How To Implement Zero Trust Security Model?

Zero Trust Security Model

Published on July 1st, 2022

IBM puts the cost of a data breach at about $4.24 million — a figure that has grown overboard than ever was and as such, medium and small business owners must be more urgent in their approach to intensifying the security structure of their company.

The good part is that the accelerated adoption of hybrid work models and the increasing dependence on cloud technology quickly make “zero-trust” the de facto security structure in digitally transformed organizations.

The conventional system prioritized firewall dependence, granting trust to users and devices requesting access once they can bypass firewalls. This, however, paved the way for increased data breaches and cyber-attacks.

With the increase in remote work and wireless networks, the ‘trust’ concept was necessarily wiped out. ‘Zero Trust,’ also meaning ‘No Trust,’ is a great way to sanitize your company’s network and prevent threats and attacks through repeated authentication processes.

NordLayer Zero Trust solution allows you to create a security strategy that ensures multiple checkpoints and Zero Trust policies regarding authentication and identification of devices and users.

Zero Trust Basic Principles

The National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication (NIST SP) 800-207 weighed in on the Zero Trust and the principles guiding it, and some of the basic principles highlighted include:

  • Assuming a breach situation
  • Assuming that companies’ environment is not more trustworthy than environments that are non-enterprise-owned.
  • Repeatedly engaging in risk analysis and assessment.
  • Limiting access to company assets and user control.
  • Continuously implementing risk mitigation security.
  • Frequently authorizing and authenticating security and identity for all access requests.

7 Zero-Trust Security Implementation Strategies

1. Identify Hybrid Environments

With the high rate of the attack surface expanding, especially due to hybrid systems and the internet of things, it becomes harder to keep up with the developing threat landscape and ensure network security. The attack surface of a software or network environment is the vulnerable point that gives unauthorized request access leverage to use network resources.

Kick-starting the Zero Trus architecture begins with the IT and security teams carefully and systematically assessing and pinpointing potential paths to threats and attacks on a network. This restrains the possibility of a data breach. The teams implement this by segmenting networks and devices’ identities, types, or group functions. However, if you don’t have proper data on what is unprotected on your network, you’ll find it difficult to comprehend the active situation of your security. And when this happens, implementing Zero Trust may be unproductive.

2. Understand Vital Process Flows

Determining and understanding vital process flows is critical to establishing a protected surface with the current trend of operations on various networks. The protect surface is what your business finds most valuable – data, critical applications, assets, and services (DAAS). These features are essential to the day-to-day running of your business.

Before creating policies and rules and acquiring tools to implement policies, it is always very important to assess the pathways and process flow across different services, apps, devices, and users.

Consider questions like ‘How can the company boost network security without causing a defect in the overall user experience? And, ‘what can help my workforce to become more efficient and productive?

Offer access to resources and data only required to complete tasks per time. In addition, you should consider robust management solutions to limit potential attacks on your network.

3. Make Policies And Regulations To Manage The Network Microperimeter

After identifying the critical process flows and pathways, you can move on to characterize the protect surface. It would help if you also devised policies and regulations to manage the network perimeter to create more granularity across endpoints.

As Zero Trust focuses on the attack surface micro-level, defining your protect surface becomes easy. And with traffic flows mapped out across an enterprise network, providing adequate security becomes easy. In addition, you can enforce secure access controls and optimize operations by documenting them correctly.

Also, security teams must work together with key players in a company to ensure that necessary security policies are implemented, and workers are fully informed about them.

4. Deploy A Next-Generation Firewall Service

Boost your network security layers by incorporating a next-generation firewall that operates like a micro-segmentation gateway. You’ll be enforcing multiple access control layers when you build a micro perimeter around the protect surface, which would effectively inspect potential access requests to network resources within the microperimeter.

5. Create And Enforce Healthy Zero-Trust Policies

After determining your network, creating and implementing robust Zero Trust policies is important. The most efficient approach is to whitelist resource options that are eligible for secure access over others. When connecting this to your security strategy, questions to consider should include:

  • Who should be permitted to use a particular resource?
  • At what time of the day should they be able to access the network resource?
  • When should the resource be accessible?
  • At what time will they need to use resources?
  • Where is the packet destination?
  • How does the packet leverage multiple applications to access the protect surface?
  • What exactly is the purpose of accessing resources within the protect surface?
  • What applications should be permitted to access resources within the microperimeter?

6. Monitor And Enforce The Zero-trust Architecture Consistently

The only way to stay ahead of the security game is to be proactive. Modern cybersecurity strategies and protocols require that you support your security approach with real-time monitoring and dynamic governance.
You can also enforce your policies and rules at the deployment and microperimeter your Zero Trust network architecture. But put in mind that this process should prioritize your time and resources.

7. Create A System Of Accountability And Steady Security

Build a system across your company that constantly ensures accountability and upholds security. You’ll only get good and repeated security results when stakeholders are on the same page. Institute a clear and transparent multiple aspects of the Zero Trust security models. It is also very important to keep your targets realistic through teams focused on security and non-security to pinpoint and uncover vulnerable aspects. The best strategy is to identify threats early and avert devastating occurrences to the company network.