Why is now the time to adopt a Zero Trust Approach to Security?

Why is now the time to adopt a Zero Trust Approach to Security?
Why is now the time to adopt a Zero Trust Approach to Security?

The past year has seen remote access and remote functioning at their peak. With more than half of the world’s population confined to their homes, the only way to keep moving was through remote and virtual systems. While companies have tried to acclimatise their processes to a remote work model, the exposure to remote and virtual functioning also led to huge opportunities for attackers and hackers to form new ways to breach the systems.

Common cyberattacks like ransomware, malware, denial of service, and phishing were seen reaching unprecedented numbers. It was found in the Fintech news report for 2020 that ransomware payments rose to a record high of $111,605, a 33% increase from the numbers as compared to 2019.

This is just the warning signal for the years to come, as hackers and attackers will be more equipped and ready to get all in. The proliferation of such attacks and the inadequacy of existing security solutions in defending remote ecosystems from breaches is one of the reasons why companies have to employ novel approaches. In recent times, the Zero Trust Architecture has caught the attention of security teams across the world, given its focus on employing a unified security model for distributed organisations, and an unrelenting importance to context based least privilege access. In this scenario, the next few years seem ripe for

Why Zero Trust Software Defined Perimeter for 2021?

With security mechanisms leaving loopholes to be targeted by trusting unusual behaviours and access, adopting a zero trust model will make sure that no user asking for access is trusted blindly, whether it is a normal user or a corporate executive. A zero trust model, which is operationalised by using Software Defined Perimeters, do not discriminate between users on the basis of their location, and have comprehensive and continuous authentication processes designed to accord maximum security to sessions. Given their focus on ensuring secure access to enterprise resources to workforces, irrespective of the location of either the resource or the end user, Zero Trust Models are ideal for remote workforce security. Zero-trust security will make sure that no one is trusted if any unauthorized local area network access or other unscrupulous access is processed.

A zero-trust network also includes a combination of microsegmentation and granular access control that comes along with an identity-based access security mechanism. With the amalgamation of Microsegmentation, Authentication, and constant monitoring and visibility over network traffic, companies can have unheard of control over who accesses what.

Eradicates the location-based way of designing networks

The traditional designs of networks have not been more identity-based but have been more of physical location-based security. This means that enterprise assets were traditionally kept inside perimeters protected by firewalls and physical security, and anything within the firewall was considered to be trusted by default. Those orthodox network designs that were built more on branches and datacenters and not around users and the resources they need to access. A SDP pitches in a new way of designing security that is suited to the modern notion of a network, and pulls the so-called perimeter to the users themselves. Given the presence of applications in multicloud environments, and on premise, and the presence of users on premise as well as distributed across the world, this new approach to security can help in securing the modern network.

A secure network perimeter

The Software Defined Perimeter replace rigid network perimeters with identity and context based perimeters that are dynamic, and can shield all devices connecting from different locations. A Zero Trust approach comes with clear demarcation points for all the corporate and personal devices accessing resources and connecting from different locations. Thus, the increase in the migration of systems to the cloud can be facilitated with a unified solution, instead of relying on multiple solutions for cloud and on premise security

A solution to VPN security issues

Users of today get broad access when they log into their VPNs. Well, the hard fact is, a majority of network resources are still visible to the attackers through VPNs. Even if your VPN network is well-calibrated with effective segmentation, it still has higher risks of getting exposed to malicious attackers.

With VPNs, users might also have to face complex configurations with unreliable client applications. An application’s performance also degrades with huge latencies when backhauling traffic to centralized data centres for security purposes or maybe VPN termination. A zero trust approach along with microsegmentation acts as a perfect VPN alternative that will completely help you escape from these difficulties by offering a streamlined process of security processing where there are no to minimal latencies.

Prevents the misuse of VLANs

The genuine use of VLANs has always been to improve and enhance performance by dividing broadcast domains. Though with time, their role is being tried to channel more towards providing security for which they were never really apt. VLANs are not considered to be probable to span across multiple locations. It can get very difficult for the clouds where VLANs cannot be supported in their native forms.

Identity-based microsegmentation is the way

The major point of having an identity-based microsegmentation is granting access to users in a contextual manner that does not depend on the point of connection. This promotes effective monitoring and control on the part of the IT team and administrators as it helps them to understand and get hold of what is happening in the network and without engaging in those time-consuming investigations. It also helps to consistently lay down access policy rules in the important places of the network.

An identity-based microsegmentation will act and implement decisions based on the information already stored such as locations, device type, and ownership. This solution will also ensure and check whether the traffic carries a specifically authorized identity.

Zero trust expectations for the future

The challenges faced by systems and networks during the pandemic mainly included the consolidation of security delivery for the remote users. Taking a major shift and transition from VPN to a lower-risk variant will be a must in these uncertain times. Uniform solutions like zero trust SDP will help in granting need to know access to data, resources, and applications that are not based on any location bias. A more centralized system of managing access and setting important policies would be required.

Also, a globally distributed abstraction layer that can form an additional layer on top of the existing infrastructure can be essential for providing secured and seamless access from anywhere by anyone and for site-to-site connectivity. The zero trust approach along with microsegmentation should be built-in for every system and network going forward in 2021.

software defined perimeter vs zero trust

With increased threats, increased investments for taking strong cybersecurity measures are also on the lookout by almost all kinds of businesses that are functioning remotely. As per the forecast analysis by Gartner, the global information security market is expected to go up to $170.4 billion.

In Conclusion

Going forward, remote workers are absolutely going to be the major targets for cybercriminals. This might also lead to significant cloud breaches and hacks. Also, with 5G coming anytime soon, the bandwidth of remotely connected devices will increase ultimately leading to higher cyber-attack risk.

Given this scenario, it is quite important for CIOs and CISOs to be security ready for their network by employing zero trust security.

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