Reasons to Implement a Zero Trust Security Model

Reasons to Implement a Zero Trust Security Model

Six reasons companies should implement a Zero Trust Security Mode.

Growing insider threats, the proliferation of endpoint devices and the rise of the cloud have transformed best-practices security strategies. IT teams now need to go beyond basic blocking-and-tackling functions like creating a group policy to prevent users from writing data on flash drives to USB ports to embrace multi-factor authentication, micro-segmentation and other newer strategies.

In this article, I am highlighting six reasons companies should implement a Zero Trust Security Mode.

Combat internal threats

Many network security threats originate internally, yet most organizations leave their internal wired and wireless networks trusted and continue to focus on securing the network edge. Unsecured internal networks make organizations vulnerable to attacks like WannaCry ransomware running on workstations or IoT devices being compromised to gain network access. The zero trust security model helps plug these loopholes.

Address new network realities

The definition of internal networks is shifting as more employees work remotely and critical applications are hosted in the cloud. As a result, the process of determining if a network component is trusted or non-trusted is becoming increasingly challenging. Eliminating trusted points of entry onto the network with zero trust security recognizes that the line between trusted and non-trusted has blurred to the point where it is no longer relevant.

Avoid the pitfalls of security exceptions and firewall rules

Trying to determine what network components are trusted versus non-trusted leads to complex security solutions that are challenging to manage and tend to force the implementation of security exceptions that inevitably lead to vulnerabilities. Organizations tend to place security checkpoint boundaries in the form of firewalls and implement thousands of firewall rules that are frequently too broad and too numerous for administrators to enforce. With zero trust security, network access policy is applied once the device is deemed trusted instead of when the traffic hits a firewall. This increases protection as well as reducing management overhead related to trusted/non-trusted policies and firewall rules.

Nip security threats in the bud

Many organizations use a passive approach to network security. Threats are stopped after identification when the damage has already been done. As an active security solution in which all devices are untrusted, the zero trust model stops the access and spread of attack even if the organization’s security team has not identified the attack.

Limit access through segmentation

A proper zero trust solution focuses on segmentation and role-based access control. Segmentation by the least privilege strategy enables organizations to allow the minimum necessary network access to users and endpoints. This in turn reduces the impact of malicious behavior and compartmentalizes attacks and vulnerabilities. For example, the IoT explosion makes endpoint security impossible because of the need to manage hundreds to thousands of endpoint types. Limiting network access by IoT devices to only what is needed to function prevents the spread of an attack when a device is compromised.

Increase event traceability

In a zero trust solution, traffic is not allowed through until the source is authenticated and authorized. The application of authentication and authorization policies requires credentials and context applied to all users and endpoints – that is, defining security policy around identity and context. This visibility allows granular network control, analytics and event traceability back to the user or endpoint. With visibility and context enabled, behavior analysis can baseline network behavior in order to instantly prevent the spread of attacks when a security event happens.

About the Author

Michael Sciacero is the Networking & Security Practice Architect at Insight Enterprises.

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