Zero Trust in Cybersecurity: from myth to the guide

Every single day I read news on various portals and on LinkedIn and I encounter a lot of buzz words.

Most of the time I just smile recognizing the marketing b**it, and continue to scroll…

This time, I found an article from the Germany’s Federal Bureau of Information Security (BSI) and it was about Zero Trust (DE). Note, this is summary, meant to be full of buzzwords, not a guide or anything similar.

I have to say that Zero Trust used to be a lot more prominent in the Corona years, between 2020 and 2022 than it is now. This shows also the history on IT Security News and Google Trends.


What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a cybersecurity framework designed to address the limitations of traditional perimeter-based security models. Oh, if you didn’t read the article on cybersecurity framework, go there and give it a try.

In the past, companies would rely on firewalls and trust the inside network while treating the outside as a potential threat.

Zero Trust, on the other hand, assumes that threats can originate from both inside and outside the network. It promotes a “never trust, always verify” approach or how we usually say, to be politically correct, “trust is good, but control is better”.


Core principles

1. Identity Verification

Before granting access every user, device and application attempting to access network resources must go through a verification process.

2. Limited Access Privileges

Users and systems should only have access to the resources, for their tasks; nothing

3. Micro Segmentation

The network is split into separate sections to limit the spread of threats.

4. Continuous Monitoring

Constantly observing and analyzing network activity, user actions and system well being, in time.

5. Flexible Access Control

Access permissions can adjust dynamically depending on the users actions, device security status and contextual factors.


Why Zero Trust is such a popular term

Zero Trust is not exclusive to any industry or company size. It can be implemented by any organization looking to enhance its cybersecurity posture. Whether you’re a business or a multinational corporation Zero Trust can be tailored according to your requirements.

Due to the COVID 19 restrictions, all companies had to increase the reliance on cloud services, implement remote work, and proliferate mobile devices, which resulting in an expanded traditional network perimeter.

This transformation has made organizations more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

To summarize, these are the main reasons why Zero Trust has become so popular:

1. Changing Nature of Cyber Threats

With cyber threats becoming advanced and unpredictable organizations need to take measures to defend against them.

2. Impact of Remote Work

The COVID 19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of work rendering traditional network perimeters ineffective.

3. Embracing Cloud Services

As businesses shift towards cloud computing, data and applications are no longer limited to, on premises environments.

4. Adherence to Data Privacy Regulations

Compliance with data privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA necessitates the implementation of data protection measures.

Implementing the Zero Trust framework

There is nothing new here, the same steps apply as to any other cybersecurity framework and ISMS.

I will not go into details about it, just go back and read these articles on ISMS and NIS2.

1. Identify and classify your digital assets

2. Implement strong user authentication methods, verify their identities before granting access

3. Ensure that users and systems have the minimum necessary access permissions.

4. Segment your network into smaller zones to limit lateral movement in case of a breach.

5. Deploy real-time monitoring and analysis tools to track anomalies

6. Implement Adaptive Access Control

7. Encrypt data both in transit and at rest

8. Conduct regular security audits

9. Educate employees about the importance of security

10. Develop an Incident Response Plan


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