What is Zero Trust? Why implement Zero Trust Architecture?
Zero Trust has been the hot topic of the cybersecurity industry recently - blogs, webinars and podcasts have discussed various areas of this security term.
Zero Trust is a framework designed to secure data and resources in a modern IT environment and assumes that there is no traditional network edge. Traditionally, a user and their devices would be trusted once they log on to their device on the inside of a corporate network, however, this method of accessing data and company resources does not provide sufficient protection from loss or destruction of critical business information or services. Zero Trust as it suggests, trusts nothing. It requires all users, whether in or outside the organisation’s network, to be authenticated, authorised, and continuously validated for security configuration and posture before being granted or retaining access to applications and data.
Zero trust - it’s not just a buzzword, it’s a framework.
Organisations across Australia need a new security model that can effectively adapt to the complexities of the modern technology environment. Whilst embracing the hybrid working environment, the need to protect staff, devices and endpoints that connect to your environment, which also includes applications and data where they are located, is more critical than ever. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses to find a way to operate from home, but in most cases, organisations replaced desktops with laptops, desk phones with softphones, and issued staff with multi-factor authentication tokens. This is where the Zero Trust security model comes into action.
Much like the ISO27001 is the most recognised framework for managing your cybersecurity program, Zero Trust is the most recognised framework for technically securing your ICT environment. To respond to the increasing number of high-profile security breaches in the last few years in Australia and worldwide, this security approach protects your organisation and your customers by managing and granting access based on the continual verification of identities, devices and services.
The Zero Trust Architecture addresses the security challenges modern organisations face. This is guided by its three core principles below.
Zero Trust architecture has three core principles:
- Verify explicitly -Always authenticate and authorise based on all available data points, including user identity, location, device health, service or workload, data classification, and anomalies.
- Use least privileged access - Limit user access with just-in-time and just-enough-access (JIT/JEA), risk-based adaptive policies, and data protection to help secure both data and productivity.
- Assume breach - Minimise blast radius and segment access. Verify end-to-end encryption and use analytics to get visibility, drive threat detection, and improve defences.
Transitioning to Zero Trust is a highly technical and multifaceted program that can take up to 2 years with the right resources. Without the right resources and a strategic approach to implementation, organisations will find themselves never reaching this modern security framework. The Loop Zero Trust Service will deliver you specialist security resources to implement the Zero Trust architecture, transforming the user experience from traditional architecture to a modern IT environment.
Examples Zero Trust architecture addresses
So now that you know what Zero Trust is, you may be looking for some specific use cases Loop’s Zero Trust Service will address. Below we have listed 3 common scenarios that may be introducing risk to your business currently through traditional IT architecture:
- Traditional IT architecture: ransomware can spread rapidly across your environment and with new versions of ransomware taking less than 45 minutes to take over systems, this can result in an organisation-wide shut down. Once ransomware gains an initial foothold into your environment, the ransomware may spread laterally, exploiting services and hijacking sessions.
- Loop’s Zero Trust Service: ransomware is addressed by limiting the spread beyond the initial foothold. If an employee receives an email containing ransomware, and Loop’s Zero-Trust Service is in place, the attack may be limited to the user’s endpoint. Potential damage for your organisation is reduced dramatically.
- Password Reuse
- Traditional architecture: if employees are reusing compromised passwords (or simple passwords), once an attacker has the password, the attacker can immediately bypass the external security perimeter and are deemed to be the ‘trusted’ employee(s). Once the attacker is considered ‘trusted’, they may access all data and services that were available to the employee that was taken over, resulting in a data breach and/ or other damage for your business.
- Loop’s Zero Trust Service: Multi-factor stops an attacker from gaining any access to your environment by requiring two pieces of authentication. Even if your employees are using simple passwords (eg. Summer123), and the attacker has the password, it’s highly unlikely they have the second factor. As this is a core prevention mechanism, Loop’s Zero-Trust service addresses MFA for employees and applications used by your organisation as a priority first step.
- Malicious actors accessing large amounts of data
- Traditional IT architecture: If an attacker bypasses the external perimeter controls (eg. a phishing email is clicked by an employee), the attacker may have access to all of your businesses sensitive systems and data. This may include all Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Intellectual Property (IP), and other sensitive information. With this information, your organisation may incur a large scale data breach, a ransomware scenario or other undue damage.
- Loop’s Zero Trust Service: By assuming all employees are compromised (zero trust), all systems and business data requires additional authentication before the ‘employee’ can access. Loop’s Zero Trust Service prevents an attacker from accessing large amounts of data, as the access is limited to the initial access point, reducing business impact and avoiding business disruption.
Visit our Zero Trust Service page to learn how you can reach Zero Trust Security.