Leveraging Zero Trust security helps organizations avoid data breaches. With Zero Trust, all users, devices, other networks, and resources are untrusted by default. It embodies “trust nothing, verify everything.”
The US National Security Agency asserts that threats exist both inside and outside company networks. This approach is Zero Trust’s strength: “The Zero Trust security model assumes that a breach is inevitable or has likely already occurred, so it constantly limits access to only what is needed and looks for anomalous or malicious activity.” In a real-world example, Solar Winds attackers exploited trust within the network to move laterally. Had trust been removed from the network, the extent of damage would have been limited.
Benefits of the Zero Trust Security Model
Zero Trust offers obvious benefits: the opportunity to strengthen the security posture for your organization, the power to enable productivity for a remote workforce, and the ability to deliver secure, seamless customer experiences, all while verifying each session, user, and device. Also, Zero Trust is massively scalable. The Zero Trust security model can help companies to secure their data and resources, whether that be in workforce, customer, or partner-facing areas of their business.
How Do We Get There?
Achieving greater Zero Trust adoption is a journey that requires planning and strategy. It is not something out of the box but must be informed by the requirements of the business. Zero Trust encompasses an entire worldview that must be embraced by the organization. As the NSA puts it, “To be fully effective to minimize risk and enable robust and timely responses, Zero Trust principles and concepts must permeate most aspects of the network and its operations ecosystem. Organizations, from chief executive to engineer and operator, must understand and commit to the Zero Trust mindset before embarking on a Zero Trust path.” Before committing to Zero Trust, it’s best to know where you are, where you want to be, and know that you can get there.
- Where you are – develop a clear idea of your organization’s current state. Without deeply interrogating the status quo, it’s impossible to know what deficiencies need to be addressed to strengthen your security posture.
- Where you want to be – identify an ideal future state by defining strategic business initiatives and building requirements around user stories, use cases, and technology capabilities
- How to get there – determine the solution architecture and roadmap. Architecture is based on gap analysis between the current and desired future state while accounting for the requirements. Zero Trust adoption is a journey, so a roadmap must be reasonably achievable and technically sound.
- What to do next – implement and manage. Ensure you have the right expertise and resources to complete implementation successfully. In-house developers will benefit greatly when partnered with experienced developers who are cybersecurity experts and have the full DevSecOps mindset. Zero Trust security is also a journey and requires ongoing management to combat the ever-evolving sophistication of cyberattacks.
A Zero Trust journey moves from fragmented or non-existent security to something more unified and comprehensive at each stage. The idea is to define clear and measurable objectives – eventually, this will become an iterative process – that utilize more advanced security functions. Zero Trust initiatives at the highest levels should be fully integrated, dynamic, and advanced.
Zero Trust Case Studies
What does that look like when it comes to a customer? While many customers may have begun their journey towards Zero Trust, they must have a clear strategy and help with implementation to ensure they stay ahead of cyberattackers. But it can be difficult to know how to move to a higher level of maturity, and indeed the NSA states that doing so without a clear plan can be counterproductive. Here are case studies from a couple of BeyondID customers:
A large media & entertainment brand needed to ensure that all its employees could have secure, seamless access to a diverse set of applications. By implementing best-of-breed identity to manage users and their access, the solution improved security and enabled an increased adoption of the Zero Trust framework.
The successful implementation of the project required more people resources than were available internally. By engaging a business partner, the organization was able to launch a centralized access control platform to rapidly onboard thousands of cloud and on-premise applications. In addition, the solution helped to improve employee productivity by streamlining user login and lifecycle management. With modern identity management, they had a stronger security posture to prevent high-cost data breaches.
Reaching a higher level of maturity in Zero Trust was an important component of another company’s cloud migration journey. Telecommunications holding company ATN International had a business initiative to mature its cybersecurity posture. They were experiencing issues with password sprawl and using legacy identity.
Modern Identity and Access Management offered them the ability to strengthen their cybersecurity posture by utilizing (SSO) Single Sign-On and adaptive multi-factor authentication (MFA) for users. SSO for applications and resources will combat shadow IT and allow IT to centrally manage all apps and users. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) helped them to step up their security to a greater maturity level, which is key in a landscape that is populated by bad actors. Benjamin Doyle, Vice President of IT for ATN, mentioned in this session that they were not aware of the extent to which they were subject to brute force attacks until they put their apps behind Identity and Access Management. Zero Trust is also important for mergers and acquisitions as ATN can extend its existing cloud to a new company seamlessly. ATN, by adopting best-of-breed security platforms, implemented core security foundations that they can build on.
Successfully maturing your Zero Trust security posture can be difficult and unclear. But with a trusted business partner who will help you discover your current state, your desired state, and guide you toward a future state that supports your business objectives, you can succeed.
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