Zero trust security explained

Zero Trust Security Explained: Everything You Need To Know

Most organizations today use corporate networks that rely on cloud-based services and infrastructures to provide remote access to their teams. While these features make it easier for employees to access files from anywhere, they also make it easier for hackers to compromise sensitive data.

The zero trust security model provides perimeterless security that combats potential threats by requiring verification from each user and device every time they try to access an organization’s network, regardless of where they are located or whether they previously had permission. This makes it easier for security teams to determine who should have access to their network and mitigate risks as the landscape of cloud security continues to evolve.

What Is Zero Trust Security?

Zero trust security is a system that validates users who are inside and outside of the company’s network perimeter by requiring strict identity verification for each user and device every time they try to access the network. This framework also integrates multifactor authentication, which requires users to input a unique code every time they try to access the network in addition to their normal password. Users may receive this unique code via email, text message, or phone call.

Zero trust security systems also allow the organization to restrict access controls once a user is inside the network. While traditional and perimeter network security systems follow the “trust, then verify” method and focus primarily on keeping attackers out of the organization’s perimeter, the zero trust security system follows a “verify, then trust” mindset and only grants users access to the specific files they need for their job role. This prevents attackers who have accessed an organization’s network with rogue credentials from freely accessing the network’s applications, data, and files.

Why Is Zero Trust Security Important?

Whether your network is local, cloud based, or a hybrid version, implementing a zero trust security framework can help you address growing security challenges as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand rapidly. This system can also help you identify potential threats faster and and stop attackers before they access your network. Some examples of threats a zero trust system may help you prevent include:

  • Phishing emails targeting employees
  • A compromised application host
  • Stolen developer passwords and application database credentials

Zero trust systems can also help improve governance, user compliance, and business processes by:

  • Providing visibility into users, components, and devices across the environment to make enforcing policies easier
  • Preventing data breaches and deterring hackers
  • Offering protection across multiple computing and containerized environments
  • Helping organizations increase scalability, reliability, and resistance
  • Documenting logs, reports, and alerts when threats are detected
  • Implementing identity verification and behavioral analysis
  • Providing a borderless security strategy capable of spanning a global workforce

4 Core Principles of Zero Trust Security

Here are the four basic principles the zero trust model uses to keep data secure:

  • Reexamining each default access control through multifactor authentication: The zero trust system sees every unique attempt to access an organization’s network as a potential threat. Instead of asking users for a single password, the zero trust system sends them a new code to a separate device, such as a cellphone, every time they try to log in to verify who they are. This helps mitigate the cyber risks of working from home by helping you maintain control over your IT environments and improving cybersecurity for remote workers.
  • Implementing a wide range of preventative techniques: The zero trust system leverages techniques that combine user identities and behaviors, multifactor authentication, and advanced data analytics to develop a broad security strategy.
  • Monitoring controls in real time: Zero trust systems rely on continuous monitoring and inspection of traffic and activities to identify potential threats. This system also establishes user account baselines to detect abnormal behavior quickly.
  • Granting privilege-controlled access: By only granting users access to the data they absolutely need to perform their duties, zero trust security systems reduce unauthorized access. Zero trust systems also segment parts of the network to limit lateral access. Cyber attackers often use lateral movement to access files that are stored deeper in the network, so limiting lateral access can help keep sensitive data and valuable assets more secure.

How To Implement a Zero Trust Security System

While executing this framework requires the combination of advanced technologies, endpoint security, and identity protection technology, you can start by analyzing and organizing the data you currently have. Here are some steps to help you implement a zero trust security system in your organization:

  • Identify sensitive data: Start by analyzing your data to identify sensitive documents, files, and information. Then prioritize your data based on sensitivity, determine where you plan to store it, and review who has access.
  • Establish and control user access: Consider what limits you can place on different users, applications, devices, and processes to keep your data safe. For example, executive level employees may be the only people in your organization that need access to financial or legal files. Taking this step can limit sensitive data exposure and make it harder for hackers to find it even if they access your network.
  • Assess potential threats: Zero trust security systems compare previous user behaviors and analytics with current activity to detect anomalies and potential threats. This requires organizations to develop a baseline of their team’s normal activities and assess network users continuously to ensure they have the correct privileges.

Final Thoughts on Zero Trust Security Systems

By now, you can understand the benefits of implementing a zero trust security system and how it can protect your organization’s data. This rigorous and perimeterless security approach can deter hackers while allowing your team members seamless access to the information they need to work from anywhere in the world. A simple internet search can help you learn more about the many existing zero trust security system providers, help you compare prices, and select the features that are the most important to you.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact vCom Solutions to see how we can help coordinate and implement an effective zero trust security system that protects your organization and your data.