Zero Trust Security - The contemporary response to modern cyber threats
14. Oct 2023 | 3 min.
14. Oct 2023 | 3 min.
In a world where data is increasingly digitised, an unstoppable wave of cyber threats is circulating. These attacks are not only becoming more frequent, but also more sophisticated, and their effects can be fatal. Traditional security models based on blind trust in the internal network are no longer sufficient for the emerging threats.
This leads us to Zero Trust models – a modern approach to network security that is fundamentally changing the way we protect our digital assets. The term appeared as early as 1994 in a doctoral thesis on computer security. The model challenges the assumption that internal systems and users can be automatically trusted.
Before the principles of Zero Trust became popular, the strategy was that everything outside the corporate network was considered potentially threatening. Virus scanners, firewalls and basic segmentation were used for protection. This is known as the “castle and moat” model. Devices within one’s own network were considered trustworthy and secure.
This approach no longer offers effective protection against current threats. In order to meet today’s requirements, the Zero Trust model, among others, was developed.
„An adaptation of the Zero Trust model against current cyber threats is elementary in order to protect one's company against current cyber threats and thus ensure its continued existence.“
The Zero Trust model does not trust any device or user inside or outside the network. Several security aspects are required to access the corporate network and thus corporate data. For example, users and devices must explicitly authenticate and verify themselves.
The goal is to reduce the risk to corporate networks and applications and also to ward off threats within the corporate network. Traditional security concepts do not have this aspect in mind. Once the “moat” is overcome, there was little to no protection within the internal network.
In addition to the fact that in the Zero Trust model no one inside or outside the network may be trusted and data traffic must be encrypted, there are other features that describe this model. For example, all assets of the company must be inventoried and access to resources must be granted according to the “least privilege” principle. This also applies to network boundaries. In addition, data traffic must be analysed and logged.
Implementing Zero Trust means a great deal of effort for companies, which must be carefully planned. Implementation must take into account all indicators, including all services, users and devices. These must be recorded and systems provided for user authentication and verification of internal and external data packets. The implementation is done by segmenting the network. This ensures strong control of data packets and access to systems can be controlled more granularly. Policies are defined for users and devices that regulate access and data traffic. The policies must be constantly adapted to changes and always kept up to date.
An adaptation of the Zero Trust model against current cyber threats is elementary in order to protect one’s company against current cyber threats and thus ensure its continued existence.
For a successful Zero Trust implementation, a good roadmap is necessary as part of a cyber strategy. The implementation can be done in several steps, which favours a successful implementation and creates security in a timely manner.