Zero Trust Security, also referred to as Zero Trust Networks or Zero Trust Architecture, is a security concept with one basic principle: don’t automatically trust anything to access your data, whether it’s connecting from outside your organization or from within. Implementing Zero Trust involves a range of different technologies, policies and processes that help you to better respond to the sophisticated approaches cybercriminals are using to gain access to sensitive data.
The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines Zero Trust security as an “evolving set of cybersecurity paradigms that move defenses from static, network-based perimeters to focus on users, assets, and resources.” Zero Trust Security is not something that organizations can implement by purchasing one solution, but rather something that is incrementally implemented with a combination of solutions and processes that are underpinned by Zero Trust principles.
As such, the Zero Trust security solutions included in this list comprise a range of different technologies and processes that authenticate user access, segment and manage access to data, and continuously monitor your network for malicious network activity; three of the most important features in any Zero Trust security model.
We’ve researched the top Zero Trust security solutions, considering key features including authentication methods, policies, and monitoring and reports. We’ve also considered pricing, target markets, and the deployment process, to help you find the right Zero Trust Security solutions for your organization.
What Is Zero Trust Security?
In short, Zero Trust is a security model which recommends not trusting any users, devices, or systems within your network, until they have been authenticated to be genuine. In practice, this means continuous authentication of internal users and devices to reduce potential security risks, alongside enforcing the principle of least privilege. This ensures that users and systems only have access to the specific applications they need for the prescribed function of their job role.
It’s important to note that Zero Trust is not a strictly set category of solutions, although many vendors have evolved their product suites to fit the Zero Trust model, and now advertise their solutions as ‘Zero Trust’ services. Zero Trust can only be achieved by using a combination of technologies, including continuous authentication, network segmentation, network access control, and access management. As such the above list covers solutions that span these categories and can help organizations on their Zero Trust journey.
Why Is Zero Trust Important?
Zero Trust is becoming increasingly adopted by both vendors and organizations as cyber-crime has continued to become more advanced and targeted. Organizations are adopting more complex network environments with the rise of cloud applications. As users have shifted from the office to hybrid ways of working, the threat landscape has become much more dynamic.
All these factors, in addition to others, have led the traditional perimeter-based security approach – which assumes everything outside the network is a security risk, while everything inside is secure – to become outdated when faced with the complexity of the modern cyber-threat landscape.
This has led many analysts, governments, and regulatory bodies to recommend organizations look to a Zero Trust to improve resilience. After the Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack of May 2021, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order mandating that all federal agencies implement a “Zero Trust” architecture and urged private organizations to do the same.
How To Get Started With Zero Trust Security
Expert Insights asked Tim Knudsen, Director Of Product Management For Zero Trust at Google Cloud, for his advice for organizations looking to get started with Zero Trust:
“It’s no secret that Zero Trust can be a journey and there is no magic switch to “turn it on” overnight. That being said, we recommend customers build a thoughtful plan before getting started with their Zero Trust approach.
“Similarly, implementing Zero Trust is not just about a product roadmap: it’s also about identifying use cases and prioritizing your deployment. For instance, we recommend customers first take stock of what is currently being accessed so they can identify what needs to be secured most urgently.
“This way, you can choose and prioritize sets of user groups and applications. Once you have this list, you can deploy sequentially – there is no need to try and boil the ocean at once. A phased approach like this – specific sets of users and applications across your core use cases – can also help you break down the change management aspect that is crucial to any large-scale IT project.”