What Is Zero Trust Data Security?
Zero Trust Data Security Defined
Because data is critical to every aspect of operations in modern organizations, it must constantly be protected from theft, leaks, loss and corruption. Zero Trust is an approach to IT security that automatically assumes every request for access to data, applications and other resources is a threat.
Before allowing users, devices and applications to access IT resources, a Zero Trust system requires continual authentication and validation, even for requests from users and devices already inside the network.
Zero Trust data security extends the principles of Zero Trust to requests for access to data. In this framework, data is identified, categorized and isolated from everything except the users that absolutely need access to it. Data security is augmented by end-to-end encryption, event logging and consistent data backups.
Zero Trust data security is perfectly aligned with the realities of the modern network, where data and IT resources may reside anywhere in the world as part of a hybrid cloud environment. By authenticating every request for access, Zero Trust security helps prevent unauthorized access or exfiltration and limits the impact of attackers who have successfully breached one part of the network.
The Principles of Zero Trust Data Security
Zero Trust data security – and Zero Trust environments in general – adhere to several foundational principles.
Zero Trust data security relies on a philosophy of “never trust, always verify.” In a Zero Trust environment, no user, device or application is automatically trusted – each must be authenticated and validated on every request for access to IT resources.
Grant minimal privileges
Zero Trust data security follows the principle of least-privilege access, which stipulates that users and processes should have access only to the specific resources they need to complete a task. This prevents anyone and anything from having unnecessarily broad access to IT resources, limiting the attack surface and minimizing vulnerabilities.
Assume that a breach is underway
By assuming that attackers have already successfully breached defenses, security teams are compelled to assign authorization to a smaller number of users. This limits the amount of access an attacker may gain.
Limit the blast radius
Once security teams have adopted the attitude that breaches are likely to occur, the next step is to limit the damage they can do by segmenting the network and assets. Microsegmentation technologies create various security perimeters within the network, shielding individual workloads and high-value assets. By protecting business-critical information through microsegmentation, Zero Trust data security practices can prevent attackers who have breached one part of the network from moving laterally throughout an IT environment.
Monitor threats in real time
Real-time network monitoring is essential to identify and block threats as they occur. Continuous monitoring significantly reduces the “dwell time” that attackers can remain inside a network as they seek to access targets, exfiltrate data, and launch additional attacks.
Zero Trust Technology for Securing Data
To build a Zero Trust environment and achieve Zero Trust data security, organizations and their IT teams must adopt solutions and services that provide several essential capabilities.
Identity and access management (IAM)
IAM solutions shoulder the burden of constantly authenticating users and managing policies to ensure robust security with zero friction for users. Attribute-based and role-based access controls use dynamic and contextual analysis to ensure that the right users are granted the right amount of access at the right time.
Zero Trust data security solutions help IT teams to discover, classify and manage sensitive data assets, protecting them with end-to-end encryption and isolating them from everything except the users that need access.
Solutions that validate endpoints help to ensure that devices are free of malware and that legitimate users control them.
Microsegmentation technologies help manage Zero Trust application access by wrapping applications and workloads within tight security perimeters to strictly limit access to only those users and processes with a legitimate business need.
Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
ZTNA solutions allow users to securely connect to data and applications within an IT environment from anywhere in the world. ZTNA technologies ensure Zero Trust cloud security by granting access only to specific services and applications rather than entire networks or zones within the IT environment.
Automation and orchestration
To minimize complexity, IT teams need solutions that can automate the management of Zero Trust policies and orchestrate incident response when threats are detected.
Continuous monitoring technology provides comprehensive visibility into the health of IT environments, threats within them, and the security processes protecting them. Real-time information leads to better security decisions about access control, segmentation, encryption and other elements of the Zero Trust framework.
The Challenges of Implementing a Zero Trust Framework
Implementing a Zero Trust environment is challenging. These include:
- Complex IT environments. The highly distributed nature of modern IT environments increases the complexity of shifting to a Zero Trust environment. Security teams may need to custom configure many servers, databases, internal software and third-party applications.
- Multiple point solutions. Using a variety of point solutions for Zero Trust systems and Zero Trust data security can be a time-consuming and complex task that adds a significant burden to IT teams. Choosing a Zero Trust company that offers multiple solutions on a single platform can help to simplify the management of Zero Trust activities.
- Performance issues. Locking down access until a user or application can be verified may harm workflows and performance. Security teams can overcome this challenge with superior Zero Trust data security solutions.
Zero Trust Data Security with Forcepoint
As a leading data security company, Forcepoint offers a Zero Trust platform with powerful solutions for achieving Zero Trust data security while overcoming the challenges of transitioning to a Zero Trust environment.
Forcepoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP) promotes Zero Trust data security by helping IT teams to enforce consistent policies across the IT environment. With Forcepoint’s solution, security teams can discover and control data where it lives – in the cloud, on the network, via email and at endpoints. By monitoring traffic as it enters and leaves the organization, Forcepoint DLP detects and blocks sensitive information from leaving the organization to prevent exfiltration and accidental data loss and leaks.
Forcepoint Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) makes it easy to implement Zero Trust policies while providing secure connectivity for remote workers. With Forcepoint ZTNA, users can securely connect to apps and data in private data centers, while Forcepoint limits access only to the resources each user needs. Built-in malware-scanning and DLP technology mitigates any threats within the content being viewed and reroutes any risky traffic.