5 Non-Disruptive Tips to Get Started with Zero Trust Network Security

Zero Trust is an alternative IT security model that remedies the shortcomings of legacy technology by removing the assumption of trust.

Under the guiding principle, “Never trust, always verify”, Zero Trust restricts access to the entire network by isolating applications and segmenting network access based on user permissions, authentication and verification.

Conventional security models that “trust, but verify”, fail to meet increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, hyper interconnectivity, globalization and user mobility. By assuming everything “on the inside” can be trusted, these legacy technologies are, for the most part, no longer effective.

Zero Trust network security ensures policy enforcement and protection for all users, devices, applications and data, regardless of where they’re connecting from.

This user-centric approach makes the verification of authorized entities mandatory, not optional.

The Benefits of Adopting Zero Trust Principles

Zero Trust provides adequate visibility, control and threat inspection capabilities that are necessary to protect your network from modern malware, targeted attacks and the unauthorized exfiltration of sensitive data.
By migrating to a Zero Trust architecture, organizations can experience several technical and business advantages, including:

  • Mitigating Data Loss
    Dramatically enhance your security posture and mitigate data loss via visibility, safe enablement of applications and threat prevention.
  • Effortless Compliance
    Simplify compliance with highly effective trust boundaries by segmenting sensitive resources into many small perimeters that are secured and segmented based on user policies and permissions.
  • Enabling Mobility and Virtualization
    Increase the ability to accommodate transformative IT initiatives such as cloud computing, infrastructure virtualization, user mobility, social networking and more.
  • Reducing TCO
    Reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) for IT security by replacing disconnected point products with a single, consolidated security platform.
  • Increasing Security
    By adequately accounting for encrypted traffic and filtering for known threats, organizations can prevent sophisticated cyber threats from penetrating perimeter defenses and moving laterally across the internal network thanks to a solid business VPN solution.

The Zero Trust Model – How it Works

Internal networks are comprised of different levels of trust which should be segmented according to sensitivity. Organizations looking to establish secure “trust boundaries” according to the Zero Trust model need to improve their defensive posture through:

  • Network Segmentation
    Network segmentation allows organizations to define internal trust boundaries to granularly control traffic flow, enable secure network access and implement network monitoring. This reduces the attack surface and provides a distributed security solution which operates as a holistic threat protection framework.  
  • Trust Zones
    Trust zones are comprised of distinct pockets of infrastructure where resources operate at the same trust level and similar functionality such as protocols and types of transactions. This minimizes the number of allowed pathways and limits the potential for malicious threats to access sensitive resources.
  • Infrastructure Management
    Zero Trust segmentation relies on the ability to efficiently monitor the network via centralized management capabilities. This allows data to be processed by out-of-band analysis tools and technologies that may further enhance network visibility, detect unknown threats, or support compliance reporting.

5 Tips to Get Started with Zero Trust Network Security

It is important for IT security managers and architects to realize that it’s not necessary to wait for the next network and security infrastructure. By obtaining unparalleled visibility into enterprise computing activity, organizations can incrementally and non-disruptively make the transition to a Zero Trust model.

Here are 5 tips to get started with a Zero Trust approach to network security:

Tip #1: Secure Network Access

To get started, it’s critical to ensure that all resources are accessed securely, regardless of location. Network security, implemented via a client application for endpoints, allows for secure IPsec and SSL VPN connectivity for all employees, partners, customers and guests no matter where they’re connecting from (e.g., remotely, on the local network, or over the Internet).

Additional policies determine which users and devices can access sensitive applications and data. This requires multiple trust boundaries, increased use of secure communications to and from resources and more.  

Tip #2: Inspect and Log ALL Traffic

To accurately monitor what’s happening in the network, organizations must identify and classify all traffic, regardless of ports and protocols, encryption or hopping.

This reiterates the need to “always verify” while also making it clear that adequate protection requires more than just strict enforcement of access control. It also eliminates methods that malware may use to hide from detection.  

Tip #3: Least Privilege Access Control

Many legacy solutions are limited to port and protocol-level classification, resulting in too much unfiltered traffic. With granular access control, users can safely access appropriate applications and data by reducing available pathways and eliminating unauthorized and malicious traffic from the network.

With a least-privileged strategy and strictly enforced access control, organizations can define user interactions with resources based on relevant attributes, including application access, user and group identity and the sensitivity of the data being accessed.

Tip #4: Advanced Threat Protection

Legacy security that relies on stateful inspection technology is incapable of enforcing a least-privileged policy because their classification engines only understand IP addresses, ports and protocols – meaning they can’t distinguish between specific applications.

To implement Zero Trust, comprehensive protection against both known and unknown threats, including threats on mobile devices, is necessary to support a closed-loop, highly integrated defense stature that consistently and cost-effectively enables trust boundaries.

Tip #5: High-Performance Design

Since Zero Trust relies on numerous security and networking capabilities, these features must be implemented in a way that doesn’t hinder performance. The Perimeter Zero software architecture minimizes latency and surpasses processing requirements, providing high availability, avoiding loss of service and increasing the uptime of your network.

With unmatched visibility and control of applications, users, and content, organizations can migrate to Zero Trust network security with a highly flexible solution made possible by non-disruptive deployment.

Convert to Zero Trust on the Fly

Because every successful Zero Trust initiative depends on the right solution, organizations can feel confident that they can implement Zero Trust network security without needing to modify the existing network.

Perimeter 81’s software-defined perimeter Zero Trust access feature, called Perimeter Zero, provides a completely transparent experience for all users by enabling access to web applications, SSH, RDP, VNC or Telnet, through resilient IPSec tunnels – without an agent.

All your organization’s employees can easily go to their application portal, select the application they have permission to enter and create a session that is fully audited, recorded and monitored.

With secure, segmented and audited access to cloud environments, applications and local services, Zero Trust increases security, auditing, monitoring and visibility while reducing help-desk support and hardware spending.