In 2020, there were 1.5 billion credentials stolen according to SpyCloud. These credentials were stolen during 854 security breaches (successful attempts by cybercriminals to gain access to restricted data without authorization). This is a 33% increase from 2019. How can this be prevented? Well, that is where the Zero Trust Model comes in.

Using a Zero Trust Model, there is no difference between internal and external requests. This model requires specific clearance at each level, ensuring only those with the proper credentials are granted access to that level’s data.

What is the Zero Trust Model & how is it different?

The Zero Trust Model requires verification from both internal and external requests before it will grant access or “trust” to the user. This model assumes that every request is a threat, even those made from within the company’s firewall, therefore, it requires verification for every request.

The Zero Trust Model is different from other security practices as it uses the model of “never trust, always verify”, as opposed to “trust, but verify”. Other security models only request verification from requests outside of the trusted network or firewall. Zero Trust views every request as a potential threat and requires full authentication, authorization, and encryption.

The Zero Trust Model records the data that is used throughout the entirety of the process. This data is then analyzed and put into action, in real-time, to identify and respond to any potential or active threats. This is an analytics based approach and helps to stop threats as they are happening and identify any new threats that may not be known by security software.

Why was the Zero Trust Model created?

Our data is being shared faster than ever before. It is also being shared remotely, which can lead to security breaches. Working remotely means people are using a cloud-based infrastructure, which requires access to data from outside of the company’s firewall, so general access to your network is not going to offer the level of security needed to keep your data safe. We suggest hiring a professional to assess your firewall and determine the proper access for any employees that are working remotely or accessing data from their home or anywhere else.

Zero Trust Principles

The foundation of the Zero Trust Model consists of four principles. These principles are what separate the Zero Trust Model from other security approaches.

  1. Review and verify at each level of security. Everyone is a suspect, until proven otherwise through the process of authentication, authorization, and encryption. There are no exceptions.
  2. Users can only access data they need. This limits the damage caused in case of a breach. “Microsegmentation” is also used to separate areas of the network through various access points. This ensures that in case of a breach it can be contained and not go beyond the microsegment.
  3. Monitoring is done in real-time. This allows you to quickly identify potential threats and greatly reduce the “breakout time” (the amount of time it takes for the intruder to spread beyond the initial access point to other parts of your network).
  4. Stay up to date with new and updated security tools or programs. Intruders are always improving and changing their techniques, so updating your software will allow you to also have the latest in techniques to prevent a breach. Initially, you may also need to upgrade obsolete technology that is not compatible with Zero Trust Model practices.

As with any security protocol, it is not going to be an easy fix. Zero Trust security will need to be installed and managed in stages. There isn’t a model that can be downloaded and implemented in one day. The process needs to be planned out, and any systems, devices, and software will need to be updated or replaced if it does not comply with the software. There is no single solution to implement the Zero Trust Model.

Be sure to familiarize your employees, third-party partners and clients with the tech equipment and software that you are implementing to achieve the Zero Trust Model. For the Zero Trust Model to be successful, it will require support from each member to avoid any unnecessary stress or miscommunication of best practices.