What is Zero Trust Approach?

As the world moves further into digitalization, the constant threat that haunts us all is data breaches. Almost all our information has circulated the web at least once. With more and more people opting to online banking and shopping even sensitive information such as billing addresses and credit card information gets stored online. Everytime you log into a new application, more of your data is being tracked and stored for advertising and targeting purposes.

While all this is fine, it becomes an issue when hackers manage to break into an organization’s data pool; this is what is known as a data breach. With workplace environments becoming more diverse, and workers being mobile, organizations today face a new challenge in maintaining security. Recent industry reports show that large-scale data breaches occur every month and can be traced back to misconfigurations amongst other things Many systems have been implemented to ramp up cybersecurity in efforts to adapt to the changing demands and to stop these data breaches that could land an organization in a lot of trouble. One such system is the Microsoft Zero Trust Model.

To put simply, the Zero Trust Model is an approach and a concept that trusts no one, therefore is programmed to doubt everything inside and outside of an organization. Since the organization does not automatically trust anything outside its perimeters, everything needs to be granted authentication before gaining access to its resources regardless of user or application environment.  Until the system has identified the user, and their authorization to access any server,  said user will not be allowed entry. This deliberate change of mindset means becoming predictive: moving from reacting to a breach to anticipating it and having the processes in place to respond.  This may seem like a very drastic move but consider this; cybercrime is set to cost the world $6 trillion by the end of this year and this number is only going to go up. The stakes are high enough that drastic measures such as the Zero Trust Approach are not only optimal but necessary.

The Zero Trust Model is held on six pillars which are identities, devices, data, apps, infrastructure and network. These six pillars are a framework and each of these six foundational elements is a source of signal, a control plane for enforcement, and a critical resource to be defended. This makes each area crucial for investments.

  1. Identity

The Zero Trust control plane is defined by identities, whether they represent people, systems, or IoT devices. When a user tries to access a resource, there is a need to authenticate that identity using strong authentication, and to ensure that access is compliant and appropriate for that identity.

  1. Devices

Once an identification is proven, data can be transmitted to a number of devices, including IoT devices and smartphones. Because of this variety, there is a large attack surface area that must be monitored and enforced for secure access.

  1. Data

At the end of the day, security professionals are concerned with safeguarding data. Where possible, data should remain safe even if it leaves the devices, apps and networks the organization controls. Data should be classified, labeled, and encrypted, and access should be limited based on these characteristics.

  1. Apps

The interface through which data is consumed is provided by applications and APIs. Controls and technologies should be applied to monitor for abnormal behavior and to control user actions.

  1. Infrastructure

 Hardening against attacks on premises or in the cloud by detecting attacks and anomalies, and automatically blocking and flagging risky behavior.

  1. Network

Networks should be segmented  and real-time threat protection, end-to-end encryption, monitoring, and analytics should be used.

As you begin to assess your Zero Trust readiness and begin to plan on the changes to improve the protection across your identities, devices, applications, data, infrastructure, and networks, focus on these key areas to help your Zero Trust implementation to be more effective. infoTrek offers a comprehensive Microsoft Security course planner that caters for any level of expertise in the cybersecurity field. Sign up today and get certified to protect your organization.

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