How to Implement a Zero-Trust Security Strategy

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How Does Zero-Trust Security Work?

Zero-trust operates on the premise that there are constant threats both outside and inside the network. Zero-trust also assumes that every attempt to access the network or an application is a threat. It’s a network security philosophy that states no one inside or outside the network should be trusted until their identity has been thoroughly verified. These assumptions underly the strategy of network administrators, obliging them to design stringent, trustless security measures. 

There’s an all-too-common notion that implementing a zero-trust architecture requires a complete overhaul of your network. There will certainly be some heavy lifting required, but successful implementation is about having the right framework in place paired with the right tools to execute. Every environment needs to have consistent zero-trust. It’s a cultural shift, which is often a bigger change than the technology shift. It involves a mindset and a commitment to changing how access is granted and how security is maintained across the organization. 

Developing a Strong Zero-Trust Security Policy 

When it comes to zero-trust security, you need to develop and execute a plan that ensures consistent protocols and policies that are implemented across the entire network. No matter who, where or what they want to access, the rules must be consistent. That means you need to find zero-trust security tools that aren’t cloud-only, for example, because if you run a hybrid network, you need the same zero-trust on your physical campus as for your remote workers/assets. Comparatively, few companies are running cloud-only; most have taken a hybrid approach, and yet many zero-trust solution providers are developing cloud-only solutions. 

Over the past year, organizations have begun to depend more on hybrid and multicloud environments to help support their ongoing digital transformation requirements. According to a recent report from Fortinet, 76 percent of responding organizations reported using at least two cloud providers. An important aspect to consider is the difference in each of the cloud platforms. Each has different built-in security tools and functions with different capabilities, command structures, syntax and logic. The data centre is still another environment.

In addition, organizations may be migrating into and out of clouds. Each cloud offers unique advantages, and it’s essential for the organization to be able to use whichever ones support their business needs; cybersecurity must not hinder that. Yet, with each cloud provider offering different security services using different tooling and approaches, each of your clouds becomes an independent silo in a fragmented network security infrastructure – not an ideal set-up. 

But, if you have a common security overlay across all of these data centres and clouds, you provide an abstraction layer above the individual tools that gives you visibility across the clouds, control of them and the ability to establish a common security posture irrespective of where an application may be, or where it may move to.

Consequently, applications can reside anywhere – from on-campus to branch to data centre to cloud. This is why it’s so important to make sure your zero-trust approach can provide the same protocols, no matter where the worker is physically located and how they’re accessing company resources. 

Implementing a Zero-Trust Architecture for Stronger Security

As the network perimeter continues to dissolve, due in part to edge computing technologies and the global shift to remote work, organizations must make use of every security advantage that exists. That includes knowing how to implement a zero-trust security strategy. Because there’s so many threats from without and within, it’s appropriate to treat every person and thing trying to gain access to the network and its applications as a threat. Trustless security measures don’t require a total network overhaul but do result in a stronger network shield. By doing the initial hard work of establishing zero-trust access and its offshoot, zero-trust network access, you’ll be relieving your IT security team of additional work and significantly upping your security quotient. 

Find out how the Fortinet Security Fabric platform delivers broad, integrated and automated protection across an organization’s entire digital attack surface to deliver consistent security across all networks, endpoints and clouds.