Seven principles of the zero trust security model

September 17, 2022
Principles of the Zero Trust Security

Why is a zero trust security model needed? The reality of today’s fast-paced, increasingly hybrid work environment positions your business as vulnerable to security breaches. Your employees increasingly rely on their own unprotected devices for work, leveraging SaaS and web-based apps to access your valuable assets and data.

By logging into your network and accomplishing work tasks, they’re also unknowingly increasing the attack surface of your infrastructure. This expanded threat area increases the unprotected exposure points of your systems, empowering threat actors to take advantage of gaps in security.

Let’s examine the benefits of employing a zero trust security network access (ZTNA) and showcase the security principles that can insulate your business data from malicious activity.

1.  Secure All Communication

Also known as perimeter-less security, ZTNA takes the “never trust, always authenticate” approach to the security of any users seeking to access your network. Explicit permission must be granted for every session — even if the same user or device was previously verified. Users operating in a ZTNA environment won’t even be aware of applications and services within your framework unless they’re granted access to them with individual permission protocols.

2.  Evaluate on a Per-Session Basis

The dynamic nature of distributed computing environments and a remote workforce makes user and device trust a critical priority. As a result, every single login or access request should be protected by authentication protocols. Unprotected cloud-based architectures are vulnerable to bad actors and a barrage of threats, from poor access management to data loss and breaches.

Just because you trusted a device or identity from a previous session doesn’t mean you should automatically grant immediate access the next time they access your infrastructure. You can’t anticipate anomalous user changes or alterations in device security that could occur between sessions.

3. Keep an Eye on Your Resources — When Everything is a Resource

Your network could be accessed by a virtually limitless number of devices. Whereas endpoint user workstations and servers were once the extent of connected equipment, today’s dynamic cloud computing services are able to execute specific permissions to other devices in your infrastructure.

To maintain line of sight into the security of the connected devices accessing your data, you should implement varied and compounding authentication protocols. Employing the principle of least privilege (PoLP) safeguards your data by ensuring that every module must only be able to access the information and resources necessary for an assigned task.

4. Monitor, Measure, Repeat

The zero trust approach is designed to be taken literally. By employing continuous monitoring of enterprise apps, you’ll safeguard your business against possible malicious entry from unauthorized users. Applications are highly vulnerable to cyberattacks, and it should be of paramount importance for your organization to keep a watchful eye on every request to access them.

Even one successful attempt at unauthorized access can wreak havoc on your infrastructure. In a traditional perimeter-based model like VPN, once a hacker gets access through an app they’re able to move laterally, and in most cases, access the entirety of your network.

By stopping bad actors at the application level, your business can prevent threats from ever gaining a foothold within your corporate network.

5. Be Dynamic

A dynamic, adaptable policy should govern both behavioral and environmental attributes. Risk factors like location and device posture should be used to trigger protocols that make access control decisions automatically.

Parameters surrounding user information and location, the device from which they are requesting access, and any associated security clearance can be automatically diagnosed. A result of full access, limited access, or no access at all can be governed autonomously by detection protocols.

Utilizing multi-factor authentication (MFA) measures is one example of how governance applications can limit access when necessary.

6. Enforce, Strictly

Both authentication and authorization should be dynamic and strictly enforced before access is granted. By ensuring that your security checks are constant and evolving your business is protected by an ongoing cycle of scanning users.

These protocols evaluate the trustworthiness of authentication attempts by leveraging signals and security checks before determining whether access is granted. This iterative process, initiated as soon as an employee or new device creates an account with associated permissions, does not stop for the lifecycle of the hardware or the association of the user.

7. There’s No Such Thing as “Too Much”

Today’s IT infrastructure environments are subject to a near-constant stream of possible threats, and your business must maintain rigorous monitoring to stay ahead of potential vulnerabilities.

To illustrate the importance of ZTNA implementation, ask yourself if your business is currently following the seven principles of the zero trust model.

Should you still have any lingering doubt as to the need for a reliable, always-online security solution, even if your employees have the best intentions, the devices they access your work infrastructure with could be vulnerable to threats.

Citrix ZTNA Solutions

Now that you’ve identified the seven principles of the zero trust security model, it’s time to implement them for your organization.

As Citrix Platinum Partners, Enterprise Solutions has the knowledge and expertise to partner with you to provide an out of the box or tailored solution to your organizational needs. We are here to provide ZTNA solutions that put these principles into action and provide your business with valuable insight into how you’re safeguarding your assets.

You can learn more about ZTNA in our on-demand webinar – Register here

To learn more about how Citrix provides complete ZTNA solutions, take a look at some of Citrixs’ Zero Trust Network Access Use Cases.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions you would like answered

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