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    Why Is the Zero Trust Network Security Model Necessary?

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    In a zero-trust security policy, no device or user is trusted from inside or outside the network perimeter. The security model provides visibility and protection across distributed, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments.

    IT leaders recognize that they must move to this new security model but worry about the impact on business-as-usual and the time needed to implement.

    Authentication

    What is a zero trust network security model? The zero trust model requires users and devices always to be verified, even if they’ve been granted system access in the past. This is achieved by using granular context-based policies that continuously evaluate security posture and assess risk. This minimizes lateral movement by attackers and the spread of malware if a breach occurs.

    Another component of zero trust is microsegmentation. This involves reorganizing a network into protected zones defined by value, use, workflow traffic, and other factors. The zones are then separated by a secure gateway that acts as a firewall between each segment. This limits a breach’s “blast radius” and allows the security teams to detect and shut down attacks quickly.

    Implementing an authentic zero-trust architecture is not a quick fix, nor is it something that can be handled by one team. It’s a process that requires the involvement of every business unit and department, especially those that are driving digital transformation initiatives. For example, a cybersecurity team may manage the network infrastructure tools that enable a zero-trust deployment. At the same time, the business units should be responsible for managing the endpoints that connect to the security perimeter. Zero trust requires a new mindset and a different approach to managing and protecting an organization. Organizations must form a dedicated zero-trust team to collect the necessary changes and ensure the security and privacy of the business’s most valuable assets to succeed.

    Access Control

    The Zero Trust network security model follows the mantra “never trust, always verify.” It assumes that everyone is a threat until proven otherwise. This means granting access only after identity, device, and permissions are checked, whether the user is inside a private network, working from home on a personal laptop, or at a conference across the globe. This approach prevents attackers from stealing data and moving laterally through the network.

    A zero-trust strategy limits privileged access to sensitive information, even on a single account. This is a critical component of the principle of least privilege, which requires multi-factor authentication for all users and limits access to a small number of devices or accounts with administrative rights. For example, when employees use 2-factor authorization (2FA) to log in to online platforms, they must enter a code sent to their mobile phone and their password. This reduces the likelihood of compromised credentials being used to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data.

    Zero trust security is necessary to protect against sophisticated threats as the lines between work and life blur, and employees work from various locations. Zero trust is essential for protecting cloud, IoT, supply chain applications, and traditional networking infrastructure. As an alternative to the castle-and-moat approach, it enables organizations to focus on defending their applications and data rather than securing the perimeter.

    Segmentation

    As the IT landscape continues to evolve, securing networks requires new approaches. Attackers no longer target specific applications or data from a single point; they usually piggyback on approved access and then move laterally across the network to reach their targets. Zero trust helps reduce the blast radius of these attacks by securing various entry points.

    Zero trust assumes every user and device is hostile, so granting them access without further validation would be a significant risk. That’s why it focuses on verifying identities and permissions at a much more granular level rather than relying on static attributes such as an IP address or password. In addition, a zero-trust model continuously receives real-time data and assesses all requests to verify users and devices are authorized to access the system.

    This is challenging to achieve with traditional security solutions relying on implicit trust and a perimeter separating private and public data and applications. In many cases, these vendors require you to build a framework from the ground up to support their technologies, which adds complexity and cost to your infrastructure. However, implementing a fully zero-trust architecture can be simple and seamless for your organization with the right tools and approach. A Fortinet Zero Trust Network (ZTNA) solution can provide the visibility and security controls you need to transition seamlessly.

    Automation

    The Zero Trust model takes a “never trust, always verify” approach to user identity and device security. It requires user identification, authentication, and authorization — regardless of location (likely inside or outside the network perimeter). This means no trusted access is granted unless everything is vetted through an accelerated process that combines risk-based multi-factor authentication, identity protection technologies, next-generation endpoint security, and robust cloud workload technology.

    It also entails the concept of least privilege access, giving users only what they need to do their jobs. This helps prevent attackers from getting a foothold on an internal system and moving laterally, resulting in costly breaches and data loss.

    Finally, it includes continuous monitoring and logging of user and device behavior, which is then compared to baselines of regular activity and used to detect abnormal movements that indicate active threats. This ensures that suspicious events are immediately detected, isolated, and acted upon in real time.

    Implementing a Zero Trust architecture that addresses all three core principles can provide enterprises with an advanced layer of cybersecurity protection for their networks, applications, and data, even in the face of BYOD work policies and remote workforces. It can also ease the path toward achieving new regulatory compliance certificates like GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA.

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    Shabi
    Shabi
    Shabi is a passionate gamer and the driving force behind Gaming Ideology. With a love for exploring diverse game genres and a talent for insightful writing, Shabi aims to inspire and inform the gaming community with engaging content and expert perspectives.