What is Zero Trust Cloud Security?
Zero Trust Cloud Security Defined
Zero Trust cloud security is a model for securing data, applications and infrastructure within cloud environments.
In traditional network security, users and devices inside the network perimeter are considered trustworthy and are frequently given broad access to resources within the network. A Zero Trust model requires the opposite approach – everything and everyone is considered to be a potential threat and is granted access to IT resources only after continual authentication and authorization. Access is granted on a limited, least-privilege basis: users and devices are permitted to access only the resources they need at the moment to perform a specific task.
Zero Trust cloud security extends the Zero Trust approach to cloud services to protect data flowing to cloud environments, SaaS apps and private apps in the public cloud. However, there is no single product an organization can adopt to achieve Zero Trust cloud security. Implementing Zero Trust cloud requires a combination of Zero Trust security tools, policies and best practices.
Why Is Zero Trust Cloud Security Necessary?
While most organizations view the cloud as more secure than their own data centers, there are significant security risks in moving data, applications and infrastructure to the cloud. Cloud migration involves managing security in someone else’s data center, without having physical access to the underlying infrastructure. Additionally, serious security gaps may occur when there is confusion about the shared responsibility model and how specific security responsibilities are divided between cloud providers and internal IT teams.
For example, these signs may indicate that a cloud footprint may not be secure.
- Data loss. Three-quarters of cybersecurity and IT professionals have experienced data loss from cloud services more than once.
- Misconfigured cloud services. Misconfigurations include exposed web servers, overprivileged accounts and other types of server workloads. Research shows that more than one misconfiguration results in more than 10 data loss events.
- Solution sprawl. Enterprises that use more than 50 tools rank themselves 8 percent lower in their ability to detect threats and 7 percent lower in their defensive capabilities than other companies employing fewer toolsets.
- Compromised credentials. Nearly 6 in 10 organizations have experienced spearphishing attacks where employees with privileged cloud accounts were compromised.
- Fast deployments. IT teams that bring new sites online without waiting for carrier provisioning create security risks.
It is no wonder that cloud security is a critical priority for most cybersecurity professionals. Many IT teams charged with cloud security struggle to protect against data loss and leakage, breaches of confidentiality, threats to data privacy, compliance issues, loss of visibility into cloud infrastructure, and difficulty enforcing security policies consistently across cloud and on premises environments.
Zero Trust cloud security can address each of these concerns.
How Zero Trust Works
In an IT environment built on Zero Trust strategy, every user or service requesting access to IT resources is considered a potential threat. Every user and device must be authenticated and validated on every request – no matter where the request comes from or how often they connected in the past.
Rather than defending a general network perimeter, a Zero Trust environment uses microsegmentation to isolate smaller network segments and individual workloads. This prevents unauthorized users who have gained access to one part of the network from moving laterally within it to access other assets.
Permission to access the network is based on dynamic, contextual security policies that consider the identity, location, device, application, and content being accessed. When access is granted, it is given on a least-privilege basis – users and devices may access only the minimum amount of resources they need to complete a task.
In a Zero Trust environment, IT teams assume that breaches are occurring now. As a result, they constantly monitor the network to identify potential threats, active incidents and suspicious behavior that should be investigated.
Benefits of the Zero Trust approach include:
- A smaller attack surface. Granular segmentation and limited permissions minimize the attack surface and limit the damage from a breach by preventing threat actors from moving laterally within the environment.
- Agile, scalable security. Zero Trust security policies are automated and centrally managed, making it easier to scale security.
- Greater visibility. A Zero Trust approach requires IT teams to understand where assets are located and continuously monitor who is accessing them and how. This enhances visibility and provides greater context for traffic, asset inventory and risk management.
- Streamlined compliance. Zero Trust environments require all traffic and requests to be logged and analyzed, providing a clear audit trail that makes it easier to prove compliance with data privacy standards and regulatory frame.
Implementing Zero Trust for the Cloud
To implement Zero Trust cloud security, IT teams will need to build a cloud-specific security architecture that incorporates multiple components.
- Identity access management. Security policy should identify users who are authorized to operate in the cloud environment and define what they are allowed to do. Zero Trust principles govern how they access and use data, replacing implicit trust with explicit permissions every time they request access to IT resources. Robust identity and access management technologies automate enforcement.
- Application security. IT teams must inventory applications in use and identify corresponding threats. Solutions for Zero Trust network app protection may include a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), while Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) services monitor and secure access to SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and internal applications.
- Data security. Zero Trust data security includes encryption of data-at-rest and data-in-motion, along with strong authentication and policy-based Data Loss Prevention (DLP) controls.
Data activity monitoring. To implement the constant monitoring that is essential for Zero Trust cloud security, IT teams should log and audit all data activity at a granular level to ensure compliance with security policies and regulatory frameworks.
Zero Trust Cloud Security with Forcepoint
Recognized as a leader in cybersecurity by Forrester, Gartner and NSS Labs, Forcepoint delivers comprehensive solutions to achieve Zero Trust cloud security. Forcepoint’s Zero Trust security platform combines enterprise cloud security solutions with a data-first SASE approach that keeps sensitive data in and advanced threats out, no matter where users are working.
Forcepoint solutions for Zero Trust cloud security include:
- Zero Trust CASB. Forcepoint Cloud Access Security Broker enables Zero Trust cloud security with continuous control of business-critical data, no matter where users are or what device they’re on. Forcepoint CASB provides full visibility and control over data in any application, including shadow IT. This Forcepoint solution enables frictionless access from any device and provides IT teams with control over both managed and unmanaged devices through options for agentless deployment.
- Zero Trust SWG. Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway enables users to securely access any website or download any document while enjoying the high-speed performance they rely on. Forcepoint SWG applies security policies in the cloud as well as on endpoints and extends best-in-class data security to the web.
- Remote Browser Isolation. Forcepoint RBI supports Zero Trust cloud security by neutralizing web security threats and preventing attacks through remote isolation without relying on detection. This Zero Trust security service provides malware protection against ransomware while stopping zero-day threats as well.