In an increasingly interconnected world with a proliferating number of digital services, enterprises are challenged to implement strong cyber-security, which is considered a core element of the digital transformation strategies of modern organizations. To this end, many enterprises turn to novel security concepts such as Zero Trust Security. The latter is a security model that assumes that any device or user can be a threat. It requires organizations to move away from traditional perimeter-based defenses and adopt a more flexible approach to access control, which is conveniently called Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). The Zero Trust model has been gaining popularity among enterprises as they look for ways to improve their security posture by reducing risk while allowing employees access to data and applications when needed. The latter is key for supporting the mainstream hybrid work environments of the post COVID19 era i.e., environments where employees access digital resources through different channels and devices.
To apply the Zero Trust mode, organizations must rethink traditional approaches to identity management in order to better protect key assets against cyber threats like phishing attacks, malware infections, account takeovers, security breaches and insider threats. Most of these threats can result from poor authentication methods or weak passwords used across multiple systems within an organization’s network perimeter. This guides security experts to design security measures that do not rely on conventional trusted zones. The implementation of a Zero Trust security approach is usually based on the concept of “microsegmentation”, which is about architecting security systems to meet fine-grained requirements of specific micro-segments of the network. Based on microsegmentation, security teams can isolate workloads in specific network segments towards limiting the potentially adverse effects of malicious movements of the workloads. Hence, a Zero trust environment implements fine-grained access policies over the workloads of the various segments.
In practice, Zero Trust Security provides increased flexibility with your network and applications. You can have more trust in end users, while still maintaining control over what they can do. It also helps enterprises gain visibility into all their systems, including those on-premises and in the cloud.
Zero Trust mitigates risk by ensuring that only approved entities are permitted inside a network perimeter. This results to the following benefits:
When setting up a Zero Trust environment, security experts can take advantage of the following tools and techniques:
In the era of the “hybrid enterprise”, modern organizations have no option but to design their digital infrastructures with strong security in mind. In this direction, they could consider a shift towards the Zero Trust security model. When realizing this shift, they must consider the costs and potential benefits of this transition. Moreover, they must bear in mind that Zero Trust is not only about implementing security techniques. Rather it requires a wider cultural shift that includes raising awareness and properly educating the entire organization.
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