Why Companies Should Implement Zero Trust Network Security

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Traditional security models have become obsolete with employees working remotely and the proliferation of cloud infrastructure. Zero Trust addresses this issue by β€œNever trust, always verify.”

This means that users and devices are verified continuously based on identity, location, device health, data sources, services, and workloads. Building a zero-trust architecture requires significant work and investment. But the benefits far outweigh the cost.

Increased Security

Zero trust networks eliminate the perimeter by validating identities and granting access only on a need-to-know basis. Because of this, it’s much harder for attackers to move laterally inside the network. Zero Trust combines business policies with network and application security, such as firewalls, software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), cloud access security brokers (CASBs), and secure web gateways, to provide strong protections for both on-premises and cloud applications and services.

Zero Trust allows you to implement more granular access controls tied to each application’s sensitivity, not the network, by ensuring that users, devices, and data are validated for their identity, location, and purpose. This approach also helps you avoid overprovisioning security that attackers can easily bypass, and it supports the concept of least privilege, a foundational element in cybersecurity. With a zero-trust architecture, you can terminate every connection to ensure an inline proxy inspects traffic for malicious files and enables continuous security inspection. This is important because most traditional technologies use a pass-through approach that only checks for suspicious files after the fact. In contrast, a zero-trust solution verifies each request in real-time. Zero trust solutions also support multi-factor authentication to help prevent password reuse and other common cyber threats by requiring multiple pieces of evidence that an individual is who they claim to be.

Reduced Risk

Organizations deploying zero trust networking experience less risk due to improved cybersecurity and the ability to detect internal threats more quickly. This is because hackers must overcome an external security defense system to access data and applications inside the network.

In addition, implementing Zero Trust reduces the risk of a single breach. Attacks past one verification point (like a firewall or user login) can be stopped by implementing application and device authentication, access control, and micro-segmentation.

Zero Trust is a complex technology to implement and requires a significant commitment from IT teams and users. For this reason, a pilot program should be implemented to get the team used to the increased security measures and workflow changes. The pilot can also help to identify any issues before deploying zero Trust for the entire network.

A key component of Zero Trust is continuous verification – verifying all access, all the time, and from all devices. This helps to limit the blast radius in case of a breach so that only the most sensitive information is compromised. The visibility provided by Zero Trust and a robust threat intelligence platform help to enable this. It is also important to keep devices up-to-date by implementing tools that automatically update and patch software and applications.

Increased Efficiency

Today’s workforce operates across a complex ecosystem of devices, networks, and applications. This distributed environment makes it difficult to correlate real-time security context, especially as employees and partners increasingly use their devices. Zero Trust enables companies to secure this ecosystem by addressing the three primary factors of the modern workforce: users, their devices, and the applications they access.

By requiring identity, device, and application-specific policies and enforcing them with complementary technologies such as biometrics, MFA, and security policy, zero-trust solutions make it more challenging for attackers to access the network and its resources. It also minimizes the attack surface and makes it more difficult for attackers to move laterally within the network or cloud instance.

Traditional network-based segmentation can be difficult to manage operationally and is often vulnerable to attacks that leverage over-privileged service accounts and device vulnerabilities. Zero trust solutions impose the principle of least privilege, ensuring that any device or user is only granted the minimum level of access required for each session and that access is reassessed as the session continues.


Reduced Costs

The Zero Trust model moves from the traditional secure network perimeter security architecture. This reduces the attack surface for an attacker. Zero trust policies verify access and permissions using context, including device identity, location, type of content, and application being accessed. These policies are adaptive and reassessed continuously. This approach eliminates lateral movement and prevents compromised devices from accessing other resources on the internal network.

In addition, the zero trust model provides data protection for users connecting to remote or cloud environments. This helps companies meet data protection regulations and maintain customer trust. Zero Trust also helps organizations adapt to changing work environments. For example, it allows employees to connect to corporate resources from their devices without compromising security.

Finally, zero-trust architectures make managing and monitoring the network easier. They allow administrators to migrate security and micro-segmentation policies as business requirements change automatically. This saves time and effort and avoids mistakes that could compromise security.

One challenge that security leaders must be aware of is that the Zero Trust architecture requires a lot of new resources to deploy and manage. This includes financial resources to invest in the tools and technologies needed and human resources for managing the increased workload. It also requires continuously refining the technology to minimize false positives and improve detection capabilities.

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