Today’s business networks require a strong security strategy, and zero trust is one of them. However, during the past few years, interest in this strategy has increased. It became obvious to IT and Security stakeholders that a solid cybersecurity strategy must be put in place before they became the next target as a growing number of sophisticated malware attacks on public and commercial enterprises started making news.

No user or application should be trusted by default, according to the zero trust architecture for securing enterprises in the cloud and mobile environment. Least-privileged access, a fundamental tenet of zero trust, states that trust should be created depending on context (e.g., user identity and location, endpoint security posture, application or service being requested), with policy checks at each stage.

The US President Biden’s Executive Order (EO) of May 2021 on enhancing cybersecurity was issued in response to the worrisome increase in the frequency of cyberattacks on businesses of all sizes and in all sectors. The Federal Government was required to modernize and improve outmoded cybersecurity tactics to a Zero Trust paradigm, which was one of the EO’s key instructions.

What are the government’s principles of Zero Trust Policy?

Zero Trust was first used more than ten years ago by Forrester analyst John Kindervag, but it wasn’t until recently that it attracted attention. This is because business networks have experienced a significant digital transition, becoming more expansive to accommodate cloud networks, numerous SaaS apps, and a distributed global workforce.

This was a major enhancement from a traditional approach. While even without the hybrid workforce, where workers can connect via their devices from anywhere, at any time, network security is already more difficult. Due to these modifications, cybersecurity must be approached differently, with constant verification of every person, device, application, and transaction.

Based on the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Zero Trust Model and its five pillars—Identity, Devices, Networks, Applications and Workloads, and Data—the document outlines the objectives that agencies are required to meet by the end of Fiscal Year 2024.

5 Tips for Implementing US Zero Trust Policy

The attack surface of organizations grows as their tech stacks become more distributed and complex, necessitating the adoption of a zero-trust mindset and strategy that involves eliminating implicit trust, managing every asset on the network, and constantly validating every single digital interaction.

  1. Visibility: Be Aware of Your Stock

You can’t defend what you don’t understand. Today, a diverse set of workers and contractors from across the world have access to business-critical data and services through a variety of cloud service providers and innumerable SaaS applications. The biggest concerns for security practitioners are access management and visibility loss.

  1. Manage Users and Endpoints for Access Control

Controlling access to all corporate stack layers comes after you have mastered your inventory. The Federal Zero Trust Memo encourages agencies to “ensure that information is accessed by the right individuals, at the right time, and for the right purposes” when it comes to identity systems and access control.

  1. Isolate Environments

Segmenting and isolating network access is another crucial step in creating an organization-wide Zero Trust architecture since it helps to prevent hostile efforts to compromise the entire network.

The significance of segmentation and business-critical apps to prevent lateral movement if an exploit or data breach occurs is what the most recent cyberattack on Uber has taught us, if anything.

  1. Upgrade Old VPN Systems

The on-prem model has changed to cloud and hybrid frameworks during the past few years, and the workforce has gone from being based in offices to being remote. Traditional VPNs mostly worked when most employees and systems were on-premises or dispersed across a few sites.

  1. Zero Trust Didn’t Develop Over Night

The most recent cybersecurity standards memo issues a warning that “transitioning to a zero trust architecture will not be a quick or easy task for an enterprise as complex and technologically diverse as the Federal Government.” This warning comes one and a half years after the US cybersecurity EO issued an urgent appeal to the Federal Government to “make bold changes and significant investments in order to defend the vital institutions that underpin the American way of life.”

No one inside or outside the network should be trusted until their identify has been adequately verified, according to the network security theory known as “zero trust.” Every person or device trying to access the network, or an application must undergo rigorous identity verification as part of the zero trust approach. Whether the person or device is already inside the network perimeter or not, this verification is still necessary. As a constant reminder, think like a hacker so you would know what’s the next move.