The Future of Security: How to implement Zero-Trust Network Access

The “castle and moat” concept of network security focused on a perimeter-based defense in which a secure network was constructed by building firewalls and other security measures at the network’s periphery to keep intruders out.

Whatever was inside the firewall was safe, but everything beyond it was a possible security risk. However, given today’s ever-changing threat landscape, this strategy has not survived the test of time. 

This is due to the exponential growth in the number of endpoints accessing the network, brought about by the popularity of cloud computing, mobile devices, and the Internet of Things (IoT); securing the network perimeter has become increasingly challenging. And today’s threat landscape means that it’s highly possible that an attacker already has a foothold in a company’s network through a compromised system, an unprotected wireless connection, stolen credentials, or some other method.

ZTNA emerged as a response to these challenges by assuming that all devices and users are untrusted until proven otherwise. This approach shifts the focus from perimeter-based security to a more granular, risk-based approach. In ZTNA, all network traffic is treated as untrusted and is subject to a series of security checks before it is allowed to access the network. This includes authentication, authorization, and encryption.

Here are four core steps to achieve zero trust network

Identify your critical data. At the outset, you must identify what information and systems are crucial and what can be ignored. The most valuable information and assets should have stricter restrictions applied to them.

Identify users and devices.

A zero-trust network’s second stage is user authentication. To do this, many businesses use identity and access management software. A user or autonomous device can be required to use authentication techniques such as a password or multifactor authentication to establish their identity. End customers value a streamlined, consistent, and easy onboarding experience across all points of connection and mediums.

Incorporating vulnerability assessments

Take advantage of vulnerability assessments to scale back potential dangers and spot setup mistakes that might open the door to hackers from within and beyond. A vulnerability assessment is a general process that looks for security holes in your system, rates their severity, and perhaps suggests fixes. Vulnerability assessments are excellent at detecting instances of unwarranted privilege escalation and sloppy internal security procedures, like easily guessable admin passwords.

Continuously monitor and assess risk:

Regularly monitor network activity and assess the risk of devices and users on the network to quickly detect and respond to any security threats.

To achieve ZTNA, businesses must identify their critical data and systems, identify users and devices, incorporate vulnerability assessments, and continuously monitor and assess risk. By following these steps, organizations can better protect themselves against cyber threats and ensure the security of their valuable information and assets. Implementing a zero-trust network access strategy is becoming increasingly important in today’s digital age, as the number of endpoints accessing the network is increasing and perimeter-based security is no longer sufficient.

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