When there is a knock, ask “Who’s there? Every. Single. Time.”
Cyberspace follows an unspoken rule – “When it comes to security, don’t trust anyone or anything” – but the vast nature of the domain leaves little room for such luxury. Organizations are seldom able to work with restricted access to resources, and readily compromise security for greater efficiency.
To overcome this scenario, one of the latest security models, “Zero-Trust”, has been gaining momentum steadily in the cyber world, which allows no users or devices access without continuous verification, not only guaranteeing network security, but also assisting organizations to counter cyber threats and stay ahead of data breaches.
Why A Zero-Trust Security Model?
The growing demand for stricter security measures to reduce organizational risks due to the increasing frequency of target-based cyber attacks has proved to be a contributing factor to the thriving Zero-Trust security market. Research from Markets and Markets estimates the growth of the market from USD 27.4 billion in 2022 to USD 60.7 billion by 2027, with the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.3% from 2022 to 2027.
On the other hand, IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022 states that although 59% of organizations do not deploy the Zero-Trust Security Architecture, the organizations that adopt this model suffer USD 1 million lesser data breach costs compared to the former, with the cost of a data breach with Zero-Trust deployed being USD 4.15 (20.5% savings) million and USD 5.10 million for organizations bereft of the model.
What Actually Is Zero-Trust About?
Popularized by John Kindervag in 2010 – a principal analyst at Forrester Research – the Zero-Trust Architecture (ZTA) was developed into a network security framework which assumes that a network – all connections and endpoints – is always at risk to external and internal security threats.
The framework assists in developing a strategy through a thorough understanding of all security threats to counter them, and provide the ultimate protection to an organization. The ZTA ensure security by –
- Inspecting Network Traffic
- Controlling Network Access
- Verifying Network Resources
The Zero-Trust Security Model makes all the resources inaccessible by default, allowing users limited access under only the right circumstances, following the concept of least-privilege access.
This architecture strictly verifies and authorizes the connection at every point, and ensures that all interactions meet the requirements set by the organization’s security policies, and authenticates every device going through as many data sources as possible.
Zero-Trust Framework: The Foundations
- Constant Monitoring & Verification – The Zero-Trust network follows the assumption that the attackers are present, both inside and outside the organization, which is why no user or device is to be automatically trusted. The security framework continuously monitors and validates the user identity and privileges, as well as, the identity and security of the device.
- Least-Privilege Access – The second principle of Zero-Trust is least-privilege access, which gives users restricted access, or as much as is needed. This reduces the exposure of a network’s sensitive parts to an unknown user.
- Device Access Control – With the restriction of user access, Zero-Trust demands strict device access control to detect the number of devices trying to access its network, and ensure the device is authorized to minimize the risk of a security breach
- Micro segmentation – Micro segmentation breaks security perimeters into tiny zones to maintain separate access for different segments of the network. Zero-Trust establishes that a user or program with access to one of the segments will not be able to access the other segments without individual authorization.
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) -A core value of the Zero-Trust Security Model, MFA requires more than one piece of evidence to validate a user. Since just entering a password is not enough, users who enable 2FA are also mandated to enter a code sent to their registered device to authorize the user.
Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
ZTNA is the main technology which enables organizations to implement the Zero-Trust Architecture, which, unlike the Virtual Private Network (VPN), is structured on defined access control rules by denying access to a user by default until the permission is explicitly granted.
Though both the VPN and ZTNA ensure a protected remote access to services and applications, ZTNA establishes the access only after a user is authenticated through a secure, encrypted portal, which allows users to utilize only the services they have the permission to access.
Zero-Trust Framework: The Challenges
Though Zero-Trust may look like the ideal solution to cyber security problems, implementation of the same is entirely difficult. The first challenge is the support itself.
The mindset essential for the framework may not be completely embraced by the decision-makers or the users of the security model, which may give rise to their unwillingness to sustain the necessary resources to implement the framework. Just like that, if the users do not support it, and are circumvented from sticking to the policies, the cyber security model becomes immediately ineffective.
Once even the basics of the needs are met, and Zero-Trust is integrated into the network, the follow-through obligatory to mature the process to achieve complete benefits, can pose a problem. Administrators and defenders may also become fatigued with the constant application of default-deny security policies and always assuming a data breach is on the way.
Patch Your Network Vulnerabilities With Kratikal
Zero-Trust is a valuable framework for a company, but what if our network itself is full of vulnerabilities? If the network is laden with loopholes, the implementation of any security policy goes in vain.
Kratikal, a CERT-In empanelled cyber security solutions firm, provides a complete suite of VAPT services, including Network Penetration Testing, Application Penetration Testing, Cloud Penetration Testing, and many more such services to keep an organization’s IT infrastructure intact. Along with testing services, Kratikal also offers security auditing for Compliance.
The Zero-Trust Security Model is a supreme mitigatory solution for an uptight security strategy. What are your thoughts about the Zero-Trust Architecture? Comment your thoughts down below!