should be accessed, as well as the potential liabilities that access may entail and how access is managed.
Businesses should pay special attention to the assets and elements that are linked to their network. Prioritizing servers with internally or externally exposing endpoints over tape backups, for example.
Pre-existing setups and permissions must also be taken into account. Businesses that are switching from a traditional network model to zero trust might need to update their services and assets to make sure that they continue to function.
Improved access control
For fine-grained access control, businesses need to adopt segmentation and micro-segmentation of their internal networks. Although it has become a must, a zero-trust architecture is insufficient on its own. Cyber-attacks are indeed becoming more prevalent and sophisticated. For example, the Log4 Shell malware, which has been undiscovered in a major open-source library since 2013, has infected hundreds of thousands of devices.
Employ network segmentation
Security controls and network segmentation between network segments are critical components of any zero trust architecture. These are utilized to prevent illicit access to sensitive data and services.
VLANs, firewalls, and other sorts of security measures like IDS/IPS can all be used to implement segmentation. These security controls must be implemented in a way that protects assets from internal as well as external threats.
Consistently keep an eye on traffic and sustain
All resources will be better safeguarded if all logs are funneled to a centralized location and monitored for malicious activities. Deep packet inspection technologies and other network security monitoring tools can help with this. In addition, orchestration and automation can be employed to adequately observe and filter undesirable traffic.
Since zero trust is a never-ending process, analyzing all logs and making improvements to obtain more visibility into all resources should be done on a regular basis.
Don’t put trust in any network, especially one’s own
Businesses should keep in mind that zero trust equals zero. The local network is included in this. Enterprises should not rely on their network to keep conversations secure. Rather, they should invest in the devices and services that operate on their network, for example, enforcing encryption technologies like TLS. Firms that rely on local networks for security risk exposing themselves to attacks such as DNS spoofing, man in the middle (MitM) attacks, and unsolicited incoming connections.