The landscape of work has fundamentally changed, with a growing remote workforce that needs access to networks that a singular, monolithic corporate firewall has traditionally protected. With employees now requiring global access from various devices, the function of cyber security has evolved to accommodate this wider access. A highly effective security methodology that maintains the stringent security controls necessary to accommodate remote access is the Zero Trust policy.
Just as its name suggests, zero trust policies for network security function under a simple tenant: “never trust, always verify.” By using this “no trust” approach to users from both within and outside a network, businesses can apply rigorous access protocols that protect their network, data, and other sensitive information.
Functioning under the assumption that all network traffic is untrustworthy, appropriately meticulous steps are necessary before allowing any user access to a network, whether they are a long-time employee or a third-party contractor.
According to NIST, the objective of Zero Trust is “to prevent unauthorized access to data and services coupled with making the access control enforcement as granular as possible.”
With this in mind, there are five steps to constructing a Zero Trust security approach that firms must implement for network protection to function optimally.
1. Segment the Network
Network segmentation involves dividing networks into several smaller subnets. This network segregation is a core tenant of proper Zero Trust architecture, as it constructs boundaries around each segment based on accessibility and function. Furthermore, smaller segmented networks can easily manage access based on the nature of the information contained in that subnetwork.
2. Optimize Identity and Access Management
Applying multifactor authentication is another cornerstone of Zero Trust architecture. Protecting against credential theft is critical, and using multifactor authentication in combination with role-based access means only those with explicit permission have specific network access.
3. Restrict Access At the Firewall
Movement between networks should be significantly restricted and only allowed for those users with a critical need for cross-segment access. Disable all automatic network access unless there is a clear need.
4. Add Application Context to the Firewall
Cybersecurity should be structured to ensure that the information being passed between networks is contextually relevant and that the content matches the applications for what is being shared over the connection. This inspection technology can protect against outside infiltration into connected networks.
5. Track, Log, and Analyze Security Events
Finally, having a dedicated data collection and management system in place is crucial to tracking the health of your network security. The collation and analysis of data can be performed by a security information and event management (SEIM) program that centralizes and organizes vast amounts of data into a format easily accessed and analyzed by network security experts.
Business owners must seriously address their responsibility for the security of their networks. On-site or in the cloud, a firm can be reduced to rubble in the event of a crippling security breach. Zero Trust policies provide the most robust protection of network data available today.
The above five steps will help organizations get startedon their course to a Zero Trust security model. Such a model ensures that firms are best adapted to evolving cybersecurity threats, both on-premises and in the cloud. Business and technology leaders who are ready to audit their current cybersecurity model and elevate their structure can contact It’s Just Results to discuss a security audit and upgrade. Whether you need implementation or management, It’s Just Results has the cybersecurity expertise to transform network security into the latest Zero Trust architecture.