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  • Writer's pictureNexix Security Labs

What is Zero Trust Security?

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What is Zero Trust Security?

Zero Trust security is an IT security approach that involves tight identity verification for everyone wanting to access resources on a private network, whether they are inside or outside the network perimeter. Although ZTNA is the most commonly identified technology with Zero Trust architecture, Zero Trust is a holistic approach to network security that encompasses a variety of ideas and technologies.

To put it another way, typical IT network security trusts everyone and everything on the network. No one and nothing is trusted in a Zero Trust architecture.

The castle-and-moat idea is used in traditional IT network security. Outside access is difficult to get with a castle-and-moat security system, but everyone inside the network is trusted by default. The issue with this strategy is that once an attacker gains access to the network, they have complete control over everything inside.

The fact that organizations no longer store their data in a single location exacerbates this vulnerability in castle-and-moat security methods. Today, data is frequently dispersed among cloud vendors, making it more difficult to establish a single security control for a complete network.

Zero Trust security indicates that no one can be trusted by default, whether inside or outside the network and that anyone attempting to get access to network resources must first verify their identity. Data breaches have been found to be prevented by adding this extra layer of security. According to studies, the average cost of a single data breach is more than $3 million. Given that figure, it's no surprise that many businesses are ready to implement a Zero Trust policy.

What are the main principles behind Zero Trust Security?

Continuous monitoring and validation

A Zero Trust network is based on the assumption that there are attackers both inside and outside the network, hence no users or machines should be trusted automatically. User identification and privileges, as well as device identity and security, are all verified by Zero Trust. Once established, logins and connections time out, requiring users and devices to be re-verified on a regular basis.

Least Privilege

Least-privilege access is another zero-trust security principle. This entails granting users only the level of access they require, similar to an army general providing information to soldiers on a need-to-know basis. This reduces each user's exposure to network critical areas.

The use of least privilege necessitates careful management of user permissions. Because entering into a VPN allows a user access to the entire connected network, VPNs are not well-suited for least-privilege approaches to authorization.

Device Access Control

In addition to human access constraints, Zero Trust necessitates rigorous device access controls. Zero Trust systems must keep track of how many distinct devices are attempting to connect to their network, verify that each one is authorized, and examine all devices to guarantee they are not compromised. This reduces the network's attack surface even more.


Microsegmentation is also used in Zero Trust networks. Microsegmentation is the process of dividing security perimeters into small zones so that different areas of the network can have independent access. A network with files in a single data center that uses micro-segmentation, for example, could have dozens of different, secure zones. Without separate authorization, a person or program with access to one of those zones will be unable to access any of the others.

Preventing Lateral movement

"Lateral migration" in network security refers to an attacker moving within a network after acquiring access to it. Even if the attacker's access point is discovered, lateral movement can be difficult to detect because the attacker will have compromised other sections of the network.

Zero Trust is designed to keep intruders contained and prevent them from moving around. An attacker cannot move across the network's micro-segments since Zero Trust access is segmented and must be re-established on a regular basis. Once the existence of the attacker has been recognized, the compromised device or user account can be quarantined, preventing further access.

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Zero Trust security also emphasizes multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA refers to the requirement of more than one piece of evidence to authenticate a user; simply inputting a password is not sufficient. The 2-factor authorization (2FA) used on online sites like Facebook and Google is a widespread MFA application. Users who enable 2FA for these services must input a code delivered to another device, such as a mobile phone, in addition to a password, providing two pieces of evidence that they are who they say they are.

What is the history of Zero Trust Security?

When the model for the notion was initially given in 2010, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. created the term "zero trust." After Google stated that they had deployed Zero Trust security in their network a few years later, the IT industry became increasingly interested in adoption. Zero Trust security access was recognized as a core component of secure access service edge (SASE) systems by Gartner, a global research and advisory business, in 2019.

What is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)?

The main technology that enables enterprises to adopt Zero Trust security is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). ZTNA conceals most infrastructure and services, similar to a software-defined perimeter (SDP), by establishing one-to-one encrypted connections between devices and the resources they require. Learn more about ZTNA's operation.

How to implement Zero Trust security?

Although Zero Trust may appear complicated, with the right technology partner, implementing this security architecture can be rather simple. Cloudflare One, for example, is a SASE platform that integrates networking services with a Zero Trust user and device access method. Customers who use Cloudflare One automatically get Zero Trust Security for all of their assets and data.

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