What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a security concept centered on the belief that organizations should not automatically trust anything inside or outside their perimeters and instead must verify anything and everything trying to connect to its systems before granting access. The strategy around Zero Trust dictates that only authenticated and authorized users and devices can access applications and data. This approach also entails continuous monitoring and validation to ensure that security is maintained throughout the session.

Here are some of the key principles of Zero Trust:

  1. Never Trust, Always Verify: Do not trust any entity by default, even if they are within the network perimeter.
  2. Least Privilege Access: Give users only the access they need to accomplish their tasks and nothing more.
  3. Microsegmentation: Divide networks into small, secure zones to maintain separate access for separate parts of the network.
  4. Multi-factor Authentication (MFA): Implement multiple layers of authentication to increase security barriers to unauthorized access.
  5. Continuous Monitoring: Continuously monitor the network and the environment for malicious activity or anomalies.
  6. Explicit Verification: Use rigorous identity and security verification for every user and device for every session.

The Zero Trust model acknowledges that trust is a vulnerability. Once on the network, users—including threat actors and malicious insiders—are free to move laterally and access or exfiltrate whatever data they are not limited to. Zero Trust teaches us to "trust no one" and "verify everything" to reduce risk and improve security posture.