Zero Trust has traditionally been thought of in the context of a network, with implementation considered a project primarily focused on upgrading and segmenting legacy infrastructure. As long as the access to all physical assets was controlled, the thinking went, that could act as a proxy for extending trust in the form of access to users. But this paradigm has proven to be flawed, especially with the dissolution of the traditional perimeter and the resulting surge in users accessing resources from outside an organization’s network.
Because accessing resources is based on user authentication, the natural place to begin a Zero Trust journey is with identity. But with identity-based attacks such as ransomware increasing, the problem is figuring out exactly where to begin – including how existing security products can contribute as well as determining the role PAM products and MFA solutions should play.
In this post, we’ll suggest five reasons why the Silverfort Unified Identity Protection platform can provide the ideal first step in evolving an identity-focused Zero Trust initiative from an abstract vision to a concrete reality.
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Reason #1: Silverfort Can Provide Centralized Visibility Into Every Authentication and Access Request
Because most organizations today operate a hybrid environment, this means there is usually one set of identity providers managing cloud resources (SaaS apps, cloud workloads, etc.) and others that manage the on-prem assets, such as servers, workstations, and legacy apps. In some cases, there can also be additional products involved in identity and access management, such as Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions.
The result is that user activity is widely distributed across many different areas, with no easy way to gather all of this data into one central spot. Further complicating things is the issue of user type, since standard users, privileged users, third-party users, and non-human users (also called machine-to-machine accounts or service accounts) each come with unique challenges around visibility and monitoring.
Silverfort solves this challenge because it has native integrations with every identity provider, enabling it to log every authentication request happening in an environment and thus provide a unified view of all network activity across every user and any resource.
Reason #2: Silverfort Can Determine Whether Every Access Attempt is Benign or Malicious
Ideally, organizations would have a complete view of all user behavior and be able to evaluate the context of every request before granting access. This could be done by using risk analysis in combination with identify verification to decide whether each request was legitimate or actually coming from an adversary using compromised credentials.
But the fragmented nature of the hybrid environment makes the gathering and processing of all data associated with authentication and access requests a serious obstacle. There is also the challenge of normalizing the different risk scores being generated by various engines, as well as the fact that there are very few solutions available that can analyze the actual authentication packets themselves in order to detect any anomalies.
Silverfort solves this issues because of its ability to see all network activity, which means it can evaluate the full context of every authentication. With that amount of information, Silverfort can build a highly sophisticated risk analysis engine to determine the legitimacy of every single authentication happening within the environment.
Reason #3: Silverfort Can Block Malicious Access in Real Time
If an access request can’t be trusted, it should be blocked. Specifically, this blocking should happen in real time as a result of secure access controls triggered by a policy that spans every type of user, access interface, and resource.
However, this is no easy task, especially for on-prem resources. This is because the main authentication protocols (Kerberos and NTLM) used by Active Directory (AD) do not actually support MFA. As a result, there is no way to enforce real-time protection on the resources that it manages (which include legacy applications, file shares, and command-line interfaces).
But Silverfort has the ability to actively enforce policies on these resources due its ability to see all authentications taking place in AD. With the platform’s own MFA capabilities, as well as its integrations with every third-party MFA provider on the market (including Okta, Duo, Ping, Microsoft Authenticator, HYPR, Yubico, and RSA), Silverfort can block any malicious access request in real time.
Reason #4: Silverfort Can Apply Context and Enforcement to Every Resource
To fully implement an Identity Zero Trust framework, organizations would have the ability to apply sophisticated risk analysis and take enforcement action on each level of access to every single resource. This would mean, for example, being able to apply policies to each one of the resources within a network segment, rather than just at the gateway.
Having this ability would give IT teams the ability to make much better decisions on how best to protect enterprise resources from compromise or inappropriate access while also taking into account other key factors like productivity and user experience.
Because Silverfort integrates with every product in the security stack – including all SIEM tools, EDR/XDR solutions, and SOAR software – access enforcement policies can be finely tuned, adjusted on a granular level for each resource.
Reason #5: Silverfort Offers Rapid Deployment and Immediate Time to Value
Perhaps the biggest challenge in implementing Zero Trust is finding solutions that can be implemented quickly and return value to the organization right away. PAM solutions provide an important security layer that includes the monitoring of admin connection (via session recording) and a prevention layer in the form of a vault for admin credentials and the rotation of their passwords. However, PAM programs are known to have lengthy and complex deployment, often stretching over months and even years.
Silverfort’s solution, on the other hand, can be rolled out very quickly with most deployments taking less than 30 days. This means organizations can see real value right away; for example, through protecting all service accounts. Because Silverfort can see all authentications in the environment, it can discover any machine-to-machine accounts due to their highly predictable behavior. Silverfort can then automatically create policies to protect these (often highly privileged) accounts from compromise. This discovery and protection of service accounts is one of the biggest hurdles to a successful PAM implementation.
Learn More About Silverfort Unified Identity Protection
Silverfort’s solution features an innovative agentless and proxyless technology that runs in the backend of an existing IAM infrastructure to stop identity threats in real time. This means organizations can now confidently implement an identity-focused Zero Trust approach through the protection of areas most often targeted by threat actors in data breaches and ransomware attacks — legacy systems, command-line interfaces, and service accounts.
Interested in seeing how Silverfort can accelerate your Identity Zero Trust journey? Request a demo here.