We've talked a lot about the benefits of cloud storage and computing for organizations. There is no question that utilizing the right cloud services provider can boost an organization's productivity, scalability, and mobility.
But with the benefits come risks. Cloud services have their own host of security risks.
Zero trust is the ideal solution for cloud services. Here's why.
What is Zero Trust for Clouds?
As a quick definition, ZTNA means everything is suspicious. There are no blanket levels of general accessibility, and each step in the process requires verification. Whenever a user or device tries to access a resource, they must identify their identity before access is granted. And even after access is granted, if another resource needs to be accessed, the verification process will start again.
In more detail, Gartner defines zero-trust network access as a product or service that creates an identity- and context-based, logical access boundary around an application or set of applications.
All applications are hidden, and access is denied until a trusted broker can verify the user's identity, context, and policy adherence before allowing access. Lateral movement anywhere else in the network is prohibited.
There is less for an attacker to see and target with applications hidden.
Zero trust is important because even if an attacker slips past a defense, they will be isolated and unable to move deeper into the system, saving organizations time and money since attacks and damage are minimized.
Utilizing zero trust for cloud environments won't look much different than the standard zero trust set-up. That's part of what makes zero trust a great security architecture for clouds.
Why is Zero Trust Important for Clouds?
Traditionally, cybersecurity was treated as a castle-and-moat architecture. The secrets were safe inside the castle and cybercriminals were kept outside the moat. This worked when everyone was in the office and the perimeter was easy to define.
With cloud-based systems, the "perimeter" doesn't really exist. There is no easy to define space where data can safely live. A new way of thinking is necessary. This is where zero trust becomes so important.
Employees are accessing data from the cloud, sometimes at the office and sometimes via potentially unsafe Wifi networks. It's best to work off the assumption that the network has already been infiltrated.
Hosting applications and data in the cloud is often more cost-effective and accessible and, as a result, most companies have applications and data across multiple cloud storage locations which makes it difficult to see who is accessing the applications and data and how it is being shared.
A single, unified security architecture is necessary to provide the most visualization of activity.
Key Zero Trust for Cloud Principles
The least privilege principle isn't new, but it is a guiding principle in zero trust. Users are only given the minimum amount of access within the cloud they need.
Device Access Control
Building on the idea of least privilege for users, zero trust also means implementing something similar for devices. Zero trust systems monitor how many different devices are trying to access the cloud, ensure each device is authorized, and assess the devices to make sure they haven't been compromised.
This involves breaking up security perimeters within the cloud into small zones so each zone needs separate access for each part of the network.
It's basically like putting a firewall around each application. This "firewall" isolates each application from everything, even devices on the same network, and explicitly allows access based on the parameters you set up.
Microsegmentation primarily references traffic in the same network as opposed to traffic coming in or going out.
Continuous Monitoring and Validation
The base of zero trust is assuming that attackers have already infiltrated the network so no users or devices should be trusted automatically. Zero trust requires verification of user and device identity and privileges on a per session basis. This forces users and devices to reverify.
This is similar to when you log in to your device but still need to log in again to access your bank website. Then, if you were to open another tab to access your bank account, you may need to reverify.
ZTNA aims to ensure users and devices are validated each session, even if just a moment has passed since you established connection.
Preventing Lateral Movement
Lateral movement is when an attacker moves within a network after gaining access to the network. It can be hard to detect even if the entry point is discovered.
Zero trust contains attackers so they cannot move laterally. Since access is segmented and requires re-verification periodically, the attacker cannot move freely throughout the network. That way, when the attacker is detected, the infected device or account can be quarantined and cut off from the network.
Like any good security plan, multifactor authentication is a core principle. MFA requires more than one method of verification to authenticate a user.
How Anteris Can Help
Zero trust may sound complex to implement, but working with the right partner can make it simple.
At Anteris, we make security a top priority. As cybersecurity professionals, our security services support your business and protect your data from outside threats.
We pride ourselves on being lifelong learners. Being a security expert doesn't mean that someone has learned everything they need to know about cybersecurity. That's impossible. It's always changing. We know that and recognize that cybersecurity is an ever-evolving process to assess, align, and act, and keep moving forward as cybersecurity changes.
While there is no guaranteed protection against threats, we also have best practices for recovery in the event of a security breach.
Let us make your technology freeing, not frustrating.