Recent global events — such as growing tensions between the U.S., Russia, and Ukraine — have increasingly demanded more stringent data security. One method, known as “Zero Trust,” is gaining traction in private and federal sectors as organizations seek to avoid data breaches and dispel cybercriminals with more comprehensive privacy measures.
What Is the Zero Trust Model?
The Zero Trust security model is a modern cybersecurity methodology that ensures no users or devices can access data without constant verification. As defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), “Zero Trust is the term for an evolving set of cyber security paradigms that move defenses from static, network-based perimeters to focus on users, assets, and resources. Zero Trust assumes no implicit trust is granted to assets or user accounts based solely on their physical or network location.”
Using the Zero Trust model, organizations can ensure that only authorized users can access digital resources at any given time or place. Cloud services and remote work have become the norm, making the Zero Trust model more crucial than ever before. The need for enhanced cybersecurity is on the rise as organizations allow a larger amount of computing to be performed outside the perimeter of their infrastructure, and IT security teams struggle to manage who is permitted to access their network.
The ongoing shift toward a Zero Trust architecture meets this need by providing a strengthened IT security model that enables organizations to effectively restrict access to their systems and environment without infringing upon the user experience.
In the past, perimeter network security was the industry standard, which included using VPNs, firewalls, email gateways, and access controls through the construction of multiple layers of security around the network’s infrastructure. However, cyber attackers have become adept at infiltrating traditional security networks, further pressing the need for more advanced security measures.
Unlike standard perimeter security, the Zero Trust model functions with the assumption that an organization’s network has already been compromised. Thus, it demands that each user or device attempting to access a network proves that they do not have malicious intent. Essentially, the Zero Trust model is designed to secure modern environments by implementing robust authentication methods, preventing lateral movement, and leveraging network segmentation.
To access a Zero Trust network, users must verify their identity, even if the device or user is inside the organization’s network perimeter. Furthermore, Zero Trust architecture limits each user’s access when they are inside the network, which prevents cybercriminals from moving freely and compromising more sensitive information if they are able to infiltrate the network.
The U.S. Government Is Implementing Zero Trust Measures
By 2026, the research firm Markets and Markets predicts that the global Zero Trust security market will grow from $19.6 billion to $51.6 billion. Conflict in Ukraine, concerns regarding Russian hackers, and international tensions are driving the need for an improved approach to cybersecurity.
Cybercriminals generally target IT infrastructure components, including cloud-based applications and end-point devices, to steal highly sensitive data. Cyberattacks of this nature cause companies and government organizations to endure significant financial losses, intellectual property theft, and the loss of confidential information while interrupting daily operations and decreasing productivity.
These risks posed by cyberattacks have led the U.S. federal government to implement Zero Trust infrastructure. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has enforced mandates for all government agencies to implement a federal Zero Trust architecture (ZTA) strategy that is in alignment with their cybersecurity standards by the end of the fiscal year in 2024.
As stated by the OMB, the ultimate objective of this initiative is to enhance the government’s defenses in the face of highly advanced threat campaigns. “Those campaigns target federal technology infrastructure, threatening public safety and privacy, damaging the American economy, and weakening trust,” the agency said.
Furthermore, the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) provided Booz Allen Hamilton with a $6.8 million contract to implement a Zero Trust security platform — referred to as the Thunderdome Prototype — to improve the nation’s cybersecurity. Over the course of six months, the agency will develop a cohesive strategy to implement DISA’s Zero Trust Reference Architecture for the Department of Defense (DoD), as planned in March 2020.
DISA said Thunderdome would enhance user access to cloud-hosted services and strengthen the agency’s cybersecurity infrastructure while defending systems against potential digital threats. By deploying the Thunderdrome security model, the DoD intends to integrate improved security solutions in the cloud and better protect end-user devices.
Sertainty and Zero Trust Infrastructure
While government entities are leading the way in the adoption of Zero Trust, organizations in all sectors face an onus to protect their sensitive information in an increasingly unstable digital environment. Traditional, perimeter-based security methods are no longer sufficient in light of advancing cyber threats. Companies relying on outdated measures will leave themselves vulnerable to data breaches, ransomware, and other attacks.
At the forefront of evolving data security, Sertainty UXP Technology enables organizations to ensure data privacy by utilizing Zero Trust infrastructure and self-protecting data. With Sertainty UXP, development teams can implement DevSecOps concepts and empower data to govern, defend, and track itself.
Sertainty privacy solutions ensure that data is continually self-authenticating, following the principles of Zero Trust architecture. The continuous verification measures will deny illegitimate users access, so your organization can ensure that only authorized users can handle your data — while still providing those authorized users with flexibility and seamless data access. Sertainty data also has self-tracking capabilities, complete with event logs, which ensure a reliable data chain of custody that can be monitored and reviewed by the data owners.
As major players such as the U.S. government implement the Zero Trust model, other organizations would be wise to follow suit. Cybersecurity has become a high-profile issue, and utilizing Zero Trust architecture gives organizations in any sector a competitive advantage that appeases clients, partners, and regulators.
With Sertainty UXP, you can grasp this advantage by ensuring that data privacy and protection policies are automatically enforced with end-to-end, self-governing data. For more information about how Sertainty and the Zero Trust model can revolutionize your organization’s data privacy, contact Sertainty today.