What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust provides employees with more secure access to resources, network, and applications based on user permissions, and authentication.

What is Zero Trust Definition

Zero Trust was first coined by Forrester Research analyst John Kindervag in 2010 as the trust model at the time was broken and the only solution was to remove the idea of trusted internal networks and untrusted external networks.

Instead, Forrester presented the idea that all network traffic must be untrusted. 

Zero Trust is a security concept based on the belief that organizations should not automatically trust anything inside or outside its perimeters but instead verify anything and everything trying to connect to IT systems before granting access.

The Zero Trust model approach is to secure network access services that allow for the delivery of high-security, enterprise-wide network service virtually, on a subscription basis for SMB’s  to large enterprises.

Digital businesses today need security technology partners that offer a wide range of capabilities that integrate easily , improve their network visibility, and support the Zero Trust model.

Organizations are quickly adopting and implementing security partner solutions such as Perimeter 81 that can apply security controls across environments consistently and quickly, with features that allow them to modify security policies and access as business needs change.

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What is a Zero Trust Architecture?

Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) is based on the concept that there is no implied user trust given to accounts or devices simply on the foundation of their location or the location of the network or applications.

When creating a connection within a corporate network, each user or device must be authorized and authenticated properly to fit the Zero Trust architecture model.  

At the core of every Zero Trust architecture is the idea of eliminating any level of authorized access and implementing specific user access control on a more granular level as possible.

According to NIST, each ZTA offering should be designed and created on the following principles.  

  • Resource access should be governed by company policies that include the user and system identities which  come along with different behavioral characteristics such as IP address, operating system, working schedule, and location. 
  • Each corporate resource or network access should be per request. Authenticating a user or device should not simply provide access to other resources. 
  • The authentication process with users needs to be enforced when providing any user or device any kind of access and it must be a dynamic process.
  • Corporate and network communication needs to be secured no matter the location. If the user’s requests are coming from within the network or from remote access points, the level of security must be  consistent and applied. All network communication needs to be fully encrypted and authenticated when providing secure access.  
  • All devices and data should be defined as corporate resources. From smartphones and computers to tablets and any device that can access corporate networks and data should be allocated as a resource.  

Organizations have the option to decide who they want to enforce a Zero Trust architecture within their environments and employees.

With each organization, there are different policies and factors to consider given the organization’s needs and flexibility. Even though each organization is different, each approach to Zero Trust Architecture needs to ensure compliance with all the core principles of the Zero Trust Model. 

When it comes to improving an organization’s network security, Zero Trust architecture is an example of how advanced security has come in the past decade. By implementing the right Zero Trust framework  within an organization, it can decrease the number of security risks within a corporate network.

However, there are  some threats that need  to be addressed with Zero Trust. With the right amount of authentication, implementing least privilege access and a Zero Trust security approach for resource access will drastically decrease the number of security gaps within an organization.

What is a Zero Trust Model ?

A Zero Trust model is based on the assumption that all users or devices can’t be trusted until they are verified. When a user or device asks for access to a resource or a network they need to be verified before access can be granted. 

In the model which pertains to perimeter security, organizations in the past believed that everything located or connected to the internal network should be seen as a reliable source and that every external user or device should be viewed as unreliable.

As organizations are becoming more cloud-based and mobile, the internal and once-reliable network can no longer be trusted since external users such as contractors or vendors need to receive daily access.

This is where the Zero Trust model comes into play. Instead of focusing on the security of the network layers, IT teams need to restructure their strategy and secure the data and the location of the users.  

The Zero Trust security model approach of “Trust but Verify” entails that organizations need to define who can be trusted (internal users, customers, and contractors) and once verified, IT teams can provide access to the verified and trusted users while monitoring their network visibility.

When adopting the Zero Trust Model, IT and security teams must implement the following: 

  • Verify that all data, devices, resources, applications, and networks are easily securable, regardless of the physical location. Resources must be secure wherever the user or device is located, And until  the user or device is authorized and verified, it shall be deemed unreliable. 
  • Enforce least privileged access control for network visibility. By adopting the least-privileged access strategy and strictly enforced access control, organizations can control interactions with resources based on relevant attributes, including application access, user and group identity, and the sensitivity of the data being accessed.
  • All network and data activity should be logged and monitored. IT  and security teams should Identify and classify all traffic, regardless of ports and protocols.. This process will eliminate different network attack methods that may hide from detection and provide complete context into applications, associated content, and threats.

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What is Zero Trust Security ?

Zero Trust Security simplifies secure network access and provides enhanced security features that not only meet but exceed IT shared security requirements.

The Zero Trust security model provides the visibility, control, and threat inspection capabilities necessary to protect organizations from targeted attacks and the unauthorized exfiltration of sensitive data.

By deploying a Zero Trust security approach to network and application access, IT managers can fully limit  privilege and secure access to cloud resources, while controlling all aspects of network access across cloud environments and on-premise applications and services. 

A key component of the Zero Trust security model is the Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP). Software-Defined Perimeters leverage the Zero Trust tenet of ‘never trust, always verify’ by enabling secure access between users and their devices to applications and services regardless of the underlying network infrastructure, to ensure only specific groups of employees have secured and seamless access to networks, resources, and applications.

Software-Defined Perimeter in terms of a network security model is the idea of creating a one-to-one network connection between the user and only the resources they access. The components include verifying the identity of the user, their devices, and their role before granting access to network resources. 

The security model calls for every server or cloud resource to be hidden behind a remote access gateway that users must authenticate into and gain access to before any authorized service is made available.

The innovation behind Software-Defined Perimeters is the integration of device authentication, identity-based access, and dynamically provisioned connectivity.

Software-Defined Perimeters provide a highly scalable and customizable cloud-based network hub, making it an ideal alternative to legacy network appliances and open-source VPNs, as explained in our SDP vs VPN page.

Most importantly, SDPs provide a managed network services solution that hides apps and resources from attackers. It also ensures an  end-to-end encrypted connection between the cloud environment and a user’s devices on a need-to-know basis.

What is a Zero Trust Network Access ?

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is an alternative IT security model that remedies the shortcomings of legacy network technology by removing the assumption of trust. Zero Trust Network Access restricts access to the entire network by isolating applications and segmenting network access based on user permissions, authentication, and verification.

Zero Trust Network Access 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.

Unlike outdated site-centric solutions and hardware network security products, Zero Trust Network Access offers an inherently different approach to securing user access to corporate resources and applications. 

Traditional security approaches are based on the belief that anyone in the corporate network can be trusted. Cloud adoption, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and greater mobility, have made this approach outdated. With a Zero Trust Network Access model, you will verify users long before granting access to corporate resources and applications.

What is a Zero Trust Application Access?

Zero Trust Application Access (ZTAA) applies the core Zero Trust principles when providing users access to corporate applications on the network. With Zero Trust Application Access, end users are validated and granted quick access to applications in a session that is fully audited and monitored.

Zero Trust Application Access easily allows IT teams to manage application access by creating customized policies with a more granular authentication approach. 

By applying user identification rules based on Identity Providers (IDP), IT teams can seamlessly and continuously protect their organization’s applications across all resources, local and cloud.

With complete visibility, control, and threat protection, Zero Trust Application Access provides a more transparent experience without needing to modify existing networks.

The ZTAA  process works with applications initially being isolated from users with the help of Zero Trust authentication principles. Access is then granted through a cloud access security broker (CASB) which receives the user’s request and provides access to the application with a secure network connection.

Zero Trust Application Access relies on two main capabilities, network micro-segmentation and the ability to recognize users with IDP.

Why a Zero Trust Security Model is Needed?

Now that most businesses are moving their corporate resources to the cloud, the once-tangible network perimeter is dissipating. The shift to the cloud has come with risks such as unsecured gateways, exploitable Cloud VPNs and outdated firewalls.

Add in remote users, BYOD policies, and an array of more sophisticated attacks than ever before, and it’s no wonder why the Zero Trust security model is considered the only acceptable solution. When looking to secure the corporate network, businesses can adopt the Zero Trust model for a user-centric and cost-effective access model for applications and on-prem resources alike. 

Since Zero Trust was coined in 2010 it has been declared as one of the most dynamic ways for organizations to limit and manage access to corporate networks, applications and resources.

With network segmentation, micro-segmentation, multi-factor authentication, trust zones, and application access, the Zero Trust security model is the recommended model to limit potential attacks and their network access in the case an organization was exploited.

The additional security layer that Zero Trust offers is crucial as organizations are adding more daily points of entry inside their networks via cloud environments and new devices. The addition of these endpoints has created challenges for IT teams to monitor network activity while securing access for users and devices. 

With the Zero Trust Security model, IT teams have the opportunity to segment the network while restricting user access. Organizations who implement the Zero Trust Security model can help their security teams decrease the attack surfaces and potential data breaches.

How Can an Organization Implement Zero Trust Architecture?

To implement a Zero Trust Architecture, organizations need to think about going past the idea of integrating security tools that are supported by the number of organizational security policies in place.

Instead, we should look to Zero Trust as a guiding principle that leads to a move towards honest conversation about how our organization is working and what processes and technologies need to be adopted to work more securely.

How are we granting access, according to what kind of criteria, and what kinds of verification do we require, are all questions that we should be looking at and seeking solutions for how to do it better. 

Once an organization’s security foundation has been designed and implemented, it  will then be able to easily define its custom Zero Trust architecture based on the organization’s needs.

When it comes to setting up users’ access policies, the Zero Trust architecture will be the basis of implementing an algorithm that will provide each user an access score role-based approach.

When adopting security solutions that will support a Zero Trust model  environment, it’s best to run a POC to ensure that it has any impact on the organization.

Once an organization has adopted a security solution for its Zero Trust environment, IT teams need to continuously monitor and analyze the authentication and access policy in place.

Using a Zero Trust framework , IT teams can  easily detect the current network activity and any possible threats to the organization.

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 Protect Your Network with Zero Trust

Complete Network Visibility

Perimeter 81 allows admins to better understand who is accessing applications, with visibility of applications running in the cloud and granular access controls. This grants the ability to view real-time user activity while streaming user audit logs to a SIEM provider.

Identification Policy Rules

Perimeter 81’s Zero Trust platform accelerates IT control over network and application access by defining and managing policies for users, user groups, applications, and application groups. By segmenting access via  user and application it creates a more granular alternative to network segmentation.

Network Segmentation

Perimeter 81 allows admins to segment network and application access using more granular user policy-based permissions, which help organizations to easily apply and scale rules to new resources and users. With more granular identifiers in place, the Perimeter 81 solution is more agile for application access.

Highlighting The Benefits of Perimeter 81 for Zero Trust

  • Secure Network Access
  • Inspect and Log ALL Traffic
  • Least Privilege Access Control
  • Advanced Threat Protection
  • Increase Visibility & Security

Zero Trust FAQs

What is Zero Trust?
Zero Trust is an alternative IT security model  that remedies the shortcomings of legacy technologies 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 user verification.
What is a Zero Trust policy?
A Zero Trust policy allows an organization’s IT team to regulate and intercept access to the corporate networks, resources, and applications by unauthorized users or devices, thus preventing the exploitation of critical resources and data.

With a Zero Trust policy in place in Layer 7, IT and security teams should continuously monitor and be up to date with the activity within the organization’s network.
What is a Zero Trust Security Framework?
A Zero Trust security framework which is also known as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) relates to the network security approach that users or devices can not be trusted until they are properly verified and authenticated.
What’s the difference between BeyondCorp and Zero Trust?
BeyondCorp is Google’s model of adopting Zero Trust Security. Google needed a more modern approach when it came to security and thus created the BeyondCorp model.

This model has allowed Google employees to work more securely, no matter where they are. It has also replaced the outdated model of their Hosted VPNs to gain access to active directories. 
What’s the difference between Software Defined Perimeter and Zero Trust?
The SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle is a framework used to produce high-quality Zero Trust provides the visibility, control, and threat inspection capabilities necessary to protect networks from malware, targeted attacks, and the unauthorized exfiltration of sensitive data.

While Software-Defined Perimeter dynamically creates one-to-one network connections between the user and only the resources they access. The components include verifying the identity of the user, their devices, and roles  before granting access to network resources.

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Improve your entire network security posture today with Perimeter 81.