A Guide to Complete Zero Trust - What is ‘Zero Trust’ and why do we need it? 

A Guide to Complete Zero Trust – What is ‘Zero Trust’ and why do we need it?

For some years now, the entire IT sector has been in a state of upheaval, which has triggered simultaneously a paradigm shift in IT security; consequently, the IT security concept ‘Zero Trust’ has acquired immense importance. This has resulted in a massive impact on the design of IT architectures also. The shift of in-house data center resources to the cloud, the development from office to hybrid work models to mobile and remote working or the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept are just some of the numerous developments that have brought organizational, cultural but also (IT) technical changes.

This, nevertheless, is marked by the end of classical IT security concepts, which presupposed a centralized IT security concept with a clear separation between the internal and external IT environments. Recent technical advancements made IT security to get stretched in line with the classical concepts, around the internal as well as external environments at central nodes or as a protective shield, however in the case of Zero Trust without categorically differentiating between external and internal. Consequently, concepts such as Zero Trust are becoming more and more important, especially because they offer answers and solutions for the rapidly changing world.

What is ‘Zero Trust’ and why do we need it?

In today’s world, data is distributed across an almost infinite number of devices, applications, services, and people. This leads to major problems for a classical enterprise architecture of IT and thus also for the classical IT security concepts, since such a large and versatile distribution of data makes it difficult to manage the different components, especially to ensure equality between the users’ access resources in a secure environment. As the separation between the internal and external world or IT infrastructure, on which the classic IT security concepts were based, no longer exists, IT security also had to be rethought; such a rethink led to the emergence of Zero Trust.

Zero Trust takes a different approach to IT security, i.e., instead of erecting an ‘outer’ protective shield around all applications and servers, separating the internal and external environments, every access to the resources, e.g., the data or the applications, is checked. So, there is no distinction between internal and external environments, rather only the resources of the company, with IT security being part of every resource and every access to every resource has to be checked and verified.

Subsequently, the Zero Trust approach follows two guiding principles, namely “Never trust, always verify” and “Assume a breach”. The underlying paradigm shift taking place here thus redefines the basic starting points, away from trusted devices, networks, and users, towards a concept without trust, where every access has to be rechecked and where IT security necessary forms consequently part of every access, – the distinction between internal and external IT environments or trusted and untrusted dissolves here.

The road to Zero Trust is long, because not only is it a major change from an organizational point of view, but it is also a significant transition from a technical point of view, where applications have to be gradually converted to the Zero Trust model. In addition to the technical conversion, security must also be considered, because the good Zero Trust approach must be combined with the right implementation, both of which together guarantee the optimal key to success.

The numerous features of a modern Cloud Identity & Access Management like cidaas, can help here to create a great customer experience without compromising on security. At cidaas, for example, the cidaas FDS (Fraud Detection System) and cidaas Smart Multi-Factor Authentication, which performs behaviour-based clustering, are perfectly integrated and guarantee a high level of security without bothering users with complicated login processes.

Don’t miss our further parts of our ‘Guide to complete Zero Trust’ blog series

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