Embracing a Zero Trust Security Model

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a security model, a set of system design principles, and a coordinated cybersecurity and system management strategy based on an acknowledgement that threats exist both inside and outside traditional network boundaries. Zero Trust repeatedly questions the premise that users, devices, and network components should be implicitly trusted based on their location within the network. Zero Trust embeds comprehensive security monitoring; granular, dynamic, and risk-based access controls; and system security automation in a coordinated manner throughout all aspects of the infrastructure in order to focus specifically on protecting critical assets (data) in real-time withina dynamic threat environment.This data-centric security model allows the concept of least privileged access to be applied for every access decision, where the answers to the questions of who, what, when, where, and how are critical for appropriately allowing or denying access to resources. Source

Adopt a Zero Trust mindset

To adequately address the modern dynamic threat environment requires: ·Coordinated and aggressive system monitoring, system management, and defensive operations capabilities.

  • Assuming all requests for critical resources and all network traffic may be malicious.
  • Assuming all devices and infrastructure may be compromised.
  • Accepting that all access approvals to critical resources incur risk, and being prepared to perform rapid damage assessment, control, and recovery operations.
Embrace Zero Trust guiding principles

A Zero Trust solution requires operational capabilities that:

  • Never trust, always verify–Treat every user, device, application/workload, and data flow as untrusted. Authenticate and explicitly authorize each to the least privilege required using dynamic security policies.
  • Assume breach–Consciously operate and defend resources with the assumption that an adversary already has presence within the environment. Deny by default and heavily scrutinize all users, devices, data flows, and requests for access. Log, inspect, and continuously monitor all configuration changes, resource accesses, and network traffic for suspicious activity.
  • Verify explicitly–Access to all resources should be conducted in a consistent and secure manner using multiple attributes (dynamic and static) to derive confidence levels for contextual access decisions to resources.
Leverage Zero Trust design concepts

When designing a Zero Trust solution:

  • Define mission outcomes–Derive the Zero Trust architecture from organization-specific mission requirements that identify the critical Data/Assets/Applications/Services (DAAS).
  • Architect from the inside out–First, focus on protecting critical DAAS. Second, secure all paths to access them.
  • Determine who/what needs access to the DAAS to create access control policies–Create security policies and apply them consistently across all environments (LAN, WAN, endpoint, perimeter, mobile, etc.).
  • Inspect and log all traffic before acting–Establish full visibility of all activity across all layers from endpoints and the network to enable analytics that can detect suspicious activity.

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