Using Zero Trust and Conditional Access Policies to Reshape Cybersecurity

Using Zero Trust and Conditional Access Policies to Reshape Cybersecurity

Eliminate trust based on location, such as within a company network, and always verify users at every access request.

Having a password that contained a random assortment of characters used to be considered the high-point of IT security.

And this system was optimal when all we needed was to be on the corporate network and were physically on-site. If traveling or working from home, a laptop and VPN would suffice.

But the ways that employees and corporations function have changed dramatically in the last ten years. We're much more mobile than we used to be, and no longer working with applications that only reside on the local server, but instead are sitting on the cloud. From a security perspective, the 'perimeter' is fast expanding, and we must update our approach to network security and access.

And users are inadvertently a risk to security:

  • 4 percent of users will click on anything
  • 28 percent of attacks involved an insider
  • Casual events caused 17 percent of breaches

Modern users are more mobile than before: Are VPNs still viable?

With the increased practice of cloud-based apps and mobile devices, users are not only more mobile but using personal devices for work at an increased rate.

  • Employees working from home and cafes
  • Contractors working offsite
  • Increased usage of mobile devices

The traditional method of using a VPN has too many disadvantages and security flaws to be viable. They give too much access and expose assets to the internet. Security experts instead recommend using zero trust VPN combined with conditional access.

What is zero trust and conditional access?

Zero trust is a cloud-based solution used to grant secure remote access to users while isolating resources such as apps and data from attacks and threats. It can be broken down into three main components:

  • Never trust—always verify
  • Successful access granted only after end-device authentication
  • Each access request is unique

Conditional access dynamically determines each access request in real-time instead of storing user credentials which may be outdated and granting access if the credentials are correct. This approach is no longer practical. What if the user inadvertently downloads a malicious app? What if their location has changed? There are too many variables for an identity-only approach.

Implied assumption of safety

The assumption of security comes from the adage that if the end-user is known and has the correct credentials, then they are not a threat. Conditional access takes into account multiple endpoint factors and provides real-time risk assessment. For instance:

  • Network - Is it a secured connection or unsecured, such as free coffee shop WiFi?
  • Operating system - The user may be missing a critical OS security update or no compliant OS
  • Location - Logging in from a suspicious location outside normal behavior
  • Device - Non-compliant devices from specific manufacturers may be blacklisted

These are just some of the holistic methods of conditional access. Dynamically checking each access request to preserve security by 'never trusting' and 'always verify.’

Do you need conditional access?

Attacks are at a record high, and we shouldn't assume that just because users are on a corporate network, they're secure. This was true 20 to 25 years ago, when only emails would leave the secured network and working offsite was a rarity, much less being able to connect to the network from outside the perimeter.

Today's attacks are much more sophisticated, and even two-factor authentication can be breached due to security flaws from the user. Fake emails, phishing scams are ever-present, and even customers at large banks fall prey to these attacks.

Integrating a zero-trust policy helps companies defend themselves from attacks by removing the assumption that the user can be trusted, to one of explicit verification.

Main takeaways

Networks that don't adapt their security approach will always remain vulnerable to attacks and breaches of data. Technology has evolved to a level of connectivity that mixes both work and pleasure across devices. Facebook, LinkedIn, OneDrive and other platforms can be accessed from nearly anywhere and on any device, expanding the security perimeter.

The only way to maintain security is to assume a zero trust policy combined with conditional access. Eliminate trust based on location, such as within a company network, and always verify users at every access request. Conditional access will further strengthen security by limiting access to high-value assets depending on the user profile at the time.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Making Safety and Security Intrinsic to School Design

    Public anxieties about school safety are escalating across the country. According to a 2023 Gallup report, 44% of parents fear for their child’s physical safety at school, a 10 percentage-point increase since 2019. Unfortunately, these fears are likely to increase if the incidence of school tragedies continues to mount. As a result, school leaders are now charged with two non-negotiable responsibilities. The first, as always, is to ensure kids have what they need to learn, grow, and thrive. Sadly, their second responsibility is to keep the children in their care safe from threats and physical danger. Read Now

  • The Power of a Layered Approach to Safety

    In a perfect world, every school would have an unlimited budget to help secure their schools. In reality, schools must prioritize what budget they have while navigating the complexities surrounding school security and lockdown. Read Now

  • How a Security System Can Enhance Arena Safety and the Fan Experience

    Ensuring guests have both a memorable experience and a safe one is no small feat for your physical security team. Stadiums, ballparks, arenas, and other large event venues are increasingly leveraging new technologies to transform the fan experience and maintain a high level of security. The goal is to preserve the integrity and excitement of the event while enhancing security and remaining “behind the scenes.” Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • HD2055 Modular Barricade

    Delta Scientific’s electric HD2055 modular shallow foundation barricade is tested to ASTM M50/P1 with negative penetration from the vehicle upon impact. With a shallow foundation of only 24 inches, the HD2055 can be installed without worrying about buried power lines and other below grade obstructions. The modular make-up of the barrier also allows you to cover wider roadways by adding additional modules to the system. The HD2055 boasts an Emergency Fast Operation of 1.5 seconds giving the guard ample time to deploy under a high threat situation. 3

  • Luma x20

    Luma x20

    Snap One has announced its popular Luma x20 family of surveillance products now offers even greater security and privacy for home and business owners across the globe by giving them full control over integrators’ system access to view live and recorded video. According to Snap One Product Manager Derek Webb, the new “customer handoff” feature provides enhanced user control after initial installation, allowing the owners to have total privacy while also making it easy to reinstate integrator access when maintenance or assistance is required. This new feature is now available to all Luma x20 users globally. “The Luma x20 family of surveillance solutions provides excellent image and audio capture, and with the new customer handoff feature, it now offers absolute privacy for camera feeds and recordings,” Webb said. “With notifications and integrator access controlled through the powerful OvrC remote system management platform, it’s easy for integrators to give their clients full control of their footage and then to get temporary access from the client for any troubleshooting needs.” 3

  • ResponderLink

    ResponderLink

    Shooter Detection Systems (SDS), an Alarm.com company and a global leader in gunshot detection solutions, has introduced ResponderLink, a groundbreaking new 911 notification service for gunshot events. ResponderLink completes the circle from detection to 911 notification to first responder awareness, giving law enforcement enhanced situational intelligence they urgently need to save lives. Integrating SDS’s proven gunshot detection system with Noonlight’s SendPolice platform, ResponderLink is the first solution to automatically deliver real-time gunshot detection data to 911 call centers and first responders. When shots are detected, the 911 dispatching center, also known as the Public Safety Answering Point or PSAP, is contacted based on the gunfire location, enabling faster initiation of life-saving emergency protocols. 3