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Every day organizations increasingly move toward cloud computing to create workplace flexibility. The adoption of cloud-based services has enabled remote workers to have access to corporate services from any location. Namely the accounting system and the business telephone system. However, cloud platforms have created a huge security challenge that cannot be handled by the traditional network security firewall. Hence, the concept of the zero-trust cybersecurity principle.

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Be that as it may, network firewalls have assured that all resources inside the corporate network remain protected. But, the moment users start accessing the corporate network resources from outside using the public internet, then protection remains uncertain. Moreover, that is why protecting cloud-based services in a distributed network requires new thinking. Thus, new thinking urges IT, security specialists, to trust nothing but always endeavor to verify everything.

Key zero trust tenets

  • Know the identity

Every user must have an authoritative user identity to enable login from anywhere. The identity must be paired to a multi-factor authentication requirement. And in all login attempts, the authentic user credentials must be validated. In the event of a system compromise, the multi-factor authentication requirement will stop unauthorized access from being executed.

  • Ensure full control

All user access must be limited to the extent allowed as defined by the user privilege policies. At no time should a user be allowed to access that which is outside defined space. IT security administrators should ensure strict adherence even if there is no apparent threat.

  • Protect always

In as much as network security is concerned, be in the know at all times. Understand the local area network infrastructure inside out to enable you to identify risk areas. Then, respond with necessary measures, that is, strengthen security where appropriate and create segmentations as required.

Actualizing zero trust cybersecurity strategy

Defining the resources

To start with, the resources that need to be monitored must be identified. In any case, the resources can be defined in terms of services that support business operations and devices running the services. Having a clear understanding of the network resources enables faster implementation of the zero trust cybersecurity strategy.

zero trust cybersecurity principle

Mapping the pathways

After defining the scope, the next step would be to map pathways. Still, this process involves studying behaviors and knowing how one process relates to the other. Basically, the IT administrator must understand how users interact with certain applications and the level of privilege assigned to each process.

For example, remote access applications can be assigned higher priority especially now users operate from work home office. Certainly, tighter security and controls will be applied to applications that support remote working.

Design the zero trust architect

Having a good understanding of how users interact with various applications will help in designing an effective protection architect. The security strategy will lean more on the key areas of priority identified during surface description. Be that as it may, the architect will guide the kind of technology that needs to be implemented to handle the challenges identified above in the first and second steps.

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Formulate and apply policies

With the architect protection ready, now the IT security administrator should embark on formulating the relevant policies. The policies reinforce the role of the architect and guides user interaction with applications and services in a networked environment. Accordingly, after policy formulation, the implementation follows suit.

Monitoring and re-evaluating the strategy

Just like any other system of protection, the zero-trust architect will require close monitoring. Apart from establishing whether the architectural objectives have been met, monitoring also helps to ensure that reinforcement can be done at the earliest opportunity. In short, monitoring will help to shorten turnaround time. That is, shorten the time it takes for a potential breach to be reported and the time actual threat neutralization happens.

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The hackers will always have an easy time because the use of public Wi-Fi and private devices remain the major entry point for hackers. And, enabling physical security through access control systems can be impractical for public social areas.

Nonetheless, in the end, there will be something that can be trusted. Even though not trusting permanently but keeping an open mind that anything can still happen. Because the trust will not be built on a single entity, therefore multiple interrelated sources must be examined from to time if only to assure that none has been compromised.

By way of example, the zero trust cybersecurity principle model will rely on various data sources. These include individual user information, actual system information, threat intelligence, a user request for access, etc. In the end, implementing corporate services on the cloud platforms will call for extra security measures. In fact, organizations will be forced to invest in a multi-layered defense strategy that can handle threats from outside.

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