Zero trust requires visibility into users, their devices, and the applications they access. This enables continuous access verification using multi-factor solid authentication, device function knowledge, software versioning, and incident detection. Zero trust solutions can be agent-based or service-based. Organizations should consider their security needs and digital transformation maturity when choosing between them.
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As the workplace moves further into a distributed work environment with multi-cloud applications and legacy on-premises systems, security teams face significant challenges that traditional firewalls and VPNs must be adapted to address. Zero trust network access solutions can help organizations increase cyber resiliency, meet compliance needs, and reduce complexity in the enterprise. Adaptive security policies and device monitoring practices inherent to zero trust can help businesses balance productivity and security by verifying users, devices, and applications before they grant access. This is critical in a world where attackers use stolen credentials to exploit inherent trust to move laterally within environments, applications, and data sets. The zero trust model, or “never trust; always verify,” assumes that traffic entering the corporate network from a remote location is suspicious and untrustworthy until proven otherwise. This is a significant shift from the traditional ‘trust but verify’ approach that allows connections to bypass a company’s perimeter and into its internal data center, servers, and applications. ZTNA technologies range from agent-based (requiring installing an application on managed and BYOD devices) to cloud-based services. Organizations should carefully consider the solution that best suits their business and specific remote and mobile access use cases. For example, does the vendor offer granular visibility and reporting as part of its solution?
Authentication is critical, but without access control, attackers can easily bypass the security layer and gain full network access. Zero trust models authenticate and authorize every connection, ensuring users, devices, and applications are granted permissions only on a case-by-case basis. This is a fundamental change to the traditional security architecture that relies on trusting anyone connecting inside the perimeter, which is vulnerable to attack. Whether a user, device, or service is connected to your network, various signals can be used to assess risk and make access decisions. These include user behavior, device health and location, and the security posture of the accessed application or data. These should all be a part of your zero-trust security strategy. Having the exemplary security architecture in place can help businesses avoid data breaches, which cost an average of $3 million per incident. With the threat landscape becoming increasingly more sophisticated, it’s more important than ever for companies to deploy and manage a zero-trust security architecture across their entire business.
Zero trust is a security approach that relies on the principle of least privilege. This ensures that users can access only the resources they need for their job and connect to internal applications from trusted devices, locations, and network segments. It also includes continuous monitoring to detect and stop unauthorized traffic. This is important because it helps to protect against the growing number of attacks targeting credentials and identity stores. This helps to prevent the theft of sensitive data and mitigates the impact of phishing, malware, remote access, and BYOD. Zero trust is also an effective solution for securing the modern workforce. It addresses the challenges of a decentralized business model and the needs of a modern workforce that requires the flexibility to work from anywhere on any device. It secures a workforce’s three primary factors: users, devices, and applications. Zero trust solutions also include micro-segmentation, which divides a network into zones and defines different security policies for each zone. They also offer multi-factor authentication, which requires a user to verify their identity using two different methods, such as a password and a code sent to a mobile phone. Finally, they provide encryption to protect sensitive data from being intercepted during the transmission between a device and an application.
The de-parameterization of work environments and the proliferation of hybrid infrastructure and software-as-a-service applications have created new business threats. Attackers that make it past one verification point (such as a firewall or user login) can take advantage of inherent trust and move laterally across networks, devices, and applications to gain access to sensitive data. Zero trust solutions use advanced technologies to verify users, devices, and their security postures at every connection step to protect against attacks that target these vulnerabilities. This includes risk-based multi-factor authentication, identity protection, and next-generation endpoint security to ensure that only the most trusted connections can complete a transaction. With continuous monitoring, Zero Trust also evaluates device and application behavior over time and revokes access if a change in posture is detected. This helps prevent attackers from using stolen credentials, gaining visibility into the network setup, and moving to targeted servers and applications laterally. Zero trust solutions also offer the flexibility to choose between agent-based or service-based security. The former requires an application to be installed on a user’s device.