Zero-trust networking is essential in ensuring the security of network infrastructure. It is an approach whereby networks are secure by providing multiple authentication challenges to every network user. This approach entails using different authentication methods, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) or least privilege access. It also includes a change from the trust but verifies the trust always.

Continuous evaluation of multiple criteria

Zero trust networking is continuously evaluating multiple criteria to ensure data security. This approach involves a multi-layered approach that focuses on protecting sensitive data and identity. Among the critical features of Zero-Trust networking are robust authentication and encryption. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is an integral part of this architecture. It is used to create digital certificates.

Choosing a zero-trust architecture will depend on the mission requirements of an organization. First, zero-trust architectures should focus on securing critical DAAS and securing all paths to these DAAS. Then, an organization should determine who needs access to DAAS and implement security policies that apply to all environments.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) helps protect networks and systems from unauthorized access. It involves challenging users to provide additional proof of identity, such as a temporary code or password delivered to a mobile device. Most cybercriminals will not possess such a device, so this extra security layer protects both the user and the organization.

While multi-factor authentication offers an extra layer of security, it is still not foolproof. Cybercriminals are constantly developing new ways to break into networks and circumvent existing security measures. Some of these techniques include forging secondary credentials and intercepting MFA tokens. Multi-factor authentication must be updated regularly and reinforced with other security tools to remain effective.

Least privilege access

In zero-trust networking, the principle of least privilege (PLP) is used to limit the scope of any security breach. This principle prevents lateral movement across a network and significant data breaches. The use of POLP is crucial for IT systems administrators, who need to control user access and limit the scope of a security breach if they want to minimize the damage.

This principle focuses on the fact that an attacker can steal credentials only when he needs them. In zero-trust networking, each connection is set up individually, and users must authenticate themselves whenever they need to access information or services. This limits the scope of potential threats within the network, which is why it is better to implement this security technique. However, in some scenarios, zero-trust networks require a user to connect to a VPN to gain access to the web. The entire private network is at risk if this user is compromised. A lateral movement attack is even easier to execute once an attacker has access to a user’s credentials.

Shift from the trust but verify to trust; always verify

Organizations have spent a lot of resources upgrading cybersecurity tools and infrastructure. They send staff to vendor training, deploy new firewalls and proxy gateways, and implement EDR and DLP. But they shouldn’t relax and “trust” the security they have in place. Instead, they should revisit the “Trust but verify” concept and use it to guide security decisions.

“Trust but verify” is an old Russian proverb made famous by former US President Ronald Reagan. It means verifying every transaction before proceeding with it. Unfortunately, organizations often rely on the security capabilities implemented by their security team to protect them against cyber threats without ever verifying them.

Impact on employee productivity

Zero-trust networking is a new architecture that places security and privacy first. The zero-trust architecture helps organizations protect against cyberattacks by limiting user access to only those who need access. It also improves network performance for remote workers. The primary advantage of zero-trust networking is that it is more secure than traditional networks.

Zero-trust networks may lead to less trust among employees. Employees who are new to the organization and those in higher positions may place more trust in it. This environment also leads to the development of so-called “local subcultures” within an organization. These groups react differently to rapid changes.

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