Zero Trust is a data security approach that focuses on not trusting any users inside or outside of an organization in order to protect important resources. With this methodology, networks and security systems start from a posture of denying trust by default and work to incrementally open access to users while continuously evaluating risk. This concept was originally developed in 2010 by Forrester analyst John Kindervag, with Forrester analyst Dr. Chase Cunningham (Dr. Zero Trust) later succeeding him, and it has evolved to become the standard of cybersecurity for enterprises.
The zero trust model enables organizations to allow access based on specific factors or context, such as identity, device status, location, group membership and more, and adaptively allows only the appropriate amount of access required at the time. The zero trust model also gives businesses the ability to continuously monitor and evaluate user activity to ensure that they can continue to have the level of trust granted to them during their session and modify access accordingly.
In this blog, we will go over the philosophies and principles behind zero trust security, and examine how businesses can seamlessly implement it into their systems without disrupting their existing network.
The Principles of Zero Trust Security
Zero Trust is built on several pillars that work together to reduce the chances of vital company data getting into the wrong hands.
In essence, least-privilege access gives users access to only the resources and business applications they require to perform their intended task. Additionally, if two or more access rules are in conflict, the restrictive rule is always applied. This minimizes each user’s exposure to sensitive parts of the network and limits the risks associated with excessive privilege and access.
Instead of resources and networks being completely open to users once they access a system, this zero trust pillar works to break up security perimeters into small zones that are governed by separate access rules. Utilizing microsegmentation helps keep data secure because it reduces the size of a system’s attack surface by breaking it into multiple small pieces that each need separate authorization to access.
In some cases, there are resources and entities that are too large to easily segment. Converting an inherently open resource, such as a network or application, to zero trust is achieved by isolating that resource and governing access through a separate control.
Continuous Monitoring and Validation
The zero trust model works to continuously and vigilantly monitor, control, audit and manage user activity in real-time to give businesses a holistic view of who is accessing their resources and how they are being used. If suspicious activity occurs, the organization is immediately alerted to it, making it easy to flag and investigate any potential bad actors.
The Importance of Zero Trust Security
With the abundance of massive data breaches that have filled the news over the past several years, it’s more apparent than ever that businesses need to be more proactive with their cybersecurity measures, especially as it relates to protected data. Instead of sticking to the old security mindset of “inside means trusted and outside means untrusted,” companies are quickly realizing that these data breaches can come from either inside or outside of their organizations.
But, transitioning to a new security model can feel daunting and not scalable. Before the conception of Zero Trust, businesses used solutions such as firewalls and VPNs to control access to their networks and applications. The inherent flaw with these solutions was that once a user was “trusted” and past the veil of security, the networks were essentially open, which made it possible for them to have excess access, which could expose them to data they should not have access to, including mission-critical resources. This, of course, made businesses vulnerable to data breaches. To mitigate this, most companies implement expensive layers of security to stop bad actors, despite there being no real guarantee that the leaks would stop. Zero trust solves the problem of open network access by starting closed and opening access incrementally to only the resources an approved and verified user needs.
Another issue with this old model of security is that it required programmers to also act as security engineers with the ability to build intrinsically secure networked applications and incorporate sophisticated authentication and access controls (expectations that simply aren’t realistic for every application). Zero Trust also solves this problem by not making programmers and IT departments the sole proprietors of cybersecurity for their entire company, freeing them up to focus on innovating technologies surrounding business functionality.
How to Achieve Zero Trust: The Axis Security Approach
Implementing a Zero Trust security model into existing systems allows IT departments to instantly have more control over which users have access to their data and their organization’s business applications. This approach to data security revolutionizes the way businesses are able to connect and collaborate with their digital business ecosystem, remote workers and partners. At Axis Security, we take this one step further by giving our clients added security and flexibility with the Application Access Cloud.
Application Access Cloud
The App Access Cloud, provided by Axis Security, is a scalable Zero Trust security platform that allows companies to connect users with applications wherever they are and enables businesses to have unprecedented visibility and control over their systems in an amazingly simple way.
Instead of using a network to grant access to specific applications, the App Access Cloud uses the power of the Internet to make secure, centralized connections. This cloud system introduces a Zero Trust posture to IT systems by acting as a trusted broker that mediates connections between applications and users. It also isolates business applications and diligently monitors user requests to ensure that data remains safe and secure. Within minutes of implementation, your company can deliver secure, tightly-managed application access to virtually anyone on the globe.
What’s the easiest way to ensure that users can’t access the entirety of a business’s data and applications? Never giving them the option to do so. The App Access Cloud acts as a central hub where your users verify their identities. Then, if they are granted access to their desired resources, users are taken to them directly using a tightly-managed connection that continuously validates and monitors their activity. This centralizes the management of resources under the Zero Trust blanket so your IT team can have a real-time, holistic view of user activity across all applications.
Safe and Secure
Unlike other Zero Trust solutions, the App Access Cloud brokers the connection between users and apps to ensure that users never actually touch the network or the apps themselves. The App Access Cloud is cloud-centric, functioning entirely on the internet, which allows partners to quickly become enabled without any network changes or hardware installations. Axis covers applications in a Zero Trust blanket that isolates them from threats while providing trusted access to anyone, anywhere, on any device.
Zero Trust solutions, like the App Access Cloud by Axis Security, are designed to get companies on a Zero Trust footing quickly and efficiently, so they can become the more secure and agile businesses they were meant to be.