A zero-trust system is a cybersecurity strategy that eliminates implicit trust and continuously verifies every stage of digital interactions.
This approach is designed to protect modern environments and enable digital transformation by using strong authentication methods, network segmentation, lateral movement prevention, and granular, "least access" policies. In other words, a zero trust system follows the adage "never trust, always verify." By continuously verifying and authenticating interactions, a zero-trust system ensures that an organization's networks and systems are secure and protected against potential threats.
The goal of a zero-trust system is to create a secure and trusted environment for digital interactions, without relying on implicit trust or shared security assumptions.
By continuously verifying and authenticating users, devices, and networks, a zero trust system can help to prevent breaches, protect against potential threats, and enable organizations to confidently embrace digital transformation.
Zero Trust is a security model that assumes that an attacker is already present on the network and enforces strict access controls to protect against potential threats.
To implement a Zero Trust system, the first step is to identify the most critical and valuable assets on the network, such as sensitive data and critical applications and services. Next, organizations must understand how users are accessing the network, including the devices and applications they are using and the networks they are connecting from.
This information is used to create and enforce access policies that grant users access to only the assets they need, while restricting access to other assets.
In a Zero Trust system, access is granted on a per-user and per-asset basis, which means that even if an attacker manages to compromise a user's device or credentials, they will only be able to access the assets that the user is authorized to access. This helps prevent the attacker from moving laterally across the network and accessing other assets.
The goal of a Zero Trust system is to create a highly secure network by assuming that an attacker is already present and limiting their ability to access critical assets.
By implementing strict access controls and continuously monitoring user activity, organizations can protect their most valuable assets and reduce their risk of a breach
Zero Trust is often associated with securing users or specific use cases, such as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).
However, a comprehensive zero-trust approach should consider users, applications, and infrastructure.
By considering all of these elements, organizations can build a robust ZTNA that protects against potential threats.
Organizations should first identify their most valuable assets, including sensitive data, applications, and services, to implement a complete zero-trust approach.
Access policies should then be created to specify which users can access which assets, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) should be implemented to verify user identities.
In addition, secure connections should be established between users and the assets they need to access, using tools such as Cloudflare tunnels to encrypt traffic and prevent interception by attackers.
Finally, the least access principle should be enforced through access policies, ensuring that users are only granted access to the assets they need to perform their job duties.
Following a comprehensive zero-trust approach that considers users, applications, and infrastructure, organizations can build a ZTNA that protects against potential threats and strengthens their overall security posture.
A ZTNA On The Cloudflare Network
At IMS - Network, we encountered several security challenges that called for a more comprehensive solution. I implemented a Zero Trust Network using Cloudflare tunnels and access policies to address these challenges.
The Zero Trust Network allows us to secure access to our dashboards and management panels, ensuring that only authorized users can access these critical assets. To create the network, I first identified our most valuable assets, including sensitive data, applications, and services. I then created access policies outlining which users can access which assets and implemented multi-factor authentication (MFA) to verify user identities before granting access.
To further secure the network, I employed Cloudflare tunnels to establish secure connections between users and the assets they need to access. This ensures that all traffic is encrypted and cannot be intercepted by attackers. I also enforced the least access principle through access policies, allowing users to access only the assets they need to perform their job duties and no more.
Our Zero Trust Network has been highly effective in improving our security posture. We have secured access to our most valuable assets, prevented unauthorized access, and reduced the risk of a breach. If you would like to learn more about our Zero Trust Network and how it works, I have created a website demo and written about our experience on my blog.
Why your organization should stop using VPN and switch to a zero-trust network access