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What is Zero Trust? Definition and Related FAQs

CNBC has reported that the demand for Zero Trust supporting products is rising speedily, with a forecast of over 200% growth between 2020 and 2026. The Zero Trust model significantly diverges from the traditional network security model. It requires that every access that must be granted to an organization’s network must first of all be verified.

As the name implies, Zero Trust means that no trust should be granted to any user or device without it first going through authentication, authorization, and continuous validation. The model is integrated to prevent data breaches and unauthorized access to a network. 

Zero Trust Definition

The Zero Trust framework was first coined by John Kindervag, a former Forrester Research security analyst. It is defined as an advanced IT security model that ensures the complete repeated authentication and validation process before offering access to resources.

As an IT security system, Zero Trust utilizes high-end security technologies such as next-gen endpoint security, multi-factor authentication, and identity & access management (IAM) to verify each access while upholding a solid security system.

Zero Trust offers organizations adaptive and continuous protection for assets, data, and users. The ‘trust-no-one’ practice places a high priority on every single connection that’s to be built on a network. Organizations and Defenders will also be able to enforce security policies constantly and detect and respond spontaneously to threats while also gaining insight across their security enterprise. You can check out F5’s zero trust definition and glossary to find out even more about zero trust from leading industry experts.

Zero Trust Model: Related FAQs

Zero Trust policy answers basic questions to determine who or what should receive validation and at what time should the resources be available or denied? Also, how should unified security policies be utilized to protect each attack surface?

A. Who should be trusted to access a resource?

Access should be considered based on authentication policy, User ID, and strong multi-factor authentication (MFA). Restricted access to individuals, groups and devices with a clean business record would improve access control. 

User identity for receiving access to resources should be based on authentication policy. At the same time, a solid MFA  would be required for requesting at least an extra authentication factor before full network access is provided.

B. Which device or application is being used to build a connection to a resource?

You’ll get answers to this question by considering implementing the Layer 7 policy, which recognizes every device and application irrespective of the port, protocol, or strategies to evade security breaches. With this policy, only safe and valid applications will be given access to the network. Layer 4 or 3 policy only relies on IP addresses and creates loopholes for invasive applications to leverage.

C. Where is the resource destination?

The location of the resources to be accessed should be included in the Zero Trust policy formulation. Limit the traffic source where necessary, including the IP address and zone.

D. At what time (when) do users access resources?

Access should be given to resources at specified occasions and times to curb malicious attempts from gaining access to resources during organizational off-hours by implementing a scheduling feature and the Zero Trust policy. With this tactic in place, attackers have less chance of laying their hands on data.

E. What is the reason behind user access requests to data, and what are the potential dangers if data gets lost

It is essential to understand the value of every piece of data made available to users. This information is critical to help you decide who should have access to your Zero Trust policy rules, what to do with data after a completed task, and how best data should be protected.

What if there is a data leak to an unauthorized user? Would you have to disclose it? 

Data classification tools will be efficient for setting up data filtering to avoid a situation of data loss and also to gain insight into metadata.

F. How should access to resources be granted?

A solution is to conduct best practices to protect data and applications from attacks.

Users who carry out authentic business activities alone should be granted access to specific applications per time, in stipulated approach and time.

Put in place a steady threat prevention policy and tactics across endpoints, cloud, and network for every kind of user.

Zero Trust security must have a holistic strategy by integrating different endpoints, detection, and response capabilities to ensure optimal network security.

G. How should trust be given to the authentication mechanism?

Authenticators must store information away in private key hardware material so that it is not accessible and cannot be subjected to theft. Strong authentication gives user identity trust if passed. With this, users will be able to build confidence in their network, and the likelihood of phishing will be eradicated.