What Is Zero Trust? Why Is It the Future of Cybersecurity?

Bryan Christ

December 9, 2021

Recent ransomware attacks and data breaches have called into question traditional virtual private network (VPN) and boundary-based models that many organizations previously relied on to keep their organizations safe. Perimeter-bound security may have worked in the past, but hackers’ options were limited. 

Today, the spread of the network has made attacks multidirectional, inside, and outside across countless networks, devices, and structures. Although most attacks originate with actors outside the organization, they often bypass the perimeter using a valid set of stolen credentials.  Moreover, while still popular, VPNs themselves have proven inadequate. In a world where the boundary is less relevant, what can your organization do? 

Enter Zero Trust. 

 

What Is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a security approach that addresses new network realities by trusting no one — internal or external to your organization.

Instead of approaching security as a closed, perimeter-based system, Zero Trust “never trusts, always verifies,” wrapping security around every user, device, and connection for every single authentication. The security model provides your organization with adaptive and continuous protection for users, data, and assets. The result? You can proactively manage threats. 

Historically, organizations have assumed a level of trust within  a closed perimeter.  In reality, the premise that “everything on the inside is safe” is simply misguided. Zero Trust can help you more quickly mobilize, organize, and strategize a comprehensive approach to counter threats by assuming a network is always at risk from both external and internal threats.

 

The basic tenets of Zero Trust are:

  • Trust nothing
  • Secure everything
  • Contextually authenticate requestors
  • Contextually evaluate access requests
  • Grant access by the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP), allowing users the minimum access privileges necessary to perform a specific job or task and nothing more

 

Why Is Zero Trust the Future of Cybersecurity?

By 2022, 80% of modern applications that organizations connect to ecosystem partners will utilize some form of Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA). By the following year, 60% of enterprises will phase out traditional models like virtual private networks and move toward a Zero Trust philosophy, according to Gartner’s “Guide for Zero Trust Network Access.” It’s clear that most organizations perceive Zero Trust to be the future of their cybersecurity – but why exactly? 

Zero Trust addresses the security needs of a data-driven, SaaS-rich, and growing hybrid cloud environment without the constraints of conventional methodologies. For example, organizations can improve their security posture with cloud-hosted software by enforcing multifactor authentication and leveraging federation standards like SAML. Additionally, by adopting a Zero Trust Architecture, which includes automated identity and access management (IAM) and privileged access management (PAM), stakeholders can gain valuable insight into their organizations' security. This understanding is especially true for user entitlements (accounts and group memberships) that attackers exploit to move laterally and elevate access. 

 

The Beginning of Something New 

Register for our Zero Trust executive eRoundtable series Zero Trust Maturity Matters happening this fall. These sessions are ideal for designing your organization's information security strategy and program across three levels of a Zero Trust paradigm.

 

Register for Roundtable

And discover more of the benefits of Zero Trust and how to implement a Zero Trust architecture with our eBook: Zero Trust Access Management: A Journey, Not A Destination.

 

Download eBook now