What is a Zero Trust Architecture

4 min. read

Zero Trust is a strategic approach to cybersecurity that secures an organization by eliminating implicit trust and continuously validating every stage of a digital interaction. Rooted in the principle of “never trust, always verify,” Zero Trust is designed to protect modern environments and enable digital transformation by using strong authentication methods, leveraging network segmentation, preventing lateral movement, providing Layer 7 threat prevention, and simplifying granular, “least access” policies.

Zero Trust was created based on the realization that traditional security models operate on the outdated assumption that everything inside an organization’s network should be implicitly trusted. This implicit trust means that once on the network, users – including threat actors and malicious insiders – are free to move laterally and access or exfiltrate sensitive data due to a lack of granular security controls.

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Simplifying Zero Trust for User-Based Security

With digital transformation accelerating in the form of a growing hybrid workforce, continued migration to the cloud, and the transformation of security operations, taking a Zero Trust approach has never been more critical. If done correctly, a Zero Trust architecture results in higher overall levels of security, but also in reduced security complexity and operational overhead.

Step 0: Visibility and Critical Asset Identification

In Zero Trust, one of the first steps is the identification of the network’s most critical and valuable data, assets, applications and services. This helps prioritize where to start and also enables the creation of Zero Trust security policies. By identifying the most critical assets, organizations can focus efforts on prioritizing and protecting those assets as part of their Zero Trust journey.

The next step is understanding who the users are, which applications they are using and how they are connecting to determine and enforce policy that ensures secure access to your critical assets.

Building The Zero Trust Enterprise

Although Zero Trust is typically associated with securing users or use cases such as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), a comprehensive zero trust approach encompasses Users, Applications and Infrastructure.

Users - step one of any Zero Trust effort requires strong authentication of user identity, application of “least access” policies, and verification of user device integrity

Applications - applying Zero Trust to applications removes implicit trust with various components of applications when they talk to each other. A fundamental concept of Zero Trust is that applications cannot be trusted and continuous monitoring at runtime is necessary to validate their behavior.

Infrastructure - everything infrastructure-related—routers, switches, cloud, IoT, and supply chain—must be addressed with a Zero Trust approach.

To learn more about Zero Trust and how to build a Zero Trust Enterprise, please visit here.

Zero Trust Architecture FAQs

Continuous verification is a core principle of Zero Trust that involves constantly evaluating and authorizing every access request based on real-time factors such as user identity, device security posture, and contextual information.
Zero Trust implements least privilege access by granting users and devices the minimum level of permissions necessary to perform their tasks, thereby restricting access to only the resources they need.
'Assume breach' means that Zero Trust operates under the assumption that breaches can occur both inside and outside the network. This principle emphasizes the need for continuous monitoring and verification to mitigate the impact of potential security incidents.
Organizations can address potential user resistance by ensuring ongoing communication and providing training to help users understand the importance of stricter access controls and additional security measures.
Continuous monitoring and management in a Zero Trust model involve constantly tracking access policies, user behavior, and potential threats to ensure ongoing security and compliance.
Integrating Zero Trust with existing systems can be complex due to the need for careful planning and execution. It often requires significant changes to infrastructure and processes.
No, MPLS itself does not inherently provide encryption for data in transit. Additional security measures like IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) can be implemented to ensure data confidentiality and integrity.
MPLS can be used in cloud environments to provide secure and reliable communication between on-premises and cloud resources. Implementing Zero Trust principles within the cloud environment is crucial to maintain security and access control.