Introduction Cybersecurity is one of the major sources of anxiety in modern businesses. As the amount of cyber-attacks and data breaches continues increasing, solid security models are no longer a nice-to-have for companies across the globe. That’s why concepts such as Zero Trust have become so important. Zero Trust is a security strategy that emphasizes the importance of verifying individuals, devices, and services that access a specific IT system. And it doesn’t matter if the access is within the boundaries of the organization itself—Zero Trust implements a cautionary approach that assumes that employees can be a security threat as well. In a nutshell, as suggested by the term, no one should be trusted.
History of Zero Trust and key underlying principles Former principal analyst at Forrester Research John Kindervag proposed the model first in 2010. In the following decade, the framework proposed by Kindervag gained enormous popularity, which resulted in a large number of organizations implementing it as a standard in their security systems. Since Zero Trust is more of a high-level strategy rather than a specific software solution, it encompasses several rules and principles that need to be implemented. Let’s look into some of them. First of all, because the Zero Trust framework aims at reducing the attack surface by limiting the amount of damage that one single individual can do, a lot of emphases is put on the idea that a specific user should not have access to data and permissions unless they are strictly necessary for that individual’s role. This is commonly known as the principle of least privilege (PoLP), also called the principle of minimal privilege (PoMP), and the principle of least authority (PoLA). Checking the identity and integrity of devices is also a very important component of the Zero Trust framework—which is why multi-factor and passwordless authentication systems are usually inspired by Zero Trust principles. Multi-factor authentication reduces the risk of unauthorized user access by using multiple authentication methods, which include a piece of information that the user has or something that the user possesses—like an offline device. Prevention is not something that is just implemented into the system and forgotten about. It requires continuous and real-time monitoring of the activity taking place on the network, as well as how the users behave. Thanks to ledger indexing, machine learning, and many other modern systems, organizations can utilize investigative platforms to trace data validations and maintain audibility. This is very important as it allows organizations to not fall behind and put the security of their IT systems at risk. Finally, encryption is probably the most important way to implement Zero Trust frameworks within an organization. Encryption consists of converting data of any kind into a coded format that only those with special permission can read. No need to say that this is crucial when trying to protect private information and keep data confidential. The interesting thing about the Zero Trust framework is that, because it consists of a set of principles, it can be customized to the specific needs of an organization, rather than being a one-size-fits-all solution. Zero Trust principles are at the core of what we do at Kelvin Zero, which is why we have built Multi-Pass to enable organizations to take their first steps towards a fully integrated Zero Trust architecture.
Conclusion Zero Trust is an extremely solid framework that focuses on the need to verify every human and non-human component that tries to access a specific network or system. The Zero Trust principles can help organizations reduce the risk of data breaches and minimize their vulnerability to cyber-attacks. Companies such as Kelvin Zero are committed to such principles as the only way to make our society more secure and protect the sensitive information that can get easily leaked with legacy solutions.