It is always advised not to trust anyone in the cyber world, as your personal information can be misused at any time. The principle of the ‘Zero Trust Model’ was coined by John Kindervag, an analyst at Forrester Research who believed in the principle of ‘Never Trust and always verify’.
It is evident that with the changing technology, cyber attackers are proficiently stealing and damaging personal and sensitive data. On the same principle, the ‘Zero Trust Model’ works as it requires authentication of every person and device when they try to use resources on a private network as it is a holistic approach to not trust anyone before granting them access without proper verification and authentication and it reduces the risks of cyber-attacks by not trusting any user and device.
The kinds of cyber-attacks, such as phishing, malware, spamming, etc., do not necessarily happen because of an outside source. Still, they can even happen from its network of employees, and with the increasing work-from-home environment, such cases are on the rise.
PRINCIPLES OF ZERO TRUST SECURITY:
- DETECT SURFACE ATTACKS: The foremost need is to detect surface attacks, i.e. an organization’s attacks surface can be anything like an entire IT infrastructure or its subset, which can include end-user computing devices, services and data and should also contain the network areas to reach them as well as always to assume that external and internal threats are there on the network.
- USING EXISTING CYBERSECURITY INFRASTRUCTURE: Organizations can keep using the existing cybersecurity infrastructure with the zero trust model without investing in newer technologies, such as by adopting end-to-end data analytics, monitoring and detecting threats across the entire IT infrastructure, including cloud environments and if existing technology is unable to justify an end-to-end implementation of the model fully then in such cases modern tools can be procured that support Micro-Segmentation, Single Sign-On, Multi-Factor Authentication, etc.
- APPLICATION OF THE MODEL: Implementing Zero Trust security does not mean the work is over. It leads to ‘monitor, manage, measure and adapt’ as no security feature results in zero cyber breaches. Still, a robust management system can reduce cyber-attacks and always assume that networks are hostile.
WAYS TO ENSURE ZERO TRUST SECURITY:
- The most popular technique for authenticating user identification is multi-factor authentication. To establish credibility, the user must offer at least two different types of evidence to prove credibility. These could involve logic-based tests, SMS or email confirmations, or security questions. The network is more secure the more credentials are needed to access it.
- Another step in building trust is limiting access for those who have been authenticated. Each user or device only has access to the bare minimum of resources needed, reducing the network’s overall vulnerability to attack. All other traffic is still blocked, preventing trusted entities from moving laterally.
- A crucial component of zero trust is backup and recovery. Always verifying and always assuming a breach are the two cornerstones of a zero-trust architecture, which means internal system security must be as strong as external security. The “3-2-1” backup rule is a key principle in data security. According to this, while backing up data, there should be three copies on two distinct media, one of which should be kept offshore.
- A network security strategy called micro-segmentation divides networks into zones, each needing its network access. Even once the security has been compromised, the damage a hacker can cause is still restricted to the microsegment they were able to access.
CHALLENGES IN USING THE ZERO TRUST MODEL:
- The zero trust paradigm can be expensive, particularly if an organization has a complex network. The price of hardware and software, instruction and professional services, as well as continuous upkeep and support, can all be included in the price of implementing the zero trust paradigm.
- The cost problem can be solved if it is accepted and supported by the administrators, leadership and users. Senior decision-makers must recognize its importance, commit sufficient funds, and receive the necessary training for its proper implementation. Lastly, users must genuinely comprehend and abide by new rules.
- Apart from the cost of its implementation, high costs can be seen as it’s possible that not all current systems and technologies are compatible with the zero trust approach and that some upgrades or significant modifications will need to be made for businesses that have tough-to-modify or replace outdated systems, this can be especially problematic because any new component being added to the ecosystem needs to be evaluated and frequently adjusted to adhere to zero-trust standards. After all, this type of architecture is so open-ended.
The zero trust model is an effective strategy for cybersecurity that can assist organizations in lowering their risk of cyberattacks and data breaches, enhancing compliance, lowering their risk of insider threats, and boosting efficiency and agility. If you’re considering using the zero trust model in your company, it’s crucial to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of this strategy thoroughly.
India is also witnessing investments in zero trust models such as in fintech, auto, e-commerce, entertainment, and D2C. Even a study by ‘Data security in the age of Zero Trust 2021’ stated that “62% of respondents indicated that they have adopted a Zero Trust strategy; however, 90% of those indicated they only adopted Zero Trust over the last 12 months”. The zero trust model, if used efficiently, can provide effective cybersecurity results as by the end of 2022, spending on digital transformation technologies will reach an estimated $1.8 trillion and according to a report, ‘Data security in the age of Zero Trust 2021,’ conducted across Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, the Asia Pacific region saw a 54% increase in cybersecurity incidents in 12 months.
- Zero Trust Model: Principles, Challenges, and a Real Life Example Hysolate
- How Zero Trust is shaping the future of cybersecurity in India (indiatimes.com)
- The (endless) journey to zero-trust (msn.com)
- The Principle of Zero Trust Access (linkedin.com)
- 5 Principles of Zero Trust Security | PeerSpot
Author: Ms. Sakshi Singh, Intern, CyberPeace Foundation