What is Zero Trust?

    The term “Zero Trust” refers to a cybersecurity framework devised to empower a stronger security posture through the implementation of strict access controls. The approach is predicated on the principle of least privilege, which mandates that users are granted the minimum level of access required to perform authorized tasks. Zero trust is an essential aspect of comprehensive and proactive cybersecurity, playing a key role in helping organizations manage risk and maintain a high level of threat resilience.

    How does Zero Trust work?

    The concept of Zero Trust can be neatly encapsulated in the widely-used motto, “Never trust, always verify”. To illustrate what this means in practice, let’s compare it to more traditional security approaches.

    In traditional security, organizations typically establish a network perimeter – a boundary that encloses their local IT environment, separating it from the public Internet. Users, devices, and applications within that perimeter are authenticated, after which point they are considered trustworthy. This is often referred to as the “circle of trust”, but this concept does not exist in Zero Trust security.

    Zero Trust operates on the idea that every user, device, and application could be a threat until proven otherwise, regardless of whether it has already been established within the network perimeter. It emphasizes the utilization of continuous authentication in conjunction with strict, granular access controls to empower real-time threat detection and risk mitigation.

    The Zero Trust approach can be broken down into five primary components:

    • Least access: The minimum required level of access should be permitted at all times.
    • Verification: All access attempts must be authenticated, regardless of whether they originate from within the network. 
    • Network segmentation: Networks are compartmentalized into manageable subsections to prevent threats from spreading.
    • Continuous monitoring: Activity in network segments must be monitored at all times to detect threats in real-time.
    • Assumed breach: Admins operate on the assumption that their network has already been breached to promote maximal vigilance.

    What is Zero Trust Architecture?

    Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) is the implementation of Zero Trust principles in the design, implementation, and maintenance of networks. Zero trust architecture is characterized by the use of techniques like network segmentation and continuous monitoring and the utilization of technologies such as data encryption, analytics, and identity and access management (IAM) tools. Through the implementation of these techniques and technologies, Zero Trust Architecture establishes a robust and adaptive security perimeter that is managed with the utmost vigilance.

    How can organizations implement Zero Trust?

    Organizations can implement Zero Trust by adopting a phased approach, as follows:

    • Identify all critical assets and data requiring protection.
    • Define clear access policies for assets and resources.
    • Deploy access control, monitoring, detection, and response tools to enforce access controls, monitor network activity, and ensure real-time threat detection.
    • Engage in continuous monitoring, regularly assessing, and upscaling security measures according to organizational needs and threat intelligence.

    What are the benefits of Zero Trust?

    Zero Trust offers a variety of important benefits to organizations that adopt the approach. These include the following:

    • Enhanced threat resilience
    • Reduced attack surface
    • Improve network visibility and control
    • Reduced business risk

    Assuming control of security with Zero Trust

    Zero Trust is an approach that represents a new mentality in cybersecurity. In an age where threats are becoming more elusive and penetrative, Zero Trust empowers organizations to be proactive in their cyber defense by asserting more control over how their vital assets are accessed and protected. By implementing the principles of Zero Trust into network infrastructure and security practices, organizations can enhance their overall posture and ensure they stay protected against evolving cyber threats.

    Glossary related terms
    Automated Penetration Testing Automated Security Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) External Attack Surface Management (EASM) Red Teaming Security Control Validation Security Validation Vulnerability Management