What is Zero Trust, and how does it apply to PAM systems?

Zero Trust – it’s all about resource access

What Does Zero Trust Mean?

Zero Trust is a new approach to cybersecurity models. According to its guidelines, defense must be focused on resource protection, with the assumption that access to those resources is continually evaluated.

This is a 180-degree turn from the popular network-based perimeter protection models. So far, security has been focused on defending internal network segments and locations using firewalls. This approach provides great protection against attacks from the internet but is less effective at preventing insider threats and has no possibility of protecting users outside the company. The goal of Zero Trust is to grant access to assets as precisely as possible, so employees have permission to use specific applications, accounts, or equipment only when needed and for a specific reason.

Zero Trust Principles

According to NIST SP 800-207, “Zero Trust Architecture,” there are the following basic rules for the Zero Trust approach:

  • All data sources and computing services are considered resources.
  • All communication is secured regardless of network location.
  • Access to individual enterprise resources is granted on a per-session basis.
  • Access to resources is determined by dynamic policy.
  • The enterprise monitors and measures the integrity and security posture of all owned and associated assets.
  • All resource authentication and authorization are dynamic and strictly enforced before access is allowed.
  • The enterprise collects as much information as possible about the current state of assets, network infrastructure, and communications and uses it to improve its security posture.

So you are now wondering how to quickly adopt the basic principles of Zero Trust into your security architecture? This is where PAM comes in handy.

So What Is PAM?

Privileged access management (PAM) is the technology used to secure, control, and monitor remote access to an organization’s assets. It focuses on privileged users because their accounts usually have the highest level of access, which in the wrong hands can pose a significant threat to business-critical data.

Implementing a PAM system helps organizations effectively monitor and audit all users’ activities and prevent unintentional and unnecessary data access. This is one of the best ways to implement the Zero Trust approach and thus protect assets against external and internal threats according to its main rules.

How PAM Helps To Implement Zero Trust

The main assumption of previous cybersecurity models was to trust users based solely on their physical or network location or based on asset ownership. Just after base level authentication, users were obtaining almost full access to an internal network. This scenario increases the risk of compromise and poses a major threat to company assets. 

To prevent unauthorized actions, PAM systems implement features based on granting access to specifically defined resources only on request and at a specific time. Users must place a request and, through acceptance, acquire access to the company’s assets “Just In Time.” It gives administrators full control over all remote sessions.

The next PAM feature that is in accordance with the Zero Trust approach is a session management tool. It helps to audit users’ activities and prevent unintentional and unnecessary data access. It allows the administrator to closely monitor all privileged users with an effortless set of tools.

This approach is mainly aimed at insider threats, which are becoming more and more common. A malicious insider is usually a current or former employee or business associate with privileged access to a company’s sensitive data or critical infrastructure. This is a difficult opponent to handle because he has authorized access and intentionally misuses his privileges to steal information. Thanks to PAM features, all authorized users’ activity is constantly monitored and recorded, so malicious actions can be easily tracked and blocked.

Fudo One – A Zero Trust Solution Tailored to Your Needs

Now… If you are looking for a PAM solution that will help you follow Zero Trust principles in your organization, we have a product tailored directly to your needs. Fudo One is a free and easy-to-implement solution that follows a zero-standing privileges philosophy. It provides the Just-n-Time feature that enables you to create access workflows that adhere to the Zero-Trust approach. Through the request management section, you can easily define and schedule when a specific resource is available to a certain user and control it accordingly. Fudo One is also equipped with Session Management features that will help you monitor and record users’ activities and also perform a variety of actions on both recorded and live remote access sessions. To learn more, please check out the Fudo One website, where you can find PAM solutions tailored directly to your needs.