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What is Zero Trust?

By December 1, 2021Cyber Security

What is Zero Trust?If you have been paying attention to the cybersecurity industry lately, you may have seen the term Zero Trust pop up in headlines or in articles. Oftentimes, it can be unclear what is actually being referred to, and you might be confused about what it actually means.

Read on to find out more about Zero Trust and what it is:

What is Zero Trust?

The Zero Trust Network model was first created in 2010 by John Kindervag, a researcher at Forrester. Since then, Zero Trust is becoming increasingly implemented throughout enterprises as the pressure to protect data and systems grows significantly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most important thing to know about Zero Trust is that it is not an individual product or tool – rather, it is a framework based on maintaining strict access controls and not trusting anyone by default. This idea is a key principle in the Zero Trust Framework known as least-privileged access, which assumes that no user or application should be inherently trusted. Everything is assumed to be hostile and only establishes trust based on user identity, context, security posture, and application being requested. The Zero Trust approach relies on existing technologies and governance processes to accomplish its mission of securing the enterprise environment. Some examples you might know include:

  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM) 
  • Secure Web Gateway (SWG) 
  • Orchestration 

How Zero Trust Secures the Modern Workplace 

Zero Trust at its core is rather simple – it simply assumes that everything is hostile. For example, unless a set of attributes has identified workloads, they are untrusted and blocked from communicating. This results in stronger security that travels with the workload wherever it communicates. Protection is environment agnostic, meaning applications and services are still secured even across network environments. 

Getting Started with Zero Trust

Many organizations already have pieces of Zero Trust in place – tools like Multi-Factor Authentication and Identity and Access Management (IAM) are all pieces that aid in implementing micro-segmentation in parts of the environment. However, Zero Trust isn’t just about implementing specific technologies – it is about enforcing the idea that no one has access until they have proven they can be trusted. Keep these things in mind when implementing a Zero Trust framework:

  • Terminate Every Connection: Many technologies use a “passthrough” approach that inspects files when they are received. In contrast, Zero Trust terminates every connection so that it can hold and inspect files BEFORE they reach the endpoint. It should also operate inline and inspect all incoming traffic. 
  • Protect data Using Granular Policies Based on Context: Zero Trust should apply user identity and device posture along with granular business policies when verifying users. These policies should be adaptive, meaning that the context should change and user privileges be continually reassessed. 
  • Eliminate the Attack Surface: Zero Trust should enable one-to-one connections that eliminate the risk of lateral movement. In simple terms, it should prevent a compromised device from infecting other network resources.

Comprehensive Zero Trust Implementation

Unfortunately, Zero Trust is a journey that is unique to every organization and can be complex for some. The best way to ensure a comprehensive Zero Trust implementation is by partnering with a reputable cybersecurity company that can provide their resources to get you started. Stratejm is an all-Canadian Cybersecurity Company specializing in comprehensive end-to-end enterprise security. We’ve helped companies of all shapes and sizes as they make their journey towards Zero Trust. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.