Skip to content
Home » Network Access Best Practices for Secure Connectivity

Network Access Best Practices for Secure Connectivity

  • by
Network Access Best Practices for Secure Connectivity

Zero Trust requires policies that verify access based on user identity, device, location, and other criteria. The system continuously reassesses access privileges as the context changes.

Strong device identities are critical to Zero Trust. As they reduce the attack surface by eliminating lateral movement between networks and services. The system also ensures that connections are one-to-one and secure. Ensuring sensitive data is not exposed to hackers or compromised devices.

Identify and Control Access to Data

Securing networks and data is of utmost importance in today’s digital landscape. Zero trust is a reliable security framework emphasizing strong authentication of users, devices, and data. By doing so, zero Trust creates a secure and trustworthy environment that enables seamless digital transformation. It uses context-aware policies to verify and validate access, ensuring the right people connect to the right assets at the right time while minimizing lateral movement throughout the environment.

To implement Zero Trust, create an entire inventory of your organization’s users, used devices, and applications that need to access them over the internet. It will provide the visibility you need to prioritize which assets and applications require the most attention, including which ones have the most vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

You must also ensure that your zero-trust policies are executed adequately by putting continuous verification and monitoring tools in place. It will help you to quickly recognize suspicious behavior and respond to internal or external breaches to minimize their impact. Using UEBA or other behavior analytics tools can help you understand the regular activity of your users and devices and ensure that the analyzed traffic matches your defined security policies.

Establish Data Transparency

Zero-trust network access requires a clear view of all applications and infrastructure to secure data, including those behind the firewall. It includes cloud, IoT, and supply chain systems. You must also ensure that all access is logged and monitored for lateral movement and suspicious behavior.

Establishing this visibility requires a deep understanding of the data in the environment and users’ needs. There are numerous sources from which one can gather valuable information, such as IDaaS, CASB, EMM, and PAM technologies.

Once this information is understood, the proper access rights can be granted based on the principle of least privilege. For example, a software developer should not be granted access to financial records. It will limit the spread of an attack if a Zero Trust architecture is breached. Also mandates strict controls on device identity and access, ensuring that only trusted devices can connect to the network. A critical requirement, especially for IoT devices that often need strong security capabilities.

Implement Passwordless Authentication

Zero Trust allows for granular security while maintaining productivity as users move to work from anywhere and on various devices. Solutions that authenticate users and verify the device used at each point of access eliminate the need for passwords, which are easily compromised. Implementing a multi-factor authentication (MFA) is crucial for building a robust Zero Trust security framework. By verifying a user’s identity through multiple pieces of evidence and validating their device’s integrity, MFA significantly enhances security and reduces the chances of unauthorized access. To ensure secure access to a company’s network, a user may need to go through multi-factor authentication that involves receiving a verification code on their mobile phone. For instance, if a user logs in to their company’s network from a home computer at an unusual hour, MFA could be necessary to confirm their identity and prevent unauthorized access.

Another critical element of Zero Trust is the principle of least privilege, which ensures that only the minimum set of credentials is required to perform a specific task. By implementing this approach, we can effectively minimize the impact of a breach and prevent cyber criminals from spreading their attacks throughout the entire network. For example, service accounts should be limited to the minimum privileges necessary and not exposed to other applications.

Implement Microsegmentation

Zero trust networks use micro-segmentation to logically separate network data, applications, assets, and services so you can apply security policies tailored to the sensitivity of each. The result is a reduced attack surface, improved visibility, and simplified management.

Instead of allowing direct access to all servers, apps, and databases, zero Trust enables only secure gateways to connect to them. It prevents the movement of unauthorized lateral traffic between different parts of the network and limits damage in the event of a breach.

This approach also allows for the granular definition of security rules that limit access to specific devices, users, and processes. It can be accomplished by deploying a micro-perimeter that enables authentication based on user identity, device, location, time stamp, and activity to help prevent threats from spreading across your enterprise. Minimizing the impact of a breach and enabling faster violation detection and remediation. It is known as continuous verification. It is a crucial component of a zero-trust model and provides a foundation for the rest of your security infrastructure.

Perform Continuous Verification

Zero Trust requires continuous verification of connections and devices on a granular level. Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) is crucial to ensure users’ safety. MFA incorporates security checks similar to popular social media platforms and email services like Google and Facebook. Designed to require a combination of a password and a code sent to the user’s mobile phone or another device. Thus providing an extra layer of security.

Ensures that no attacker, whether a vendor or a worker, can access internal systems and steal data. It also restricts the lateral movement that allows hackers to gain network control and spread to other parts of it.

A zero-trust architecture also limits privilege escalation by requiring strict policies and stricter permissions for all accounts. Including service accounts that perform routine functions. It prevents overly-permission tools like the ones in the 2021. The software supply chain attack Sunburst from enabling lateral movement within a network. The principle of least privilege extends to devices, too, with device enrollment processes. A stricter use of just-in-time privileged access that only grants a limited set of tools for the exact time they’re needed.