What is Zero Trust? Learn about Zero Trust Security, its role in securing companies against malicious insiders and outsiders and how you can get started.
Why Zero Trust, Now?
Zero Trust is a security concept that has gotten a ton of attention in the last few years because when applied properly and holistically, it can help compensate for a good deal of what has traditionally been missing in security approaches.
Back in the days before the cloud, before BYOD, before working from home was a thing, whatever was inside an organization’s network perimeter—its users, data, machines, traffic, etc.—was considered good and trustworthy. In the era of perimeter-based security, organizations could rest assured that if someone was on the inside of their perimeter, they weren’t malicious. Conversely, whatever was on the outside of their perimeter was treated as potentially malicious.
Today's workplace is not quite so simple. The introduction of the modern cloud-based infrastructure brought lots of new and exciting SaaS applications with endless capabilities – and the ability to access them from anywhere, on any device. The proliferation of user devices – laptops, tablets and, of course, smartphones, and users’ preference for using their own devices, triggered the era of Bring Your Own Device, known as BYOD.
BYOD meant that employees could access sensitive corporate networks using their own personal laptops and mobile devices, which may or may not have adequate security measures. And remote work has given access to a whole new group of external users over whom an organization has little supervision and control. This all means that organizations can no longer trust what's going on inside their networks.
Zero Trust Security for Dummies
In today's highly complex networks, assuming that traffic is safe simply because it's on the inside of your perimeter would be dangerous. Moreover, highly sophisticated attack methods have made it easier than ever to steal credentials, allowing attackers to slip deep inside networks totally undetected. In the days of traditional perimeter-based security, such movement would have continued unnoticed.
The short version of Zero Trust for dummies is that everything, regardless if it's inside or outside of your network, should be treated as suspicious. A fuller Zero Trust definition is that it’s a strategic security approach based on strict access controls and a “default deny” posture, even for users within the organization.
The strategy’s “never trust, always verify” motto translates into a least-privilege access model to ensure that even when rogue entities make their way inside networks, they cannot move laterally. Implementing least privileged access vastly reduces risk by limiting the organizational attack surface. Implementing a Zero Trust strategy also greatly increases visibility, helping organizations monitor and analyze all activities.
The many benefits of implementing a Zero Trust Strategy, include:
Reduced risk and attack surface
As mentioned above, least privilege means that users are granted only the permissions they need to access resources vital for their work—nothing more, nothing less. This prevents them from seeing – and possibly exploiting -- data they have no business accessing.
Better user experiences
By enabling strong access controls that are not location-dependent, Zero Trust allows users to work from anywhere on any device they choose. This is a huge win for productivity and flexibility.
Faster time to detect
Providing a transparent view of the network for infosec managers is a core principle in Zero Trust. It enables organizations to detect and shut down attacks before they can do damage.
Zero Trust is the most effective strategy available today to prevent cyber threats from harming your organization. That’s why many providers have already integrated Zero Trust protections in their network and resource access solutions. Applying Zero Trust security principles to one of today’s most vital business activities – browsing the web – is, however, more of a challenge. After all, the web cannot be verified, much less trusted.
Using a novel technology called remote browser isolation, however, organizations can verify that website content that reaches their networks via endpoint browsers is safe. Read more about how Ericom Shield remote browser isolation extends Zero Trust security to the internet and emails – where your business needs it the most, or download our whitepaper today.