How Organizations Can Achieve Zero Trust
#1. Know Your Organization’s Needs
The zero trust security model is designed to provide a balance between security and business productivity. On the one hand, zero trust is designed to allow employees to perform their duties without hindrance. On the other, any unauthorized access or use of corporate resources should be blocked by the organization’s zero trust security controls.
This means that an organization needs to understand its needs before it can effectively deploy zero trust. For example, an organization with a remote workforce should know how employees use corporate resources and how to configure ZTNA. From a security perspective, the organization should consider factors like regulatory compliance and how to ensure that a distributed workforce does not violate compliance requirements.
#2. Create a Directory of All Assets
A zero trust security strategy is designed to manage access to all of an organization’s assets based on the principle of least privilege. Therefore, before developing a zero trust strategy, it is essential to create a directory of all corporate assets. This enables an organization to effectively scope its zero trust deployment and to ensure that it has the proper security solutions to consistently and effectively enforce zero trust policies across its entire environment. This directory of assets will also be useful when defining RBACs for the zero trust system.
#3. Think Ahead: Be Preventive
Prevention is the best form of cybersecurity. Detection-based security controls only act once an attack is already in progress, while prevention can block the attack from ever entering the organization’s systems or causing any damage whatsoever.
The key to prevention is identifying potential attack scenarios and putting into place the appropriate security controls. For example, the shift to remote work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has made workers a primary target of cyberattacks. Organizations that secure the remote workforce with zero trust access solutions are less vulnerable to attacks exploiting these remote workers’ computers.
#4. Continuously Monitor + Be Responsive
A zero trust security architecture provides an organization with deep visibility into how its IT resources are being used. Since every resource request is validated against RBACs, the organization can see what is going on within its environment.
This granular visibility can be invaluable for detecting potential intrusions or abuse of privileges; however, this is only useful if someone is watching for these events. As part of a zero trust strategy, enterprises should develop a plan to monitor zero trust solutions and remediate any potential intrusions before they cause significant damage to the organization.
#5. Align with the Broader Security Strategy
Implementing a zero trust security strategy can help dramatically improve an organization’s IT security. However, a zero trust program is only one component of a corporate security strategy or, more generally, an IT strategy.
When designing a zero trust security strategy, it is important to align it with the corporate security strategy and IT network strategy. By ensuring that goals are in alignment and identifying opportunities to use the same solutions to address multiple use cases, an organization makes its zero trust strategy easier to adopt and more sustainable.