In a personal or professional relationship, Zero Trust would probably doom a relationship. Not so in our industry, where Zero Trust can be the start of a safe, secure cybersecurity relationship for a variety of businesses and organizations.
With cyber-attacks rising to new and disturbing levels, the zero-trust model and mindset is fast becoming the cybersecurity strategy of choice for many companies and organizations in a wide range of sectors. In fact, 79 percent of businesses are either in the process of adopting Zero Trust or have already adopted it, according to Statistica. That’s a high adoption rate, but not surprising because more businesses are seeing results from this non-trust approach. A 2022 Capterra survey found that a near-unanimous 99 percent of those who adopted Zero Trust said it has improved their company’s cybersecurity.
Here are some other interesting findings:
- Zero Trust can reduce the cost of a data breach by approximately $1.76 million – Source
- Zero Trust segmentation efficiencies translate into saving up to nearly 40 person-hours per week- Source
- Businesses that utilize Zero Trust are two times more likely to avoid critical outages within 24 hours after after a cyberattack – Source
- For a company, Zero Trust averts five cyber disasters annually and saves more than $20 million a year – Source
- By 2026, the Zero Trust market is projected to hit $52 billion – Source
Zero Trust has zipped into the consciousness of business leaders. Still, the concept remains a bit of a mystery to a lot of people. Here is some background.
Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA)
A Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) is a cybersecurity approach requiring all users, whether inside or outside the company’s network, to be authenticated, authorized, and regularly checked for security posture and configuration before being allowed access to applications and information. Under Zero Trust, it is assumed there is no traditional network edge. In other words, networks can be in the cloud, local, or a hybrid, with resources anywhere along with employees in any location.
History of Zero Trust
Founded by Forrester Research alum John Kindervag in 2009, Zero Trust’s main tenet is to “never trust and always verify.” While the seeds of Zero Trust actually existed in the 20th century, the concept started taking off during a 2004 Jericho Forum, which TechTarget touches on in The history and evolution of zero-trust security.
How Does Zero Trust Work
The implementation of Zero Trust fuses advanced technologies, including identity protection, multi-factor authentication, a strong cloud workload technology, and next-generation endpoint security. Together, they substantiate a system’s or users’ identity. Before they connect to applications, Zero Trust requires securing email, data encryption, and verification of asset hygiene and endpoints.
Here are some pillars of Zero Trust:
Stopping lateral movement
In cybersecurity parlance, “lateral movement” occurs when a bad actor traverses within a network after gaining access to that system. Lateral movement can be hard to identify even if the attacker’s entry way is found because that person has already moved on to imperil other parts of the network. Zero Trust constricts and contains hackers so they cannot advance laterally. Because access is now segmented and being re-established regularly, the attacker cannot slide to other micro segments within the system. With the attacker now detected, the compromised account or device can be confined.
Using a Zone Defense
Zero Trust systems deploy micro-segmentation, a method of separating security borders into small zones to maintain separate access for separate areas of the network. It limits the kind of traffic that can laterally travel through the network. Micro-segmentation can be used across the network, including the internal data center and cloud environments. This practice enables cybersecurity teams to control how data may be shared and whether security or other measures are needed.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
A main principle of Zero Trust is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), which demands more than a single piece of corroboration to authenticate a user. With MFA, using a password is not enough to secure access. The user will need 2-factor authorization (2FA). Along with a password, users who permit 2FA are also required to enter a code sent to a different device, such as a mobile phone.
Another pillar of Zero Trust is least-privilege access. Like military leaders providing soldiers their marching orders on a need-to-know basis, least privilege means users get the minimum levels of access or permissions they need to do their jobs. It also goes beyond human access. Least privilege can also be enforced on connected devices, systems, and applications. Used properly, least privilege allows a business or organization to centrally manage and lock down on privileged credentials while enabling flexible controls for that important balance of cybersecurity and end-user needs.
Controlling Device Access
Zero Trust requires exacting controls on device access. A Zero Trust system monitors how many different devices are trying to access their network. This ensures that every device is authorized and checked out to make sure they have not been compromised. As a result, the attack surface of the network is minimized.
Zero Trust Use Cases, Benefits
Any enterprise or organization that depends on a network and houses digital information will probably consider deploying Zero Trust. This TechTarget article on Top zero-trust use cases in the enterprise chronicles some common use cases and benefits of Zero Trust.
Implementing Zero Trust
While Zero Trust may sound complex, adopting this security strategy can be easy with the right security software and technology company. At VirnetX, we have two platforms built on a Zero Trust philosophy – Matrix and War Room.
Matrix provides the interface for a growing remote and hybrid workforce to securely access enterprise applications, services, and infrastructure by leveraging the secure environment created by the VirnetX One platform. Matrix protects applications using zero trust network access (ZTNA), allowing employees to work from anywhere with seamless and secure access to corporate applications, regardless of their location, network, or device.
War Room delivers a closed and private video conferencing and meeting solution that secures the exchange and privacy of information between trusted parties without fear of eavesdropping or data breaches.
For more information, please visit https://virnetx.com/.
VirnetX Holding Corporation is an Internet security software and technology company with patented technology for secure communications, including 4G LTE and 5G security. VirnetX’s software and technology solutions, including its secure domain name registry and Gabriel Connection Technology™, are designed to facilitate secure communications and to create a secure environment for real-time communication applications such as instant messaging, VoIP, smartphones, e-readers, and video conferencing. The Company’s patent portfolio includes over 200 U.S. and foreign granted patents, validations, and pending applications. For more information, please visit www.virnetx.com