Organizations constantly assume the trust of their users. They assume their users are using safe/trusted networks, and they take a lesser position of security on this basis. This explains why the IT team deploys its security measures at the network perimeter. There is network perimeter stuff like proxy servers, next-generation firewalls, and network intrusion systems. All the structures and systems mentioned above are cybersecurity postures that the organization takes when it assumes its users can be trustworthy. Zero Trust Security is different, and the IT team deploys proactive security structures, systems, and practices that assume that no user is accessing their network from a position of trust or safety. In the successive lines of this article, we shall extensively consider best practices for Zero Trust Security.
What is Zero Trust Security?
It is simply the practice of deploying security tech like MFA, IAM, encryption, analytics to authenticate users and validate their safety before they access organizational network/cloud. This system is built upon the premise that organizations should never assume trust when dealing with their users.
This cybersecurity strategy doesn’t eliminate the network perimeter. Instead, it exploits micro-segmentation to move the perimeter to the areas users use. IT experts constantly use this comparison to paint a picture of what your IT team is doing with zero trust security. They are simply taking the security out of the lobby, but putting a security guard at every entry point, staircase, doors, stairwell, etc.
Zero trust security employs one important policy (Principle of Least Privilege, PoLP). This policy simply ensures that users don’t get access to a network to more than they need. End-users are given access to only things they need and are relevant for their tasks, nothing more.
Zero trust security is a more proactive way of ensuring the defense and sustaining the integrity of your security system. This is because it assumes every user (internally and externally) as a potential threat irrespective of their trustworthiness. This is contrary to other systems that gamble with the odds that every user working internally with the organization is trustworthy and uncompromised.
Why Zero Trust Security?
Zero Trust Security affords organizations certain exclusive privileges. The most critical being ability is to ascertain the security level within the organization rather than gamble with the odds that users within the organization are trusted. An organization that deploys zero trust security would identify security breaches faster and have better visibility into the network traffic.
The IT team of such organizations would be able to account for users’ activities and prohibit the exfiltration of customer data to a command or control towers external to the organization’s network. One of the significant advantages of zero-trust security is how it optimizes the user experience. Through MFA and SSO, users would eliminate the bottleneck associated with re-authentication and remembering complex passwords.
Best Practices of Zero Trust Security
1. Use the MFA
The best practices of zero-trust security verify all users through a Multi-factor Authentication process. Since this security architecture/system is built upon never trust, it is only smart that you always verify. In this case, the username and password of the users are no longer sufficient information to grant them access. It’s usually the first layer of verification before you grant a user access.
Other verification means that your IT Team could deploy include; security questions, autogeneration of codes sent to a token or device, or a biometric access point through fingers, voice, or other means. Every user in the network must go through MFA depending on the sensor data and partners, end-users, customers, staff, etc.
2. Verify Devices
The best zero trust security practices could further ensure the security of their network by verifying devices. This can be an extra layer of security after verifying users, or it can be replaced with user verification. The IT team implements this practice to ensure that devices that access the organization’s network and cloud security meet standards. To do this effectively, your IT team must integrate a solution that tracks and enforce security requirements for all devices with easy onboarding and offboarding.
3. Eyes on End User and User Experience
The best practices of zero-trust security improve user experience, and end uses access does not complicate it. In your bid to beef up security and allow only trusted access, you must vary the bottleneck across various users. For example, your end-users just want to work, making it difficult and frustrating to access the network wouldn’t make your organization any better. For your end-users, ensure that your IT team guarantees the most frictionless Sass-like experience.
4. Use the PoLP
Recall the PoLP? It’s simply the practice of ensuring each user doesn’t get access to more than they need to execute whatever task they came to execute on your organization’s network. This practice can lock out confidential and sensitive information from access by unconcerned users. To reduce bottlenecks and bureaucracy associated with accessing some information when they are needed. Your IT team can provide just-in-time privileged access that allows concerned users to access certain data only when needed.
5. Strict Surveillance
The best practices for zero-trust security sets strict surveillance across an organization’s network. Through this surveillance system, your IT team can account for the activity of each user. Even better, your IT team must integrate a solution that monitors and audits everything that happens within the cloud and network of the organization.
It makes sense to implement attribute-based controls to take more proactive security measures. Also, end-user training must be included in your IT team activity to improve the user experience in zero-trust security architecture. Through this training, end users understand better why your IT does what it does, and they know their part in keeping the integrity of the security system. No doubt, zero-trust security is an architecture worth adopting by organizations when they can’t guarantee users' trust.