Zero Trust: a modern view of cybersecurity

Zero Trust: a modern view of cybersecurity

Zero Trust is an information security model that involves strict authentication of every person and gadget that tries to enter a private network. In this case, a user or device can initially be located both inside and outside the network boundaries. The core technology associated with the Zero Trust architecture is called ZTNA. Zero Trust is a more comprehensive and comprehensive approach to network security, incorporating various principles and technologies.

Simply put: the traditional network security model trusts everyone and everything within the network. In a Zero Trust architecture, no one or anything is trusted.

The traditional network security model is similar to how a lock works. In this model, it is difficult to penetrate the network from outside, but everyone inside the network – has complete confidence. The disadvantage of such solutions is obvious: after an attacker penetrates, for example, local network, he has easy access to everything inside. Vulnerabilities in lock-based security systems are exacerbated by the fact that companies are increasingly storing their data in more than one location. Today, information is often scattered among different cloud providers, making it difficult to create a single security control for the entire network.

Zero Trust security means that no person or device, either inside or outside the network, is trusted. And anyone trying to log on to the network requires authentication. This additional layer of security has proven to be an effective tool in combating cyber attacks. Research shows that the average cost of a single data breach exceeds $3 million. Given this, it is not surprising that many organizations are now looking to implement Zero Trust security policies.

Zero Trust in detail: principles, advantages and areas of implementation

The main principles of Zero Trust are:

  • Continuous monitoring and verification. The main idea of Zero Trust assumes that threats can come from both inside and outside the network, so it is necessary to abandon automatic trust in users or gadgets. Zero Trust identifies the user's account and privileges.
  • The principle of minimum sufficient permissions. The idea is to grant each user only the privileges necessary to perform their tasks. This ensures minimal access to sensitive parts of the network. Implementing this concept involves carefully managing each user's access rights.
  • Manage access to gadgets. In addition to controlling user access, Zero Trust also requires strict access control to PCs, tablets, phones and other devices. Zero Trust systems must monitor the number of different devices attempting to enter their networks, ensure that each device is authorized, and evaluate all devices to ensure they have not been compromised. This further reduces the network's attack surface.
  • Microsegmentation. This is the practice of breaking security into small zones to provide separate access to different parts of the network. For example, a network with files located in a single data center that uses micro-segmentation may contain dozens of separate secure zones. A person or program with access to one of these zones will not be able to access other zones without additional authorization.
  • Prevent lateral movement. In network security, "lateral movement" is the attacker's movement within the network after gaining access to it. Lateral movement can be difficult to detect, even if the attacker's entry point is detected, because the attacker will continue to compromise other parts of the network. Zero Trust is designed to restrict attackers from moving within the network. Because Zero Trust access is segmented and must be reset periodically, an attacker will not be able to move to other micro-segments within the network. Once the presence of an attacker is detected, the infected device or user account can be quarantined and cut off from further access.

Advantages of implementing Zero Trust technology

As a strategy, Zero Trust is better suited to the modern IT landscape than traditional security approaches. Given the diversity of users and devices that have access to corporate data, and the distribution of data both within and outside the network, it is safer to assume that no user or device is secure than to assume that preventative security measures have eliminated all vulnerabilities .

The main advantage of using Zero Trust methods is to reduce the attack surface for the organization. In addition, Zero Trust minimizes the damage in the event of a successful attack by limiting the impact to one small area using micro-segmentation, which also reduces recovery costs. Zero Trust reduces the risk of user credentials being leaked and phishing attacks by requiring the use of multiple authentication factors. This approach helps prevent threats that bypass traditional network perimeter-based defenses.

In what areas and how best to implement Zero Trust?

Many organizations that operate networks and process digital data may consider Zero Trust as a suitable security architecture. Some of the common use cases for Zero Trust include:

  • Replacement or addition to VPN. Many companies rely on VPNs to protect data, but modern challenges make them not always effective in their usual form and without combination with more advanced security technologies.
  • Ensuring the security of remote work. Instead of using VPNs, which can sometimes slow things down, Zero Trust provides secure access from anywhere.
  • Managing access to cloud services. Zero Trust provides control over each request, which helps reduce the risks of using public cloud VPN -services and other similar elements of network infrastructures.
  • Working with external parties and contractors. Zero Trust allows you to quickly expand limited access to external parties.
  • Quickly connect new employees to the network. Zero Trust makes it easy to add new users.

Implementing Zero Trust may seem daunting, but with the right technology partner and trusted provider of such services, the ends clearly justify the means in today's environment.

Private VPN server: a reliable part of any architecture

A private VPN server can be part of the Zero Trust architecture and its role will depend on the specific configuration and implementation of the technology. It can be used as one of many mechanisms to authenticate and provide secure network access. It can also be part of a broader Zero Trust strategy, providing users with a secure remote connection to an organization's internal network through an encrypted tunnel.

So, a private VPN server can be part of a Zero Trust solution, but it must be integrated into a broader security strategy that takes into account Zero Trust principles and includes additional layers of protection and verification.

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