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What is the zero-trust security model?

9 October 2019 by Charlotte Greene

SecurityWe’re always looking for ways to make our IT safer and our networks more secure.

In this blog, we explore the zero-trust model and why businesses are adopting this to safeguard their networks from attackers and avoid data breaches.

What is ‘zero-trust’?

This model works on the principle that no user, either inside or outside the network, can be trusted. In other words: zero trust given.

Coined first by an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in 2010, the zero-trust security model is a holistic approach to cybersecurity which incorporates different principles and technologies.

Why are organisations adopting this model?

The usual ‘castle-and-moat’ concept behind traditional IT security means that it’s hard to obtain unauthorised access to the network from the outside, but on the inside everyone is trusted by default. This presents the obvious problem that if a hacker can get in they can access whatever they please.

The problem expands when you consider that many businesses now hold their data across different third-party vendors like cloud hosting providers, Microsoft Office 365, Google Docs and more. This makes having a single security control for your entire network more difficult than if all your data was in just one place.

Principles of a zero-trust security model

Zero trust assumes that attackers are present on either side of your network barriers and as a result requires strict identity verification for every user or device trying to access resources on your network, regardless of whether they sit within or outside of the network perimeter.

The principle of least-privilege access is a huge part of the model as users only gain access to the resources they need, limiting each user’s access to parts of the network and, most importantly, your business-critical data.

Micro segmentation separates security perimeters into small zones to maintain separate access to parts of the network. For each zone, a user or device will need their own access authorisation to enter.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is also a core value of zero-trust security. MFA requires more than one piece of evidence to authenticate user access. 2-factor authentication (2FA) is common within many secure networks – like logging into your email accounts or payment gateways – and usually involved entering your password as well as a verification code sent by SMS or other communication.

Finally, in addition to user access controls, supervision on device access is essential.

Device access control allows systems to monitor the number and nature of devices connecting to the network and ensure each device is authorised.

How to implement a zero-trust approach

A zero-trust model isn’t something one product or service can achieve. As mentioned above, it’s a holistic approach as opposed to a quick fix. But our security experts will attest that it’s worth the extra effort.

Speak to UKFast’s security experts now to discuss how we can help you strengthen your security and start implementing a zero-trust framework today.

Call UKFast’s security specialists now on 0800 231 5917 or request a callback.

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