What is Zero Trust Security Practices?

-Zero Trust was first coined by Forrester Research analyst John Kindervag in 2010 as the trust model at the time was broken and the only solution was to remove the idea of trusted internal networks and untrusted external networks.  Instead, Forrester presented the idea that all network traffic must be untrusted.  Zero Trust is a security concept based on the belief that organizations should not automatically trust anything inside or outside its perimeters but instead verify anything and everything trying to connect to IT systems before granting access.

The Zero Trust model approach is to secure network access services that allow for the delivery of high-security, enterprise-wide network service virtually, on a managed basis for SMB’s  to large enterprises.  Digital businesses and organizations today need security technology partners that offer a wide range of capabilities that integrate easily, improve their network visibility, and support the Zero Trust model.  Organizations are quickly adopting and implementing security partner solutions such as IP Services (www.ipservices.com) that can apply security controls across environments consistently and quickly, with features that allow them to modify security policies and access as business needs change.

Next evolution in following IT Security Best Practices

-In our current technology and digital age, next level cybersecurity is not a nice to have but a MUST have to secure business and organizational assets. Businesses are having to embrace new technologies and engage in digital transformations to keep competitive and streamline business practices.  Technology needs and trends along with shifting business models and the ability to be nimble married to meeting regulatory requirements along with geopolitical forces. Digital transformation forces us to examine traditional security models. Enter Zero Trust Security Practices!

Be Pragmatic in your approach to adopting Zero Trust Security Practices

-It is important when considering Zero Trust to think big but start small.  Look to engage already proven security technologies that produce the Zero Trust outcomes you have planned.

Three phases of adopting Zero Trust – Assess, implement for Progress, and Optimize for Maturity with your Zero Trust Journey

First stage – Assessment

Are you reducing password risks with strong auth methods like MFA and providing SSO access to cloud apps?

Do you have visibility into device compliance, all cloud  and server environments, and logins to detect anomalous activity?

Are your networks segmented to prevent unlimited lateral movement inside the firewall perimeter?

Significant Progress – Assessment

Are you using real-time risk analytics to assess user behavior and device health to make smarter decisions?

Can you correlate security signals across multiple pillars to detect advanced threats and quickly take action?

Are you proactively finding and fixing vulnerabilities from misconfigurations and missing patches to reduce threat vectors?

Optimal – Assessment

Are you able to dynamically enforce policies after access has been granted to protect against violations?

Is your environment protected using automated threat detection and response across security pillars to react more quickly to advanced threats?

Are you analyzing productivity and security signals to help drive user experience optimization through self-healing and actionable insights?

Managing your Zero Trust – It’s a Process

Once you have reached maturity with your Zero Trust Implementation and ongoing management the following metrics and features should be fully implemented, functional, and monitored.  You know you have optimal maturity when the following metrics have been achieved.

Optimal Maturity

  • Continuous discovery and correlation of signals using machine learning to identity data exfiltration risks
  • Access decisions are governed by a trusted third-party authority such as cloud security policy engine
  • Proactive data governance and risk assessment is regularly being evaluated
  • Unauthorized deployments are blocked, and alert is triggered – Configuration and Change Management Best Practices are being followed
  • Granular visibility and access control are available across all workloads
  • User and resource access is segmented for each network segment and system
  • AIR has been fully enabled, along with 802.1x
  • Actively using threat analytics, threat intelligence, and recommended mitigations to close vulnerabilities and misconfigurations
  • XDR capabilities applied across all pillars and fully integrated with SIEM for advanced threat hunting, detection, response, and prevention – married to Endpoint Detection and Response practices – (EDR)