Due to rapid digitalization and a widespread remote and hybrid workforce, companies are also witnessing varied and alarming identity security challenges, resulting into compromising data, breaches, financial damage, and reputational loss, among other issues. However, experts believe extending the Zero Trust model to the IT security ecosystem could enable enterprises to protect their data and keep their networks secure.
The access management architecture of Zero Trust means that any and every attempt to enter into a system is being treated as untrusted. This can be an untrusted device, untrusted user or untrusted network, among others. Any access is denied or disallowed until the user trust is established. Trust can be demonstrated in accordance to an organization’s security policy. This trust must be earned, which helps in solving security challenges such as phishing attacks, unauthorized access and theft of credentials, along with strengthening the system against any data breaches.
While Zero Trust approach is gaining momentum with enterprises and governments, security leaders are often apprehensive about implementing this approach as they feel overwhelmed by the strategic change and architectural demands of Zero Trust. However, it is imperative to understand that Zero Trust Architecture, in fact, does not require the enterprise to remove its current security controls completely. With the right approach, Zero Trust could be implemented in an agile and seamless manner.
Identity at the core of Zero Trust.
Identity is at the core of Zero Trust model. While every organization would already have implemented certain form of authentication to manage accesses such as password, PINs or OTPs, these solutions need to be tightly integrated with Zero Trust approach. This will not only ensure a secure user access environment, but would also enable them to use the network in a seamless manner without continued need for re-verification.
Implement privileged access management (PAM).
Additionally, create a well-defined governance model to set up identity policies and user profiles. Identify the exceptions – like doctors and nurses who might need access to patient records. Privileged users as well as systems should have in-depth requirements for authentication. Thus, enterprises need to conduct an annual access review that provides user activity insights to app owners or data managers. This will further help them in revoking or granting access privileges to users in the IAM platform. Privileges provided to users need to be closely monitored, ensuring that users are not provided with over-privileges such as admin features, and that user accesses are retired once they leave the job or shift to another project.
Implement Password-less MFAs.
Password-less MFA plays a crucial role in Zero Trust security, as it enables continuous authentication and helps to prevent unauthorized access. It offers an additional security layer to user accounts beyond the traditional password-based authentication, which can be vulnerable to various attacks like brute-force attacks, phishing and password guessing, through alternative authentication methods. Whereas, password-less MFA adoption has become more prevalent through biometric authentication (such as facial recognition, fingerprint or voice recognition), mobile authentication (user authentication through mobile apps that use push notifications or biometrics), hardware tokens (like USB keys or smart cards), FIDO2 (using public-key cryptography to authenticate users), cloud-based authentication (using a variety of devices and locations), and usage of one-time code (sent via email or text message).
Implement risk-based authorization.
Risk scoring that is based on input signals which include time, IP address or geolocation provides adequate inputs for applying graduated responses such as challenge, let pass, block access and alert admin. It is pertinent to prioritize signals appropriately, along with tune based on applications, user populations and locations. This would help in reducing high rates of false positives.
Understand Zero Trust maturity model.
Conduct a Zero Trust maturity assessment, which would help in developing a foundation, identifying gaps and highlighting the technologies required to implement the model. Further, it would also help in clearly defining the path required to attain Zero Trust maturity within the organization, along with setting the budgets and identifying other key mandates.
In order to ensure adoption of Zero Trust within an organization, it is also imperative to include various stakeholders from the enterprise, including IT team, business leaders and developers. More than technological implementation, such an adoption requires significant mindset change. Thus, before undertaking the Zero Trust journey, it is imperative to get a buy-in for Zero Trust strategy from the stakeholders across the organization.
How Avancer Helps?
Every organization would need various levels of authentication to secure a safe environment. Although zero trust can’t be implemented in a day’s time but it shouldn’t be a complicated process. Avancer has been able to help and support various organizations for securing identities as well as transforming their businesses. Our identity solutions, based on the zero trust model, ensure that identity security remains the top priority for an organization without sacrificing user experience. Connect with our experts to know more.