How to Implement an Effective Zero Trust Strategy

The rapid adoption of IoT devices, cloud infrastructures, recent expansion of remote workforces and the increased execution of service contracts with multi-tier contractors has created massive distributed IT networks that are placing more emphasis on Zero Trust approaches.

July 24, 2020 4 minute read

These distributed environments display increased attack surface areas creating multiple entry points for adversarial actors to penetrate and potentially own a technology ecosystem. Establishing a Zero Trust environment is the logical answer. What is the best way to implement Zero Trust, and how can organizations ensure that they are fully protected from deep within their infrastructure out to multiple distributed endpoints?

On June 23, World Wide Technology and Fornetix co-hosted a webinar in partnership with Carahsoft to walk through these issues involving Zero Trust and provide insight into how organizations can overcome these challenges to successfully implement an effective Zero Trust strategy.

First, a refresher—what exactly is Zero Trust?

Defining Zero Trust

Zero Trust is a security framework that is defined by an architecture. This framework replaces the implicit trust based on location in a legacy approach with a risk-based “least privileged” approach that extends across users, devices, networks, apps, workloads and data.

IT security and risk management professionals overseeing remote network access to massive hybrid IT environments are forced to consider multiple remote security products, which only further complicates matters. Utilizing technology that can be centrally controlled and managed through the enterprise infrastructure is a considerable challenge. Building a Zero Trust security framework ensures protection across the enterprise and out to the edge.

What intrigues and scares many professionals about the Zero Trust model is its tendency to disrupt the status quo. Any security model involving the concept of disruption presents new risk to the enterprise; in the case of Zero Trust, however, the potential opportunities that could come from overhauling your existing security infrastructure and implementing a Zero Trust model are certainly worth considering.

Impact on the business

Implementing a Zero Trust architecture has the potential to significantly impact certain key business drivers with regard to your organization’s security posture:

  • Reduce Attack Surface – Corporate initiatives like cloud adoption and a remote workforce expands your attack surface. Zero Trust eliminates the flat network. Adversaries are unable to attack what they cannot see.
  • Continuous Risk Assessment – The legacy approach lacks dynamic enforcement of policy for users, services and devices. Zero Trust implements policies based on risk tolerance before that resource is granted access.
  • Least Privileged Access – The legacy approach followed “trust but verify.” Zero Trust mandates a “never trust always verify, enforce least privilege” approach to privileged access, from inside or outside the network.

When considering implementing a Zero Trust security model, it is important to know whether your organization has clear visibility to every location where sensitive data is housed, along with a complete rundown of exactly who can access that data.

It is not just about collecting the data. It involves deciphering, understanding and traversing the data, as well as integrating the proper tools to work with your legacy systems. The process of overhauling your organization’s security strategy is more than just the initial collection of data and credentialing employees. 

Cloud adoption and user mobility have become key factors that impact and affect an organization’s data governance strategy. The intricacies of a hybrid security environment — especially given the present need to have remote access across myriad locations — can leave unsecured gaps of vulnerability.

A hidden vulnerability at any level can leave your organization open to security risks that are otherwise avoidable, leading to the outright failure of a data governance strategy that is not tight as a drum. Those ultra-slim margins of error speak to the holistic nature of a Zero Trust architecture.

This makes network flexibility a key element of an effective Zero Trust model as well — having the ability to adjust your network and the way it communicates based off of incoming requests for access in order to defend against unauthorized users gaining unwarranted access to your organization’s proprietary data and that of the broader workforce.

Like any secure, fortified structure, the key is building a sturdy framework upon a sound foundation. The same applies to successfully implementing a secure Zero Trust architecture.

Stream the virtual webcast its entirety: How to Implement an Effective Zero Trust Strategy.

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