Everything You Need to Know
Zero Trust Policy has become an integral topic of discussion ever since the Cybersecurity Executive Order 14028.
Organizations are wondering what a zero-trust policy is and how to incorporate it into their cybersecurity strategy. A zero-trust policy is no longer an option, it is now a mandatory element for every company.
Tekkis Cybersecurity understands the importance of the Zero Trust Policy for small businesses. Additionally, we are aware that most small to medium businesses do not have in-house cybersecurity set up to handle the policy implementation.
Therefore, in this article, we will provide all the details of everything you need to know about the Zero Trust Policy. You will not only understand the basics of this policy but will also get to know how to incorporate it into your business.
What is Zero Trust Policy?
While the width and the scale of the zero-trust policy are far-reaching, its essence is quite simple. In essence, the zero-trust policy dictates that trust cannot be assumed when it comes to any element of IT infrastructure.
Zero trust policy requires that every party in an organization, whether it is the users or applications, should be authorized as well as validated. With a zero-trust policy, there is no default trust regardless of who the user is or what the application is.
The zero trust policy also goes hand in hand with the principle of least privilege access. According to this principle, organizations should only provide users with the minimum level of access they require for completing their assigned tasks.
How Does Zero Trust Policy Work?
It might surprise you to know that the general IT security protocol used in most small to medium businesses is decades old. It was designed in the 90s, based on the concept of a centralized data center.
The Old Security Model
In the old network framework, anything using a ‘valid’ IP address or using a ‘valid’ port was allowed entry into the database. The definition of ‘valid’ was preset into the network. This had a huge drawback because there was no real-time security present.
Once a user was inside the network, they had access to utilize the network however they require. The older model opens the entire network at the user’s disposal.
Trust was given to preset IP addresses, ports, and protocols by default. This leads to huge open windows for attackers to exploit.
The New Security Model- Zero Trust Architecture
Zero trust architecture (ZTA) is entirely different from this older model prevalent at that time. While the older model worked aptly for the time it was designed, it is quite outdated now because of our new network architecture.
In zero trust architecture, every user and data packet inside a network is treated as hostile by default. Once the validity of the user is established, they gain access to a limited part of the network.
The limitations are defined by the network administrator beforehand based on the job requirements of the user.
Principles of Zero Trust Architecture
The zero trust policy is based on several principles that are very different from the outdated model that passes for cybersecurity in most businesses. Here are the principles of the zero trust architecture.
Real-time Connection Analysis and Termination
Generally, when you consider the old cybersecurity model, the security layer is created by a firewall solution. This solution detects the data packets that have reached the organization’s devices. If the packet is malicious, the connection is then terminated.
However, since this approach waits for the data packets that are delivered, the alerts are too late; the damage has already been done.
The zero-trust policy, by default, terminates all connections to an organization. The network traffic is then processed and analysed in real-time by an in-line proxy and only safe connections are allowed entry to the organization’s devices.Get Your FREE Cybersecurity Report
Direct User-to-app Connections
Traditionally, if the employees of an organization wanted to use any job-related application, they had to connect to the organization’s network which then connected them to the app.
Since the users were open to the entire network, this increased the possibility of attack significantly. With Zero trust policy, we reduce this wide span that is open for attacks.
This is made by a protocol specially designed for zero trust architecture, called Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). In ZTNA, users are connected directly to the apps and services they require.
The direct user-to-app connection in ZTNA eliminates the connection to the rest of the network, which is unnecessary anyway. This creates a very secure bubble and eliminates the possibility of network attacks.Setup ZTNA For Your Company
In a zero-trust policy, data is filtered and permitted through a context-based approach. The data is segmented based on the user’s authentication, location, device, access requested, etc. If the context is verified and permissible, data is allowed through.
The context definitions are flexible and can be updated by the administrator whenever required. These definitions allow for easy implementation of the least-privilege approach.
How to Implement Zero Trust Policy
When you hire a cybersecurity agency to create a zero-trust architecture for your company, a good service will follow a systematic approach. Implementing this policy is basically a three-step process:
Stage 1: Visualization
First things first, an experienced cybersecurity agency such as Tekkis Cybersecurity will do a thorough risk assessment of your current setup. This includes evaluation of devices, access points, networks, and visualization of all the possible risks.
While many cybersecurity agencies try to rip clients off with scary reports that they charge a hefty price for, Tekkis provides you with one free cybersecurity risk assessment.
Stage 2: Barriers and Mitigation
Once stage 1 is complete and the organization has a detailed report of its current status along with the open holes in security, stage 2 is the protection step.
In this step, protective barriers are put in place whose priority is to stop the cybersecurity attack immediately.
In case a certain intrusion cannot be terminated immediately, there are added layers to ensure that the risk and impact of the intrusion are mitigated.
Stage 3: Optimization
Stage 3 is the extended implementation of stage 2. In this stage, the protection steps taken in stage 2 are applied across the entire network structure of the organization. This includes the internal devices, apps, services, cloud, and any other part of the network.
Advantages of Zero Trust Policy
A major question that business executives ask is ‘What are the advantages of a zero-trust policy?’ Since adopting the zero-trust policy can take some effort, it is vital to know beforehand if the advantages are worth it.
Here are some of the benefits that the zero-trust policy has to offer:
Starting with the most basic advantage, the zero-trust policy creates a better security framework for the company. A well-executed zero-trust policy makes it nearly impossible for attackers to breach the organization’s defenses in any way.
Better Access Control
With a Zero trust policy, every user gets as much access as the job requires of them. In the earlier structure, every person in the organization had the same, limited access and control over the network.
The new structure has a very modular approach for access controls. The administrators can define the access that users get based on their job description and their level on the workforce ladder.
Due to better filtering, least access, and risk mitigation, there is reduced impact even in the case of a successful data breach. For instance, even if a user is able to access an authorized employee’s credentials, the location filters will still prohibit the breach. Even if the breach was still accomplished, the network they can access will be very limited.
Nowadays, several compliance requirements such as the NIST SP 800-207 enforce the implementation of a zero-trust policy for companies that interact with cyberinfrastructure. Implementing the ZTA makes sure that the companies aren’t sanctioned during government audits.Get a Compliance Audit
Applicable on Current Setup
To implement the ZTA, you do not require hiring any new team members or investing on new infrastructure. The zero-trust policy can work seamlessly with your existing IT setup, regardless of how it is designed.
The only thing you need to make sure is that you choose an experienced cybersecurity provider for setting up your ZTA. If set up correctly, a zero-trust policy can even save you money in the long run.
Work From Home Optimized
In the last two years, we have seen more and more companies opting for the work from home (WFH) approach. While this approach has proven to be productive and more feasible, it also opened up big cybersecurity risks.
Implementing a zero-trust policy can secure the connections even for WFH employees. It makes the zero-trust policy more and more unavoidable in the day and age where work from home culture is increasing steadily.
Why Choose Tekkis For Zero Trust Policy Implementation
If you are an organization looking for a cybersecurity agency for optimizing your security setup and configuring a zero-trust policy, Tekkis Cybersecurity is your best bet. Here is why:
Tekkis Cybersecurity has been providing its services in the same field for the last 20 years. You get a team of people who not only know what they are doing but are also the best at what they do.
The priority at Tekkis is to provide transparent cybersecurity services to users. For this purpose, we do not charge any consultation fee from you. You can try a free online consultation with our cybersecurity expert at any time of your choosing.
When dealing with cybersecurity for companies, there are many regulations that one needs to keep in mind. For instance, it could be HIPAA for healthcare organizations or NIST SP 800 207 for software vendors to federal agencies.
Tekkis Cybersecurity is well versed in these compliances and the cybersecurity implementation steps are designed keeping these compliances in mind.
When designing a cybersecurity solution for your company, we make it automatically compliant with the IT regulations relevant to your business.
Tekkis isn’t using the same approach that was used decades ago. In fact, we aren’t even using the same approach we were using last year. As attacks evolve and become more complex, our methods also constantly evolve with the evolving technology.
US Based Agency
Tekkis is based in the US and working for US businesses. Therefore, you have the assurity that your business is in safe hands that understands the working process of your geography. You don’t have to deal with a cybersecurity agency present oceans away that isn’t familiar with your local regulations and IT topography.
Business executives can no longer take the risk of taking their IT security lightly. Small scale business owners often make the mistake of thinking they aren’t prone to attacks. However, they are the most at risk due to many reasons we often highlight in our articles.
Zero trust policy is the new normal in this day and age. Maybe at a distant point in the future, better options will replace it. However, this policy is the most secure and preventive measure for the foreseeable future.
Therefore, do not waste any time wondering if you should switch to ZTA. The only thing to decide is how you want to adopt it. Fortunately, Tekkis is there to help you with it.
You can talk to an Tekkis expert about the same and we will walk you through the steps tailored specifically for your organization.