Written by George Wilkes on May 06, 2019
Three Steps to Achieving Zero Trust Security
The evolution of IT has greatly outpaced that of cybersecurity. While security hasn’t stood still, it hasn’t progressed effectively to address today’s digital and gig economy realities.
In today’s digital world, IT is distributed, hybrid, and on-demand, broadening the scope of organizations’ attack surfaces. The workforce, like today’s data, is mobile, and requests to access sensitive networks can come from anywhere. Complexity is rampant, putting security teams under immense pressure to protect data wherever it is: on premise, in the cloud, or elsewhere. Finally, threats are pervasive and constantly evolving – defenses need to evolve as well.
Security strategies must involve the Zero Trust model, a paradigm shift Forrester defines as “a fundamental transformation of corporate security from a failed perimeter-centric approach”.
In order to achieve Zero Trust security, focus is imperative. It requires addressing three fundamental challenges to become cyber resilient, which can minimize complexity and establish a secure foundation for an organization’s future.
1) Reduce Your Attack Surface
There are too many entry points and paths leading to your sensitive data. You need to make resources, wherever they reside, invisible to unauthorized people and devices. Attack surface reduction also requires limiting the lateral movement an individual can make once they have gained network access.
This is all achievable with a Software-Defined Perimeter that cloaks ports of entry and deploys fine-grained microsegmentation for a secure one-to-one privileged access connection to permitted resources. The Zero Trust model refers to this as the Principle of Least Privilege.
2) Secure User Access
Zero Trust security requires replacing the old “trust, then verify” model with an identity-centric approach that factors in context before granting secure network access. Gone are the days when a known IP address and password were enough to ensure the user behind the device is who she says she is.
Attempting to achieve Zero Trust security by gluing together VPNs, NACs and various types of Firewalls introduces unneeded complexity. A Software-Defined Perimeter presents a better approach to network security that embodies the principles of Zero Trust security, reduces operational complexity and unifies secure access across your hybrid organization. When coupled with a unified multifactor authentication solution you can prevent bad actors from gaining application access and prevent data breaches.
3) Neutralizing Adversaries
Identifying and mitigating threats requires the balance of knowing and remedying your vulnerabilities before your adversary (offense), as well as actively monitoring for and removing threats (defense).
Your front line consists of employees and the online environments they access; this is where adversaries actively prey on a workforce. Enterprises must monitor their digital footprint to proactively detect and remove threats before they reach vulnerable employees.
Being complacent in today’s threat ridden world will end in disaster. Organizations must continuously search for vulnerabilities and hunt for threats that have bypassed preventative controls. Cyber resilience requires deep analytics and specialized expertise to unearth where you are most vulnerable and how an adversary could get in. True cyber-resilience goes well beyond simply passing a compliance audit.
Ultimately, security needs to catch up with IT and the Zero Trust model can get you there. By embracing the three steps outlined above, organizations can become more secure and less complex. Learn more about how Cyxtera Essential Defense provides a focused approach to Zero Trust.