What Is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust Access

Your network is almost certainly under attack right now. With recent cyber attacks impacting federal agencies, including the many agencies are prioritizing Zero Trust security architecture to protect their data.

Zero Trust, or Zero Trust Access, is the term applied to the strategy which assumes that you cannot trust the individual or device until verified.  The good guys, the bad guys, and all devices are the same and should not be trusted automatically. Proof of trust is verified with credentials.

The term was first coined in 1994 by Stephan Paul Marsh at the University of Stirling as part of his doctoral thesis that focused on trust. Over the next ten years, it became part of the tech vernacular as it relates to defining the perimeter of security access.

Modern cyber threats exist on both sides of traditional network boundaries. That’s why Zero Trust architecture is shaped around business outcomes to maintain user productivity while defending the network from both internal and external sources.

Without Zero Trust Architecture a compromised device gives a malicious actor access to the network. Since the actor could access the network, they’re assumed to be trustworthy and can move freely about, causing widespread destruction or exfiltration of sensitive data.

Adopting a Zero Trust framework can harden your environment against attacks and minimize the impact if your organization is compromised.

Three Principles

While implementing a zero trust strategy can happen in different ways, a zero trust architecture will always have similar elements.

  • User/Application authentication – grouped together since some actions are automated
  • Device authentication – consideration of access scenarios, will access be granted through a mobile phone, IoT device, different locations, etc
  • Trust layers – evaluation of access based on application layers rather than overall network access
  • Interaction – a way of duplicating verification through interactivity

Working together, these principles are modeled on the “never trust, always verify” foundation. And that means that even if they are connected to a corporate LAN, they need to be verified. The complexity of today’s technology landscape means that we cannot operate on any assumptions. Just because a device or login exists on a network, verification or validation should not be automatic.

Security From Start to Stop

EscapeWire is here to help identify gaps in your business cyber defenses. Additionally, our ongoing training program and other resources address the human factor of cybersecurity to further minimize the chance of a cyber breach.

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