What is Zero Trust or Bust and Why It Matters to Data Security

Zero Trust
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A Zero Trust strategy begins with data protection and then adds extra levels of security. For example, suppose an attacker breaches your perimeter controls, exploits a misconfiguration, or bribes an insider. To begin, it is vulnerable to both external and internal threats. External threats include malware and ransomware. Internal threats can come from malicious insiders operating from trusted accounts.

For example, insiders can become a threat by clicking on a phishing link or falling for a social engineering scam

In addition, missing a database update or making a tiny configuration change could provide an attacker with the entry point necessary to infiltrate an organization. Zero Trust is a framework that should protect against all of these attack vectors.

 Zero Trust has grown in popularity as a security framework. Recent large-scale data breaches demonstrate that businesses must be more active in their Cybersecurity efforts, particularly when it comes to data protection, and a Zero Trust model may be the best way.

 Zero Trust implies that no one should trust — not even people behind a firewall. 

 

Nevertheless, insider attacks remain a significant danger, and easy access to billions of compromised credentials has rendered breaching the perimeter trivial for the vast majority of hackers.

 

The data is at the core of Zero Trust—and with reason. Organizations with visibility into their data and activity can identify unusual behaviour even when other security protections breached.

 

How Zero Trust Security Works?

Zero Trust security has developed into a comprehensive approach to Cybersecurity that includes various technologies and processes. 

 

The goal of Zero Trust security is to safeguard the business against sophisticated cyber threats and data breaches.

 

Data security is at the center of Zero Trust. The data that attackers seek to steal is the most valuable asset. 

 

While other security procedures are necessary, monitoring data activity exposes a critical vulnerability. Regardless of the attack’s mode of operation

 

The Zero Trust Framework will focus on the following aspects.  

 

Zero Trust [Data PROTECTION\

 

A Zero Trust strategy begins with data protection and then adds extra levels of security. For example, suppose an attacker breaches your perimeter controls, exploits a misconfiguration, or bribes an insider. 

 

In that case, they will have minimal access to valuable data under Zero Trust, and rules will be in place to detect and respond to irregular data access before it being a breach.

 

Given that data is the ultimate target for attackers and internal threats, the Zero Trust Framework’s first pillar should be data. Businesses must understand where it resides, who has access to it, what is sensitive or stale, and how to monitor data access to discover and act to any risks.

 

Networks

Attackers must be able to navigate your network to steal data, and Zero Trust networks make this as complex as possible by segmenting, isolating, and restricting your network using next-generation firewall technologies.

 

People

Humans are almost certainly your security strategy’s weakest link. So limit, monitor, and tightly enforce your users’ access to resources on and off the network. All user activity on your network should be trusted but verified. Monitor your users to guard against the rare human error caused by phishing, poor passwords, or malicious insiders.

 

Workloads

A workload is a word used by the infrastructure and operations team to refer to the whole stack of apps and back-end software that enables customers to interact with your business, and unpatched customer-facing applications are a frequent attack vector against which you must defend. 

 

Therefore, consider the entire stack as a threat vector, from storage to the operating system to the web front-end, and protect it using Zero Trust-compliant rules.

 

Devices

The Internet of Things has emerged in an explosion of devices on your networks during the last few years. Unfortunately, each of these linked devices represents a potential entry point for attackers to your network. To achieve Zero Trust, security teams must isolate, secure, and control all network devices.

 

Visibility and Analytics

To effectively enforce Zero Trust concepts, equip your security and incident response teams with visibility into everything that happens on your network – as well as the analytics necessary to make sense of it all. 

 

For example, advanced threat detection and user behavior analytics are critical for staying on top of potential attacks in your network and detecting abnormal behavior in real-time.

 

Automation

Automation enables you to maintain all of your Zero Trust security solutions operational and enforce your Zero Trust standards. Humans are incapable of monitoring the volume of events required to enforce Zero Trust. 

 

Automate as much of your cleanup, monitoring, and threat detection systems as feasible to free up human resources for other critical duties such as incident response.

 

Principles of the Zero Trust Security

1. Access to all Resources

The first fundamental principle of Zero Trust is to authenticate and validate all resources’ access. re-authenticate each time a user accesses a file sharing, application, or cloud storage device.

 Regardless of the access point’s location or hosting model, it would help if you assumed that any attempt at network access is harmful until proven otherwise.

 To achieve this set of controls, remote authentication and access protocols, perimeter security, and network access controls will need to implement.

 2. Adopt a least privilege model

The least privilege access model is a security model that restricts each user’s access to the minimum amount necessary to perform their job. By limiting access to each user, you prevent an attacker from obtaining access to vast volumes of data through a single compromised account.

 To begin, determine which folder permissions expose your sensitive data and correct any excessive permission. Next, create new groups, assign them to data owners, and then use these new groups to implement least privilege access. 

 Conduct frequent access and group membership audits and empower data owners to control who has access to their data. IT should not be in charge of the Finance team’s data access; the Finance team should be in its order.

3. Inspect and log everything.

Everything must be inspected and verified by zero trust standards. Monitoring every network call, file access, and email for malicious activity is not something a single person, let alone a whole team of humans, can.

Monitoring and logging are likely the most critical skills for a Zero Trust security model to function correctly. For example, you can detect the difference between a regular login and a compromised user account when monitoring and data security analytics in place. In addition, you will notice if a ransomware assault is currently underway or if a hostile insider attempts to upload files to their cloud drive.

 Attaining this level of Cybersecurity insight is tough. The majority of tools in this category require you to write excessively complex rules or generate a high volume of false positives.

Instead, the appropriate system will utilize unique baselines for each user account and detect abnormal behaviors based on perimeter telemetry, data access, and user profile behavior.

Conclusion

The data-centric Zero Trust framework can serve as an effective barrier against data breaches and advanced Cybersecurity threats. 

However, all attackers require to breach your networks are time and motivation – firewalls and password rules are ineffective in deterring them. Instead, internal barriers should construct and actively monitored to detect their movements when, not if, they break in.

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