The Seven Pillars Of The Zero Trust Security Philosophy

Jan 20, 2023 | Cybersecurity | 0 comments

With hybrid working models now becoming the norm, many organisations have had to rethink their traditional security practices. As a result, many Irish businesses now operate a Zero Trust security model as part of their security strategy.

In the remote landscape, the acceptance of the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend has increased, allowing employees to use their unprotected devices to access sensitive data stored on the company’s network. And with cloud migration, they can use SaaS and other web-based apps to access sensitive company data.

An unnerving consequence of such actions is that when employees access your networks through these devices and apps, they unknowingly increase the number of points where attackers can gain entry into your systems.

So, what is the solution? Well, one of the best ways to counter this vulnerability is to adopt the Zero Trust security philosophy. So what exactly does it do, and how can it be implemented?

In this article, we shed some light on the Zero Trust cybersecurity approach and examine its seven foundational pillars.


What do we mean by a Zero Trust security policy?


Zero Trust is an approach to network security where users must be authenticated and authorised before gaining access to data and applications, regardless of whether they are within or outside the organisation’s network.

The security framework also requires the organisation to continuously validate the users for their security configuration and posture regularly to maintain that access.


The seven pillars of a Zero Trust security policy


An effective Zero Trust security policy must operate on several principles to effectively safeguard your business from cyber threats. Here are the seven pillars of a Zero Trust security policy:


Don’t be lulled into complacency because the steps seem “too much”


This pillar emphasises the importance of being prepared to authenticate and authorise users at any point during a transaction.

In the modern digital environment, companies face an unprecedented level of likely threats. You are responsible for rigorously monitoring and verifying users’ identity and security profiles to stay ahead of these threats.

Your business must be prepared to authenticate and authorise its users multiple times throughout a transaction, even when it feels “too much.” You never know; that one extra step might prevent a cyber attack.


Monitor repeatedly


The Zero Trust approach requires you to monitor your enterprise apps continuously to minimise the risk of unauthorised users accessing them. Cybercriminals are always targeting business applications because of the sensitive data they contain. As such, you should track every request to access these apps.

Remember that a single successful unauthorised access attempt can lead to significant damage. For instance, the attacker can access customer data and use it for phishing or extortion schemes.


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Enforce Zero Trust security strictly


When dealing with business applications, you should treat all users equally and grant or deny them access based on the same security policies. Therefore, you need to enforce your Zero Trust security policy stringently.

All users must adhere to the same protocols and standards regarding authentication and authorisation processes, and your security checks should be consistent and continue throughout the lifecycle of a user’s access.


Be adaptable


A Zero Trust security policy should be dynamic and adapt based on environmental and behavioural attributes. In some cases, factors like device posture and location increase the risk of cyberattacks. Accordingly, these factors should automatically trigger the protocols responsible for controlling access.

It should be easy to automatically diagnose user location and information parameters, the device they are using to request access, and relevant security clearance. In other words, the decisions like no access, limited access, or full access should be based on the most current factors at any given time.


Prioritise secure communication


Generally, the Zero Trust approach to security requires you to always authenticate users requesting access to your network. Your system should require authentication for every new session, even when the device or the user asking for access was previously verified.

The communications between the users and the system should be encrypted to execute this authorisation and authentication – this encryption ensures that the information between the user and server is secure.


Keep an eye on resources


With the rise of cloud-based systems, the devices that can access your network are limitless. Users can execute transactions from anywhere in the world, increasing network vulnerability.

As a result, you need comprehensive authentication protocols to ensure all the connected devices used to access your data are secure. You should employ the principle of least privilege (PoLP) to limit resources access to only what is necessary to complete a given task.


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Evaluate every session independently


Zero Trust security requires you to evaluate every user session on a case-by-case basis. You should monitor the behaviour of users throughout their access and look for any suspicious activities, such as multiple failed attempts or unusual data manipulation.

Don’t assume that users and devices should get automatic access just because they were allowed once. After all, every session is a risk, and you should evaluate it accordingly.


Calnet IT Solutions is the cybersecurity provider you need to implement Zero Trust policies


Adhering to the principles of Zero Trust consistently and thoroughly requires energy, oversight and dedication – but the potential consequences of not doing so could be catastrophic.

To keep your business safe from cyber attacks, you need a reliable partner to help you keep malicious actors at bay. Calnet IT Solutions is the number one choice for Irish businesses who are seeking protection from cyber attacks.

We can offer affordable, top-notch cybersecurity services to secure your data without sacrificing productivity, so contact us today to find out how we can help protect your business from cyber-attacks.

Also, make sure to check out our blog and resources for the latest IT updates, news, insights, and guides from our experienced and capable team.

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