What is Identity Zero Trust ?

Identity-Based Zero Trust is the idea of evaluating the trust of users and enforcing secure access controls whenever a user attempts to access an enterprise resource. Identity Zero Trust is based on the approach of continuous monitoring of every user access request including all resources on-prem and in the cloud. 

Implementing Identity Zero Trust can help organizations prevent malicious access to enterprise resources from within their environment. When a user requests access, that specific user needs to be authenticated to gain access to the required resource. In an environment that does not have the proper security controls implemented, if a user account is compromised and can simply use the user’s compromised credentials to gain access to any resource and move laterally across an organization’s environment. 

However, if an organization has deployed an Identity-based Zero Trust approach with granular security controls it will make it more difficult for an attacker to take advantage of the compromised credentials. 

By implementing network segmentation rules and risk-based authentication policies within an organization’s identity Zero Trust model, organizational identity protection can deliver higher granularity and risk detection capabilities with their user authentication requests.

How Does Identity-Based Zero Trust Work?

Hybrid environments are using different types of resources such as servers, SaaS apps, cloud workloads, file shares, on-prem applications, and many others and they all need to be protected. To help start the process of protecting resources, enterprises should investigate adopting a more identity-based Zero Trust security model. However, identity-based Zero Trust means that the following criteria need to be met to achieve Identity Zero Trust: 

  • All user accounts should be presumed to be compromised and not trusted until authenticated and proven. 
  • A user account will only be considered to be trusted after it is authenticated and validated to gain access to single resource access.
  • After a user’s access requests are authenticated and that same user attempts another resource they must be validated again. 

To ensure improved identity protection, the Identity Zero-Trust evaluation process requires the following actions to be taken: 

  • Continuous Monitoring: All access requests for all cloud and on-prem resources must be monitored and provide an advanced audit trial. 
  • Risk Analysis: Each user access request must be determined if that specific user credential is compromised which will be based on a risk analysis of the user behavior and their authentication activity. 
  • Enforce Access Policies: Assign identity access policy for each user which is based on a calculated risk that will either allow, block or trigger authentication with MFA.

What are the Benefits of Identity-Based Zero Trust?

Adopting an identity-based Zero Trust Identity approach of identity protection comes with different security and business benefits:

  • Quick Deployment: No infrastructure changes and serious downtime is required as the only minor changes relate to user access policies and authentication methods.
  • Increased granularity:  By focusing on the user, organizations can ensure proper risk analysis for every resource access. 
  • Detect anomalies and threats: Monitor and run daily security checks for every resource access to help detect any malicious activity or irregular access request.

By monitoring, analyzing, and enforcing access policies on every access attempt will allow organizations to implement an identity-based Zero Trust approach across their environments.
To learn more about how Silverfort helps organizations implement Identity Zero Trust, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the three main concepts of identity-based Zero Trust?

    Identity-based Zero Trust is a security model that focuses on identity as the primary means of verifying network traffic and granting access to resources. The three main concepts of identity-based Zero Trust are:

    1. Identity verification: All network traffic is verified explicitly by verifying the identity of the user, device, or application before access is granted. This includes multi-factor authentication, user and device profiling, and risk-based authentication.
    2. Policy-based access control: Access to resources is granted based on the user’s identity and the specific policies that have been put in place to govern access to those resources. This includes role-based access control, attribute-based access control, and context-aware access control.
    3. Continuous monitoring and enforcement: Continuously monitoring network activity to detect any suspicious activity and enforcing access control policies in real-time. This includes monitoring user and device behavior, identifying and responding to security threats, and enforcing compliance.

    By focusing on identity as the primary means of verifying network traffic and granting access to resources, identity-based Zero Trust helps organizations to better protect their sensitive information and resources from cyber threats and meet compliance requirements. It also allows organizations to ensure that only authorized users and devices can access the network and resources

  • What is an example of identity-based Zero Trust?

    An example of identity-based Zero Trust would be a company that has implemented a Zero Trust security model for their network infrastructure, with a strong focus on identity verification.

    Here are a few examples of how the identity-based Zero Trust model is applied in this scenario:

    1. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is required for all users to access company resources, this can include fingerprint, face recognition, one-time passcode, and more.
    2. Network segmentation is used to create micro-segments within the network, limiting the potential damage of a successful attack.
    3. All access requests are logged, monitored, and analyzed for potential threats and all suspicious activity is flagged and investigated.
    4. Endpoint security measures such as encryption and firewalls are implemented on all devices, ensuring that only authorized devices can access the network.
    5. Identity and Access Management (IAM) system is used to manage user access and role-based access control is enforced, so users are only given access to the resources they need to perform their job, and no more.
    6. The system also uses context-aware access control, where the access is granted or denied based on the user’s identity, device, location, time and other contextual information.

    This approach helps to protect the company’s sensitive information and resources from cyber threats and ensures that only authorized users and devices can access the network and resources.

  • Why do companies move to Zero Trust?

    Companies move to Zero Trust because it helps them to better protect their sensitive information and resources from cyber threats. Zero Trust security model assumes that all network traffic, whether internal or external, is untrusted and must be verified before access is granted. This approach helps to reduce the attack surface and make it more difficult for attackers to gain access to sensitive information and resources.

    Here are a few reasons why companies move to Zero Trust:

    1. Protection against cyber threats: Zero Trust helps companies to better protect their sensitive information and resources from cyber threats by requiring explicit verification of all network traffic and granting access on a least privilege basis.
    2. Compliance: Many regulations such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and SOC2 require organizations to protect against cyber threats and implement security controls to be compliant. Zero Trust helps organizations to meet these compliance requirements.
    3. Remote work: With the rise of remote work, companies need to provide secure access to their resources for remote employees, and Zero Trust helps organizations to secure remote access to their resources.
    4. Cloud Adoption: Zero Trust is a good fit for companies that are moving to cloud, as it helps them to secure access to cloud resources and to meet compliance requirements.
    5. Improved Visibility and Control: Zero Trust provides organizations with better visibility and control over their network, enabling them to identify and respond to security threats more quickly and effectively.