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What is the Zero Trust Security Model and Why is it Important?

Philip Robinson
| Read Time 5 min read| Updated On - January 30, 2023

Zero Trust Security

Zero Trust is a security model that assumes that no user, device, or application is inherently trusted, and all that network entities should be verified before being granted access. This model is based on the principle of least privilege (PoLP), meaning that each user, application, and the device should only be granted access to the resources they need in order to perform their tasks.

What are the main principles behind Zero Trust?

The main principles behind the Zero Trust security model are the following;

  • Establishing a secure perimeter;
  • Utilizing micro-segmentation to limit access to only the resources/services needed for a specific user, device, or application;
  • Verifying the identity of all users, devices, and applications before granting access;
  • Implementing multi-factor authentication;
  • Establishing secure access control policies; and…
  • Incorporating automated threat detection technologies to monitor, report, and respond to anomalous network activity, in real-time.

What are the benefits of Zero Trust?

By verifying each user, device, and application before granting access, organizations can limit the risk of data breaches and other security threats. Implementing a Zero Trust architecture will provide;

  • Better protection against both internal and external threats;
  • Better visibility into how resources are accessed and used;
  • More secure cloud deployments;
  • Better hybrid workforce security;
  • Less reliance on endpoint protection;
  • A greater chance of complying with the relevant data protection laws.

What are some Zero Trust use cases?

Zero Trust security can be used in a variety of use cases. For example, it can be used to secure network access for remote workers, protect cloud-based applications, secure data stored in the cloud, and protect applications from malicious actors. It can also be used to secure access to the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and protect networks from ransomware attacks.

How to implement Zero Trust security

Organizations can implement Zero Trust security by following five key steps.

Step 1: Establish a secure perimeter

  • Use a Next-Generation firewall and Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) for advanced traffic filtering and malware detection.
  • Use a cloud-based malware detection and DDoS service to analyze traffic before it reaches your network.
  • Ensure that all software and operating systems are running the latest software and that all network devices have been properly configured.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for encrypted communication with external devices.

Step 2: Implement micro-segmentation

It is generally good practice to segregate your network incrementally, as opposed to doing it in one go. As a starting point, implement a DMZ (demilitarized zone) in order to separate and protect your local area network (LAN) from untrusted traffic. Then, spend some time learning about how data flows between the applications and segments in your network. With this information, you can develop security policies that determine your network zones, and the extent to which they can be accessed from one another. It is also a good idea to use a data classification solution to ensure that you know exactly what sensitive data you store, and where it is located, as this will help you design your network zones and establish a robust set of access controls.

Step 3: Verify the identity of all users, devices, and applications before granting access

As opposed to the traditional username and password, use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to protect your accounts from unauthorized access. Make sure that you have secure access control policies that strictly adhere to the principle of least privilege.

Step 4: Discover and classify your critical assets

As mentioned above, it is a good idea to implement a solution that will automatically discover and classify your sensitive data. After all, knowing what data you store, and where it is located is a crucial part of the Zero Trust security model. Many data-centric security solutions come with built-in data classification tools that can be configured to classify data in accordance with the relevant data privacy laws.

Step 5: Use an automated threat detection and response solution to monitor user activity

Adopt an automated, real-time threat detection and response solution to ensure that all access to privileged accounts and sensitive data is closely monitored. Anytime suspicious activity is detected, an alert should be sent to the relevant personnel, and investigated immediately. Look for a solution that uses machine learning models to identify anomalous user activity. Additionally, your chosen solution should be able to detect and respond to events that match a predefined threshold condition, such as multiple failed logon attempts, or when an unusually large number of files are encrypted within a given time-frame.

What are the limitations of Zero Trust?

The main limitation of Zero Trust security is that it can be expensive, complicated, and time-consuming to implement and manage. It can also slow down application performance and hinder productivity. Likewise, with significantly more perimeters that need to be managed and monitored, you may need to employ or train more staff.

If you’d like to see how the Lepide Data Security Platform can help develop and maintain a robust Zero Trust security model, schedule a demo with one of our engineers or start your free trial today.

Philip Robinson
Philip Robinson

Phil joined Lepide in 2016 after spending most of his career in B2B marketing roles for global organizations. Over the years, Phil has strived to create a brand that is consistent, fun and in keeping with what it’s like to do business with Lepide. Phil leads a large team of marketing professionals that share a common goal; to make Lepide a dominant force in the industry.

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