As cyberattacks continue to evolve in frequency and sophistication, organizations like yours need a cybersecurity approach that can keep these threats at bay. Adopting a zero-trust model is one way to accomplish this goal.
Here are some steps you can take to adopt Zero Trust Security.
STEP 1: Make a list of all the people and non-human entities on the network.
With the ever-increasing list of threats to information security, it is hard to imagine a threat worse than the one posed by insiders. It is well known that insider attacks are the most difficult to detect and mitigate because they come from trusted sources. To protect your network, you need to know who has access to it and what they can do with it. The best way to start is by making a list of all people and non-human entities on the network.
To make a list of your subjects, you need to ask yourself: Who has access to your servers or networks? There are users (both human and machine) that are given privileged access for various reasons.
You might have a system administrator who manages all the workstations, or an auditor set up on your payroll system to monitor its usage from time to time. Make sure you identify all users and non-human entities both currently on the network and those who have been active in the past.
STEP 2: Identify your assets.
It’s important to identify all the devices and digital artifacts that are part of your organization. This is especially true for things like user accounts and applications, which may not be obvious at first glance but can have a significant impact on how you manage those assets. As an example, let's say you're rolling out a new application to your employees. This will require unique employee accounts that they'll need to sign into to use the app. You need to know these accounts exist or else you'll run into problems when trying to integrate them into the software, patch them for security flaws and back up their data.
The same goes for physical assets in your environment. For example, if you have a fleet of laptops that go out with employees for business trips, you need to know about all of them so that you can back up data and update anti-virus software on each device as necessary.
Finally, it's also important to track changes in your environment so that you can evaluate access requests efficiently. For example, if there's a new employee who joins the company and wants access to sensitive information or software, the person in charge of managing access requests needs the ability to easily determine the new employee's access rights.
STEP 3: Identify the key processes involved in executing your plan and evaluate the risks that may arise.
Identify the business processes that you want to secure, and then determine whether there are any risks involved in executing that process. If there are, make sure that your access management system can help mitigate those risks.
For example, a common business process is granting or denying access to sensitive information. If this process poses security risks for your organization, then you need an access-management solution that can help keep the information safe from malicious users.
It's important that you don't try to implement zero-trust across the board in one fell swoop. Instead, start with a low-risk business process as a test run so that you can learn what works well before moving on to more complex processes.
STEP 4: Create zero trust policies.
A zero-trust security model is an approach to protecting your organization's data and resources, designed to replace the older "trusted" network model. In this model, there are no assumptions made about an insider's or outsider's intentions. Any access to resources is considered "zero trust," meaning anyone who has access can be assumed to be malicious until proven otherwise.
The concept of zero trust security doesn't mean you have to treat everyone as a potential adversary—it just means that you must assess and understand the risk associated with all employees, third-party partners, contractors, and vendors, and then develop procedures to ensure that only those who need access to your systems and data get it.
In addition, you should establish processes for monitoring user behavior and creating strong authentication or authorization methods that limit access to authorized users while they are using the network. Consider whether there are any sensitive activities that should be limited or prohibited outside of normal business hours, such as viewing sensitive information or accessing mission-critical resources.
STEP 5: Identify potential solutions.
A zero-trust security model at work can be difficult for companies that have traditionally relied on a trust-based security model. It requires a business to build and maintain new policies and protocols around legacy systems. For example, the desire to access enterprise data from personal devices such as phones or tablets is often blocked in a zero-trust model, due to the risk introduced by mobile devices that are not under IT control.
While it's important to identify the desired end state of a zero-trust network environment, it's also important to identify potential solutions that could meet your needs while keeping costs and complexity low. In addition, you'll want to make sure that the solution you choose will support the range of use cases your company needs, such as email and web usage, as well as evolve into other use cases in the future. A pilot program may be a good way to test how different devices interact with multiple layers of security.
STEP 6: Deploy and Monitor your solution
As you consider how to roll out your zero-trust security strategy, remember that it's not a one-size-fits-all approach. Your organization may not be ready to go all in on zero trust right away; rather, you can deploy your solution in reporting mode first. This allows you to monitor your network and adjust as needed before moving on to the full deployment.
If there are any issues, you can adjust the policies accordingly so that everything works smoothly. As you gain more confidence with the system, you can begin to plan for the next phase of deployment.
In this way, zero trust security is a cycle of implementation and adjustment rather than a fixed state or a destination. It's about constantly improving your environment so that it is ready for anything—and so that it does not contain any unnecessary risks.
Like any large-scale strategic change, a zero-trust implementation can be intimidating. To simplify the process, consider partnering with an IT service provider like us to develop an effective and practical zero-trust strategy.
Contact us to secure your business’s future through ZERO TRUST NOW.
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