Implementing a zero trust architecture

In today’s digital world, perimeter-based security strategies often struggle to defend against increasingly complex cyber threats, zero trust architecture is designed with the realities of the current threat landscape in mind. A zero trust architecture enables organizations to prioritize access and restrictions. The goal is to implement a zero trust policy across all traffic, to ensure no user, device or system can put the network at risk. This architecture typically enforces three main principles -

  • there is no such thing as trustworthy users,
  • multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a must, and
  • micro-segmentation is critical for enforcing restrictions

To implement zero trust security, organizations need to adopt information security practices and tools that expand their endpoint visibility and enable control over access and privileges. This architecture is constructed on the basis that there is no secure perimeter. Instead, every event and connection is considered untrusted and potentially malicious. It helps to keep networks protected despite increasingly sophisticated threats and complex perimeters. This is why zero trust architecture is called zero trust network or in general — zero trust security.

When evaluating a zero trust architecture, there are three elements that should be considered. These elements are vital to the successful deployment and construction of zero trust architectures

  • No false sense of security
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Micro segmentation

Here are five steps for implementing a zero trust access architecture

Use multi-factor authentication (MFA)

MFA reflects the guiding principle of zero trust: “never trust, always verify and verify again.” As the name suggests MFA requires two or more authentication factors — a knowledge factor, a possession factor, and an inherence factor. Each of these factors must be validated for authentication. It is a low-complexity and user-friendly way to increase network security.

Isolate network traffic with segmentation

Microsegmentation requires separating different types of traffic from each other, splitting the network into smaller pieces to lessen the impact of any potential intrusion, this helps protect critical company data. It ensures proper restriction on users and applications inside a network to severely reduce the damage if caused by any chance.

Implement Principle of Least Privilege

This principle acts as a preventative measure to deter hackers and limit access rights to users. It restricts access to information relevant and necessary for users roles.

Enable real-time monitoring to detect malicious activity quickly

Real-time monitoring helps improve the efficacy results by constantly keeping a check so as to detect, investigate and remediate intrusions. Identity centric controls are extended to the endpoint, this makes sures every device is recognised and verified before getting access to the corporate resource.

Protect high power privileged accounts

Sensitive data and critical infrastructure is of utmost importance, the privileged accounts, credentials, and secrets must be protected throughout the pipeline. Continuous monitoring prevents malicious insiders and external attackers from reducing the attack surface.

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