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Zero Trust Security – A Game-Changer for Cybersecurity Resilience

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Zero trust security is gaining momentum as organizations look to stay ahead of cyber threats and avoid breaches. The security model is built on several core principles, including continuous verification, limiting access to data and computing devices, and consistently enforcing all policies. Enterprises must implement a comprehensive zero-trust strategy guided by these critical principles to succeed.

Never Trust – Always Verify

To build cybersecurity resilience, an organization must be proactive in defending against attacks, not reactive in responding to breaches. The zero trust security model provides a framework to help organizations achieve this by verifying everything and continuously monitoring to identify anomalies. This approach helps ensure that all users and devices (human and machine) are authenticated, authorized, and trusted before they are allowed to access resources.

This approach is critical in securing an organization’s most vital assets. It requires all user access (both human and machine) to be verified – on-prem, in the cloud, and hybrid. It involves risk-based multi-factor authentication, next-generation endpoint protection, and robust cloud workload technologies to ensure a security context is captured for every user. It also requires micro-segmentation of the network so that the “blast radius” is limited in case a breach does occur in one area.

This new paradigm requires a new way of thinking for the business and cybersecurity teams. Cyber teams must engage with the business more regularly to understand the security challenges from a business perspective and to ensure they are addressing them in a way aligned with business priorities. And IT security leaders must invest in zero trust to provide this level of security. NIST SP 800-207 defines a comprehensive zero-trust architecture with standards that must be adhered to to meet this requirement.

Microsegmentation

Zero Trust relies on the simple but powerful motto, “Never trust, always verify.” Every user, device, and application is assumed to be malicious until mutual authentication and authorization occur. This is achieved through firewalls, filtering, analytics, and logging to watch for signs of compromise and continuously protect against threats. Whether inside a private network or at the edge of the cloud, each person and device must be authenticated and verified before access.

Microsegmentation takes this further, providing security controls down to the host level. This allows for more granular policies, ensuring applications and data are isolated, even in the most dynamic environments. This is especially useful in a hybrid cloud environment where many workloads are distributed across multiple servers, virtual machines, and containers.

It is also helpful for separating a company’s development and production environments. This enables a more stringent policy to be put in place that limits the connections between those environments, eliminating the potential for careless or dangerous behavior, such as using live data for testing. Additionally, most micro-segmentation solutions will include logging capabilities, which provide more visibility into the lateral movement of threats after they gain initial access to an organization’s system. This will help with incident response, reducing the impact of an attack.

Dynamic Access Control

Dynamic access control is the most effective way to reduce the attack surface. Every user, device, and application must be continuously verified to limit access to critical information and services. Zero Trust is all about this and why it’s become a strategic framework for organizations that want to take a proactive stance against unseen threats.

Dynamic access control models – like RBAC and MAC – provide the foundation for a robust Zero Trust security framework. These models allow access only to those parts of the network and data required by business function and implement fundamental security principles such as least privilege access and separation of duties.

In addition to a robust authentication system that provides a high level of confidence that an individual is who they say they are, dynamic access control models should include continuous monitoring for risk-based reauthentication and elevated authentication. They should also utilize fresh contexts – such as sessions, third-party data, and policy changes – to help make real-time authorization decisions.

To be effective, dynamic access control requires architectures that provide easy integration with the diverse formats and protocols used by the many contextual data sources. It also demands architectures to distribute and cache data locally near the authorization decision points to deliver high performance and cost efficiency.

Continuous Monitoring and Validation

Continual monitoring allows businesses to detect and respond to cyber threats as they occur. This can be accomplished using automated tools that monitor performance and events across an organization’s entire security stack, including software, infrastructure, and networks. Continuous monitoring also includes advanced technologies like AI and ML, which can quickly identify anomalies that would be difficult for human eyes to detect.

A robust monitoring system should be able to analyze the entire data ecosystem in real-time, detecting and responding to both existing and emerging threats. It should be able to leverage threat intelligence sources to stay up-to-date on the latest vulnerabilities, attack vectors, and industry trends. It should be able to automatically identify potential vulnerabilities and then test and validate them against your organization’s security controls.

It is important to remember that the threat landscape changes daily. Traditional point-in-time control testing is no longer effective because the threats and your organization’s systems are evolving faster. A Continuous Security Validation (CTEM) approach enables you to take the adversary’s perspective and stress-test your security stance. CTEM programs use an attack simulation tool such as Cymulate to continuously attack your systems and demonstrate if your defenses can be breached.

Devin Haneyhttps://www.boxityourself.com/
Hi there! This is Devin Haney. I am a Freelancer. I love to Blogging. I would love to connect with everyone here. On relaxing Sunday afternoon you will find me.

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