‘Zero trust’ has become a very fashionable term within the tech world, according to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), but what does it mean, and how does it affect cybersecurity?
In a recent press release, the NCSC says: “Zero trust is the idea of removing inherent trust from the network. Just because a device is within the internal “trusted” side of a firewall or VPN, it should not be trusted by default.”
The cybersecurity experts add that instead, organisations should look to build confidence in the various transactions occurring by developing a context through the inspection of a number of signals, which are packages of information, such as device health or location, and can give the confidence to grant access to a resource.
The NCSC acknowledges that not every organisation will be ready to adopt a zero-trust architecture, and there may well be additional costs in migrating to a zero-trust framework, from purchasing new products, devices and services, as wells training staff, licensing, and subscriptions.
NCSC lays out five reasons why zero-trust might be a good philosophy to adopt:
- In a zero trust model, every action a user or device takes is subject to some form of policy decision. This allows the organisation to verify every attempt to access data or resources, ‘making life very difficult for an attacker’.
- Zero-trust allows strong authentication and authorisation while reducing the network overhead of extending your corporate network out into your users’ homes.
- Some zero trust security controls can enable a much better user experience. For example, by using single sign-on users only have to enter credentials once, rather than every time they want to use a different application.
- Greater control over data access means you can grant access to specific data to the right audience.
- Enhancing your logging capability to include events from user devices and services gives you a much richer picture of what’s happening in your environment, allowing you to detect compromises with more accuracy.
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