Why is Zero Trust Important? (3/4)

by | Oct 27, 2022 | Cyber Risk

This is the second part of a multi-part series. We encourage you to also read the blog: Zero Trust 101 for SMEs and What is Zero Trust.

It is critical to develop a Zero Trust policy or strategy that will result in significant security improvements and lower the risk of data breaches. No actor may be trusted until they’ve been verified with Zero Trust. It’s a long-term security policy that ensures that everyone and everything who has access is who and what they say they are. Implementing Zero Trust has a number of advantages:

  • Zero Trust solutions prevent all apps and services from communicating until their identity attributes—immutable qualities that comply with predefined trust rules like authentication and authorization—are confirmed. ‍As a result, Zero Trust decreases business and organizational risk by revealing what’s on the network and how those assets communicate. After baselines are established, a Zero Trust strategy reduces risk by eliminating overprovisioned software and services and reviewing the “credentials” of every communication asset on a regular basis.
  • A Zero Trust security architecture applies security policies based on the identity of communicating workloads and is directly linked to the workloads themselves. This keeps security as close to the assets that require protection as possible, unaffected by network constructs such as IP addresses, ports, and protocols. Protection follows the workload and remains constant even when the environment changes. 
  • Every entity is assumed hostile based on the principle of least privilege. Before “trust” is granted, each request is examined, users and devices are authenticated, and permissions are evaluated. This “trust” is then constantly reassessed as the user’s location or the data being accessed changes. An attacker who gains access to your network or cloud instance via a compromised device or other vulnerability will be unable to access or steal your data if there is no trust. Furthermore, because the Zero Trust model creates a “secure segment of one” with no lateral movement, the attacker will be trapped. 
  • Using fine-grained controls to separate regulated and non-regulated data, zero trust micro segmentation allows you to create perimeters around certain types of sensitive data (e.g., payment card data, data backups). Microsegmentation provides superior visibility and control during audits and in the event of a data breach when compared to the over privileged access of many flat network architectures.

6 Key Tenets of NIST Zero Trust Architecture

NIST advises that a few fundamental principles be taken into account to guarantee the success of any zero trust security implementation before delving into the zero trust architecture. These 6 Key guidelines serve as the cornerstone of an architecture that upholds the zero-trust tenets.

Defining Devices

  • To fully implement Zero Trust, businesses must treat all data sources and computing services as resources. This includes devices that exchange data with aggregators, software as a service (SaaS), and various types of endpoints that connect to and communicate with the network.

Securing Communications

  • All requests must meet preset security requirements. Trust can never be implied, so the same security verifications must be applicable to all.

Session-Based Resource Access

  • All requests must adhere to predefined security standards. Because trust can never be implied, the same security verifications must apply to all.

Attribute-Based Policy Enforcement

  • The collection of access guidelines that an organization assigns to a user, a data asset, or an application is known as a policy. These properties could be features of the device, such as the location, the time of the request, the software version, etc. Depending on how sensitive the resource is, behavioral attributes determined by user and device analytics may also be taken into account.

Dynamic Authentication and Authorization

  • Granting access, detecting and identifying threats, and reevaluating trust on a regular basis must be an ongoing process. Asset management systems and multi-factor authentication (MFA) must be in place, as well as constant monitoring, to guarantee that re-authentication and re-authorization are carried out in alignment with policies.

Policy Fine-Tuning

  • Businesses must collect as much information as they can on the state of their network and communications systems and utilize it to gradually strengthen their security posture. The knowledge acquired from this data helps with the development of new policies and the improvement of current security measures to offer proactive protection.

How to apply a Zero Trust approach to your IoT solutions

  • Ensure you can trust its validity, register devices, provide renewable credentials, employ passwordless authentication and use a hardware root of trust before making any judgments. 
  • Minimize blast radius with least-privileged access. 
  • Monitor device health to gate access or flag devices for remediation. 
  • Continue updates regularly to maintain the health of gadgets. 
  • Implement detecting and responding to emerging dangers through security monitoring.

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