Cybersecurity zero trust is an IT security model that requires strict identity verification for every person trying to connect with a corporate network. Moreover, this approach requires several different technologies and principles.
To compare, the traditional IT network security trusts anyone and anything inside the network. It follows a castle-and-moat approach, whereas everyone inside the network is automatically trusted. In this approach, a hacker can freely do everything they desire once they pass through the external layer of security.
However, as the name implies, cybersecurity zero trust does not trust anyone or anything. No one is trusted by default from inside or outside the network. This approach has taken the attention of security professionals as it is proven to prevent data breaches. After all, a data breach could deeply hurt a company’s financial status. Studies have shown that the average cost of a breach is over $3 million.
Guiding Principles In Cybersecurity Zero Trust
Today, companies no longer store data in just one place due to the popularity of cloud computing. Hence, the castle-and-moat approach is not as effective as it was.
It is now time for the cybersecurity zero trust approach to take its place.
Continuous monitoring and validation
This approach assumes that there are threats both within and outside of the network. Hence, it continuously verifies user identity and privileges. For instance, logins and connections timeout periodically. As result, users and devices need continuous re-verification.
This means that users will receive the level of access they only need to carry out their tasks. This minimizes each user’s exposure to sensitive parts of the network. You need to carefully manage user permission in this approach. For instance, logging in to VPNs gives a user access to the whole connected network. Hence, you might need to avoid using VPNs in a zero-trust approach.
Device access control
This approach not only verifies user access. It also strictly controls device access by monitoring how many devices are trying to access the private network. Moreover, it ensures that every device has authorization and safe from compromise.
This is the practice of breaking up security parameters into small zones. As result, users need to undergo verification in every part of the network. This makes it harder for hackers to compromise the entire network even if they gain access from the outside.
Preventing lateral movement
Lateral movement is when an attacker moves within a network after gaining access to it. Since zero trust involves micro-segmentation, an attacker cannot move within the network. The system can quarantine a compromised device or user account once the attacker’s presence is detected.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
MFA is also a core part of cybersecurity zero trust. In MFA, simply entering a password is not enough to gain access. The most common example of MFA is a one-time password (OTP), whereas the system sends a unique code to your phone or email once you attempt to log in. Thus, you’ll need to provide two pieces of evidence to prove what you claim to be.