What Is Zero-Trust Privilege?

by Bryon Beilman | May 02, 2019 | Security | 0 comments

Throughout our various blog posts, one of the most common points we’re trying to hammer home is that security is of the utmost importance. When it comes to ensuring that your network and files are as secure as possible, implementing a policy of zero-trust privilege is about as secure as you can get. Zero-trust privilege takes the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) one step further and focuses on the following:

  • It’s designed to not trust anything inside or outside your network
  • Identities and access rights are checked and authorized every step of the way


Why Is It Crucial to Your Security?

A policy of zero-trust privilege is crucial to your organization’s security because it’s your best line of defense. At its most basic level, the policy says “do not trust anyone or anything until we’ve verified and re-verified that it is who it says it is and it is doing what it says it is going to do.” It may seem like a lot of work and perhaps more security than you think is necessary, but when you consider that it’s estimated that by 2021 cybercrime will cost businesses $6 trillion per year, it seems like a small price to pay.

How Does It Work?

As mentioned above, zero-trust privilege works by essentially requiring authorization and contextualization every step of the way. According to Forrester, there’s a five-step plan to architecting an efficient and effective zero-privilege policy:

1. Identify Your Sensitive Data At Rest and In Motion

In this step, your network should be segmented and zoned based on data classification. This means having in-depth and accurate knowledge of where each piece of data lives, so that you can then restrict it from leaving its zone and restrict those from outside the zone from gaining access to it.

2. Map Acceptable Routes for Sensitive Data Access and Egress

Once you know where your data lives, you’ll need to plan how it can be realistically - and securely - moved around. After all, in order for people to do their jobs, data may need to be shared. At this juncture, you’ll ensure that you’ve put parameters in place that restrict the flow of data to pre-approved methods and access points only.

3. Architect Zero Trust Microperimeters

Now that you’ve identified your larger data zones and parameters, it’s time to drill down to the nitty-gritty details of it all. Extremely sensitive data, for example, may have restrictions placed upon it that are unlike any other restrictions on your network. These microperimeters will be best enforced using automation and should further inform the access controls at the broader level.

4. Monitor the Zero Trust Environment with Analytics

One of the best starting points for implementing new security procedures and protocols within your organization is to take an unbiased look at what’s already in place and whether or not it’s working. By using analytics tools that you already have in place or investing in some that can also support your other security initiatives, you’ll be able to gain better insight into whether your systems architecture and access controls are airtight.

5. Embrace Security Automation and Adaptive Response

Finally, when it comes to security, everything works better with automation. By removing the potential for human error from the equation, you’ll be able to ensure that as long as everything is set up properly in the first place things will continue to run smoothly.

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