What is Zero Trust?

Zero trust is a security approach that moves away from the idea of a secure network perimeter. The core idea of zero trust is: never trust, always verify.

This means that everyone and everything trying to get access to resources on the network needs to be authenticated and authorized before privileged access is granted. This applies whether the user is inside or outside the entire network.

Countless attacks over the last few years have taken advantage of network models with a single point of failure like VPNs. Exploited on mass by attackers, this lens of a VPN has made the line between genuine user and malicious attacker too blurry.

Zero trust offers a more advanced trust approach than simple lines in the sand. Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) does away with inherent trust.

Why Are Yesterday’s Security Models No Longer Effective?

The old “castle and moat” network security is no longer effective. Designed for on-site networks, it struggles with today’s remote workers and cloud resources.

  • Limited Scope: It only protects internal, private networks, leaving remote users and cloud data vulnerable.
  • All or Nothing Access: VPN access grants full trust within the network, a major risk.
  • Constant Alert Fatigue: Firewalls generate overwhelming alerts, making it hard to identify real threats.

These weaknesses make it a prime target for attackers.

Zero Trust to the Rescue

Zero trust offers a better approach to security:

  • Continuous Verification: Everyone and everything must be verified before accessing resources.
  • Least Privilege Access: Users only get the access they need to do their jobs, limiting damage from breaches and unauthorized access.
  • Focus on Data: Security revolves around protecting data, not just the network perimeter.

By eliminating implicit trust, zero trust makes it much harder for attackers to gain a foothold.

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How Does a Zero Trust Work?

Zero Trust requires every single user to authenticate, authorize, and continuously validate their security posture before gaining or keeping access to any corporate applications or data. 

Zero trust does away with assuming a network perimeter; instead, it puts forward three key principles:

#1. Verify

Every single relevant datapoint should be considered when making security decisions. 

This includes verifying every identity, location, resource, and data classification, as well as identifying device health and catching any unexpected behavior.

#2. Issue access according to least privilege

Adaptive trust policies allow you to scale the amount of access afforded to any one user. This process can be improved by capturing and analyzing security telemetry; zero trust demands that all of this data influences the decision to grant or deny access. 

As a bonus, this trust principle also means you maintain constant insight into all endpoints and network devices under your responsibility. 

#3. Assume breach

Assume a breach is inevitable. Minimize the impact by using micro-segmentation, end-to-end encryption, continuous monitoring, and automated threat detection and response.

Collectively, these three approaches can be applied to your network with Zero Trust Network Access.

How to Build a Zero Trust Network

Zero trust is a security approach that rejects the idea of automatically trusting anyone or anything on the network. This can seem like a daunting prospect, especially for organizations with complex existing networks. However, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) offers a solution.

Here’s how ZTNA can help you with building a zero-trust network.

ZTNA: A Stepping Stone to Zero Trust

ZTNA simplifies the transition to a zero trust model by leveraging your existing infrastructure. Here’s how it works:

  • Integration with Existing Security: ZTNA integrates with your current identity and multi-factor authentication systems. This allows it to leverage existing trust models for user verification.
  • Adaptive Trust Model: ZTNA goes beyond simple access grants like a VPN. It analyzes each access request individually, considering factors like user identity, device health, and requested resource.
  • Least Privilege Access: Based on the analysis, ZTNA grants only the minimum access necessary for the user to complete their task. This minimizes potential damage if an attacker gains access.
  • Continuous Monitoring: Even after granting access, ZTNA continuously monitors user activity, device behavior,and application usage for any suspicious activity.

TL;DR: ZTNA enforces a “never trust, always verify” approach by constantly reevaluating trust based on real-time data. This ensures security regardless of a user’s location, device, or past history.

Looking for a Zero Trust Solution?

Kick Inherent Trust Off Your Network with Perimeter81

By splitting user access into its granular pieces, your network benefits from access rules that match the contours of your organization and its users – preventing a device with an active exploit in its VPN app from connecting to an HR service. 

Perimeter 81’s Cyber Security Experience (CSX) Platform allows you to manage access from its unified dashboard, including:

  • Rules
  • Network health
  • End-user resource

Whether you’re managing secure cloud gateways, multi-regional networks, or cross-platform apps, Perimeter81’s flexible and powerful platform grants ZTNA across your entire organization in just a few clicks. To learn more about our ZTNA offering, get in touch with us today.

Zero Trust FAQs

What is Zero Trust and how is it different from traditional trust models?
Zero Trust is a security approach that moves away from trusting users or devices based on location or network position.Instead, it continuously verifies everything before granting access to resources. Traditional trust models grant access based on a perimeter defense, trusting everything inside the network.
How does Zero Trust help prevent lateral movement within a network?
ABy limiting access privileges and continuously monitoring activity, Zero Trust makes it harder for attackers to move from one compromised system to another within the network. Even if an attacker gains access to one user account, the blast radius of damage is minimized.
Won’t Zero Trust make it more difficult for users to access applications and data?
While Zero Trust does involve additional verification steps, it can ultimately improve user experience by streamlining secure access to the resources users actually need. Security teams can also leverage automation to minimize disruptions.
Is Zero Trust right for my organization?
Zero Trust is a powerful security strategy for any organization that wants to adapt to the modern threat landscape. It’s especially beneficial for companies with remote workforces, cloud-based resources, or a complex digital experience ecosystem.
How can I implement Zero Trust in my corporate network?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but many security vendors offer Zero Trust solutions that integrate with your existing security controls and network infrastructure. A well-defined security strategy and gap analysis are crucial first steps for a successful Zero Trust implementation.

Looking for a Zero Trust Solution?

Improve your entire network security posture today with Perimeter 81.