What is Zero Trust Security?

You can also be interested in these:

The need for security is more apparent now than ever before, as cybercriminals continuously seek out new ways to breach computer systems, using both software and hardware. Meanwhile, businesses are struggling to implement new security measures, such as the Zero Trust Security model that we will discuss here to provide you with a better understanding of its principles.

Risk of implicit trust security

Throughout history, businesses have relied on a range of cybersecurity models that aim to isolate anyone outside the corporate network perimeter as suspicious and consider those inside as trustworthy by default. This approach assumes a model of implicit trust, but it has resulted in costly data breaches, devastating attacks, and other issues when cyber attackers bypass the security perimeter.

Therefore, it is now suggested that an access method based on identity and roles should be used instead of focusing on the location of users and connected devices, regardless of whether they are inside or outside. This is the core principle of Zero Trust Security. As a result, Zero Trust Security utilizes authentication and authorization on the network consistently, rather than merely evaluating the perimeter. This model also limits potential internal threats in the event of a compromised legitimate account. By doing so, better outcomes are achieved by restricting access to sensitive data only to a select group of users.

The truth is that the concept of zero trust has been in existence for more than a decade. However, it has recently evolved and gained popularity due to its ability to offer significant improvements to the current cybersecurity challenges.

Why is the Zero Trust model important?

During the lockdown period, many employees worked from home, and students resorted to online learning platforms, among other remote activities. As a result, there were numerous data breaches that cost companies large amounts of money. This triggered the need for better cybersecurity measures to secure remote access.

Traditionally, companies have relied on technologies such as firewalls or VPNs for remote access. Nevertheless, this approach still has its shortcomings when VPN login credentials get into the wrong hands.

Moreover, the perimeter-based model was designed for a time when only a few users required remote access and organizational resources were available locally in the company’s private center. However, currently, these resources are frequently dispersed across third-party data centers, which blurs the perimeter as it was traditionally understood.

In summary, the legacy cybersecurity approach is becoming increasingly ineffective due to emerging technologies and new security needs. Therefore, it has become unreliable and poses a risk, making it necessary to adopt the Zero Trust Security model to enhance current security measures.

Benefits of implementing the Zero Trust Security model include:

  • Enhanced protection of sensitive data
  • Support for compliance audits
  • Reduced risk of non-compliance and quicker detection time
  • Network traffic visibility
  • Better control in cloud-based environments
  • Micro-segmentation, a fundamental principle in cybersecurity that isolates resources and prevents lateral attacks.

How does access work in Zero Trust Security?

In Zero Trust models or Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), a trusted controller or agent enforces access policies established by the organization or service and denies connections between users and applications in other cases. The software identifies users based on their ID and function, as well as other parameters such as geographical location, schedule, etc.

Thus, any context outside of that would be treated as suspicious and denied, even if it is a request from an authorized user. Additionally, once authenticated and connected, users can only see the applications or access the data they are authorized for, and not all network resources. The rest will remain hidden from the user.

Zero Trust Security planning

While security experts have agreed on how the Zero Trust Security approach should be, implementing it in practice can be challenging. Companies and organizations planning to adopt the model should consider the following challenges:

  • Mixing implicit trust and Zero Trust Security models can create security gaps, which is particularly important when transitioning from a traditional trust framework to a zero trust one.
  • It can cause issues with legacy technologies that are not prepared for Zero Trust Security. As a result, hardware and software administrators and technicians may face numerous challenges.
  • Implementation may involve the entire IT environment, making adoption difficult and costly.
  • Zero Trust Security strategies rely on excellent access control; therefore, effective identity, role, and permission management is essential.
  • Improper user access restrictions can lead to productivity problems.
  • It is necessary to have knowledge of the platform to be protected, understand existing security controls, incorporate new modern tools and technologies, apply a detailed policy, and utilize monitoring and alert systems.

After identifying all the challenges, organizations can implement the Zero Trust approach while considering the following points. Qualified personnel are required in areas such as application and data security, network and infrastructure security, user and device identity, as well as other security operations.

Once all the necessary precautions have been taken, Zero Trust Security can be applied to several use cases, including secure third-party service access, remote network access, IoT security and visibility, and more.

Zero Trust Security vs other security approaches

The cybersecurity industry has made significant advancements in recent years, offering various intriguing technologies, strategies, and policies. But how do these other approaches compare to Zero Trust Security? Let’s examine a few cases:


Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) has a comparable approach to Zero Trust in that it aims to enhance security by controlling users’ and devices’ access. However, unlike ZTS, SDP is an architecture made up of controllers and hosts that manage and facilitate communications.


Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are another technology that serves the same purpose of ensuring security. However, as the number of remote workers and services increases, VPNs have proven to be less effective, although they should still be used to enhance security. In fact, they can be used alongside Zero Trust Security.

ZTS vs Zero-Knowledge Proof

While these terms share some similarities, Zero-Knowledge Proof is a methodology used to prove the validity of information from a second party without sharing any information. Cryptographic algorithms based on Zero-Knowledge Proof allow the party that needs to perform the proof to demonstrate its truthfulness mathematically. For example, some traditional methods like 2FA or MFA use this type of Zero-Knowledge Proof.


The Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) is a security concept that grants users and devices only the necessary access rights to perform their job and nothing more. This includes access to data, applications, systems, and processes. If credentials are compromised, this restriction ensures that the impact is minimal.

Although Zero Trust Security shares some similarities with PoLP, the main difference is that ZTS also emphasizes user and device authentication and authorization.

ZTS vs Defense in Depth

A defense in depth security strategy entails multiple layers of processes, people, and technologies to protect data and systems. This approach should cover most breaches and may even be more robust than Zero Trust Security because if one layer of security fails, there are others to fall back on.

However, Zero Trust Security is often more appealing. Incorporating a defense in depth principle alongside a Zero Trust framework can significantly bolster security.

Steps to Implement Zero Trust Security

Finally, it is crucial to consider how to implement a Zero Trust policy or Zero Trust Security. The implementation process may vary depending on the model, but it is based on seven fundamental pillars:

  • User security
  • Device security
  • Workload security
  • Network security
  • Data security
  • Visibility and analysis
  • Automation and orchestration

Moreover, it is crucial to note that there are various methods for implementing Zero Trust Security, ranging from simpler to more advanced and complex approaches. Once a company or organization is ready to adopt Zero Trust Security, the following steps should be taken for successful implementation:

  • Establish a dedicated Zero Trust team: Choosing the right team members is crucial for success. This entails selecting administrators, technicians, and other necessary resources such as appropriate network equipment, monitoring tools, additional security technologies, etc.
  • Determine the access base: This may vary, with some opting for access based on user and device identity, others on the applications and data being handled, and others on the network.
  • Conduct an environment evaluation: An audit or analysis of already implemented security controls must be performed. Furthermore, the level of trust they provide and possible breaches should be verified and resolved before it’s too late.
  • Analyze available technology: It is important to conduct this step to see what methodologies and technologies need to be developed in the Zero Trust Security strategy.
  • Implement Zero Trust measures.
  • Define operational changes: Documenting and evaluating any changes in operations is important, as well as modifying or authorizing processes when necessary.
  • Make Adjustments: As Zero Trust measures are implemented, they should be evaluated for effectiveness and adjustments made if necessary. Then the process starts again.

More stories like this