With continuous advancements in the field of technology, everything is connected. With the world connected to everything, it becomes easy to perform a lot of tasks. Controlling your devices remotely, other proactive measures are now at the touch of your finger. The Internet of Things has brought us all closer and made the world a rally small space. According to a Forbes survey, the industrial IoT will reach $123 billion in 2021. With the world adapting to this trend, the world of IT cannot be far behind. However, with the advent of any new technology arises the risk of data breach. IoT statistics show that about 84% of companies that have adopted IoT have faced breaches.
Network security traditionally involves classifying them into internal and external networks, separated by firewalls. Firewalls prevent malicious elements from breaching into the system, failing which the hacker could attack critical resources. With geographically distributed endpoints and multiple nodes, data breaches are on the increase. Here enters Zero Trust Architecture – securing the organization and adding additional layers of access control.
To understand Zero Trust Architecture, let us first get familiar with Zero Trust. Zero Trust aims to make organizations immune to cyber threats and maintain data integrity. Zero Trust is an architectural model to redesign your security networks. The aim is to strengthen data security, produce secure firewalls and improved security detection. Zero Trust Security is an IT model that entails strict verification of anyone trying to access a network. The distinguishing factor of Zero Trust Security is that no one from inside or outside the network is trusted and an extra level of security is added to grant access. The average cost of data breach is estimated to be about $3 billion, which makes it all the more compelling to safeguard your network. Though Zero Trust has been around for about a decade now, the growing interest in the adoption of technological advances and the increase in the hacking of networks, has thrown light on this recently.
Zero Trust Architecture or ZTA, as the name suggests, is a blue print of the implementation of Zero Trust. ZTA aims at cyber security solutions to counteract the threats to network security. This is where a concept or idea turns into an action plan. Zero Trust Network works on two simple principles –
- attackers are both on the inside and outside – no user is trusted automatically
- least privilege access to ensure maximum security – giving minimum exposure to the sensitive parts of the network
Zero Trust Network works on:
- Microsegmentation – Breaking up security perimeters into smaller separate parts, thus ensuring separate access for each part. Hence no one person or user has access to the complete system, thereby enabling strict secrecy. The more the split in the secure zones, the safer the network, with a user requiring separate authentication for each zone.
- Multi-Factor Authentication – As the name suggests, access is granted only after an added layer of authentication. This is as seen in today’s Facebook and Google, where entering the password is just one level of authentication. A second layer of passcode sent to another device is also required to maintain data security.
If all the factors above are not convincing enough to implement ZPA, here are a few reasons as to why the industry is behind Zero Trust:
- ZTA provides an extra layer of security across the network to protect businesses from the everyday threats. This way, it becomes easier to stop a breach before it happens or even mitigate the breach quickly with the right steps in place
- ZTA tools are created to meet today’s connection capabilities, to protect the data at all times. It also works across platforms like SaaS, AWS, Azure and so on
- With the recent pandemic and work from home situation, it is estimated that about 8% of the organizations have shifted to the Zero Trust network, while 31% are seriously considering the change. With geographical barriers removed, it is all the more challenging to provide secure networks over the whole world. However, with ZTA, this is becoming possible and popular
Inspite of the advantages, ZTA has its own limitations when it comes to maintaining absolute privacy. A few of them are:
- The policy administrator and engine approval are necessary for communication to and from the resources. It therefore becomes necessary to configure these components, leaving a person in-charge, who may commit an error, compromising the whole network security
- There is still the possibility of insider attack, with an employee having access to an important zone
- Integration of automated authentication and ZTA
Zero Trust is not an overnight transition, and it takes a lot of effort to change from the traditional security system followed for years. Though ZTA has been in the picture for a while, it is still a relatively new concept which many organizations are yet to implement. While ZTA offers many many advantages, it is best only when its cons are mitigated. The capabilities of ZTA are not limited to the ones listed above, and the scope is limitless. Implementing this system is very critical to safeguard your network and not expose it to constant threats. ZTA is designed to meet the current landscape and the effort is worth every bit of it!