THE TIBERIUM BLOG - recent events, threats, and all things cyber

Less Than Zero Trust

In this blog we talk about the concept of ‘Zero Trust’, what it is, why it is important and what it means for you. 

Ours is an industry of buzzwords, hype, trend and quite often smoke and mirrors. Technologies come, usually in the form of some niche, initially expensive functionality. They enter the mainstream as the big boys acquire or replicate the technology becoming commoditised and then are taken for granted or quietly wilt and die in the technology graveyards (like Symantec).  

Examples include Firewalling (Checkpoint used to be very, very expensive. Oh, it still is.), SIEM (so did Arcsight, in fact still is), Two Factor Authentication tokens (RSA made a pretty penny), the list is endless. 

The new kid on the catwalk is ’Zero Trust’.  

Zero Trust is driven by the concept that the external business perimeter is pretty much redundant as businesses move applications and data to the cloud where they are accessed from anywhere by multiple devices, the business supplied and others, at all times of the day and night. 

This has been the direction of travel for some time but has been massively accelerated by the Covid-19 Pandemic which has seen working from home, or at least not in the office, as the new normal. 

Zero trust philosophy has been developing for some time, probably first mentioned by the Jericho Foundation as early as 2004 and has been developing rapidly since. 

In the NIST Zero Trust Architecture draft of 2019, ZeroTrust is defined as: 

Zero Trust Architecture is an end-to-end approach to network/data security that encompasses identity, credentials, access management, operations, endpoints, hosting environments, and the interconnecting infrastructure. Zero Trust is an architectural approach that is focused on data protection. 

NIST Zero Trust Architecture draft, 2019

This concept has recently merged with the idea of borderless environments, supported by so-called SASE (pronounced sassy) technologies, which funnily enough were the subject of Tiberium’s first blog way back in September 2020 (seems longer).  

It is generally agreed that the primary principles of Zero Trust Architecture are: 

  • The network is always assumed to be hostile.
  • External and internal threats exist on the network at all times.
  • Network locality is not sufficient for deciding trust in a network.
  • Every device, user and network flow is authenticated and authorised.
  • Policies must be dynamic and calculated from as many sources as possible. 

These principles were outlined in Evan Gilman and Doug Barth’s excellent book Zero Trust Networks (July 2017). If you want to dig deep on this subject that is the reference for you!  

You will never (or rarely) hear any vendors credit this book, but the principles above, along with other ideas from it are pretty much run out verbatim by all of them, now on rinse and repeat. 

Zero Trust Principles

There has been a flurry of vendor announcements on Zero Trust recently, supported by a new buzzword for remote and cloud working – ‘The Hybrid Model’. As we mentioned last week in our Inspire review, Microsoft is attempting to coin a whole new world ‘Phygital’, a merger of physical and digital. This is not a joke. 

This week Cisco Systems announced that they would support a Hybrid working model requiring little or no office attendance from most staff, as has Microsoft which has been blogging and documenting furiously on the subject.  

And so has pretty much every other technology company out there, in some cases rebranding old software and products as shiny new ‘hybrid/SASE/Zero Trust’ tech. You know who you are. 

What is certain is that we are moving to a security world that is predicated on Identity and as we move and adopt the new technologies, which are of course designed to keep us more secure, we need to change the way we think about security management

At Tiberium, we believe that managing the security of this new paradigm can only be achieved using a cloud-native, highly automated platform with unlimited scaling potential and have built our systems exactly this way.  

Our FROST and MYTHIC services are built upon Microsoft’s Cloud-native Azure Sentinel platform, supported by automated deployment and response, tightly integrated with Teams workflow tooling and, we believe (well we would), are perfectly positioned to support both the forthcoming changes as well as the incredible pace of change. 

Frost and Mythic

But don’t take our word for it. Contact us here and arrange an introductory chat or click the button below for a demo. We are happy to actually meet face to face as long as the regulations allow! 

Now, about the song.  

Less Than Zero is a song from Elvis Costello’s fantastic first album ‘My Aim Is True’ which was released in 1977, seems like yesterday. Still worth a listen. 

In the words of the song, “Let’s talk about the future now, we’ve put the past away”. Contact us

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