It’s been over a decade since analyst firm Forrester first developed the concept of a “Zero Trust” approach to security. However, momentum has never been stronger than right now. Nearly all (91%) UK IT leaders Illumio surveyed recently said Zero Trust was “extremely” or “very” important to their security model. And in May, President Biden mandated the approach as part of an overhaul of cybersecurity across the entire federal government.
Yet getting to a position of operational readiness is far from a simple undertaking. This is where a new report from Forrester, A Practical Guide to a Zero Trust Implementation, could be of use. It offers some excellent practical tips on how to get started on the road to “Zero Trust eXtended (ZTX)” ecosystem — Forrester’s conceptual and architectural framework for Zero Trust.
As a leader in the analyst’s latest Forrester Wave report for ZTX providers, Illumio has plenty of capabilities to help you on this journey.
Getting Started On Your Zero Trust Roadmap
Once you have identified and recruited both the IT and business stakeholders needed to develop a ZTX roadmap, it’s time to start creating that plan. Forrester points to three key tasks:
Baseline current maturity and capabilities: This should provide clarity on how much time and resources are needed to achieve ZTX maturity and where.
Identify other business initiatives: Disruptive IT projects such as cloud migrations could be a good “vehicle” for introducing various Zero Trust tenets and accelerating deployment, Forrester says. Stakeholders from these other projects can be recruited and roadmaps integrated. However, care must also be taken to properly map and clearly communicate project dependencies.
Set your goals: Following a comprehensive maturity assessment, organizations should set their “desired future state maturity” and the time frame they want to achieve this in. Forrester claims the typical ZTX roadmap should take around two to three years to implement.
Breaking It Down: Key Roadmap Considerations
The report identifies roadmap considerations in five key areas: people, workloads, devices, networks and data.
People: This is described as the least mature area of ZTX and where the quickest wins could be achieved. Think: investments in identity and access management (IAM) technologies such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO), coupled with deployment of least privilege policies. Passwords should be retired in favor of MFA and biometric systems.
Workloads: The importance of cloud computing to modern enterprises makes workload security a vital component of ZTX. Organizations will need a robust and repeatable cloud governance process. Support this with cloud-native security and management and enhanced visibility into workload inventory and configurations.
Devices: Approaches must cover not only traditional laptops and mobile devices but also IoT and operational technology (OT) endpoints. Organizations need segmentation to isolate specific types of devices and to harden IoT devices such as via patching. Endpoint health checks will help to minimize the risk from BYOD.
Networks: Redraw network boundaries to protect resources, not networks. That means segmenting around applications and their associated hosts, peers and services. Policy will decide which group can access another. Modern next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) should be leveraged to augment cloud security controls.
Data: Organizations must understand what data they own and where it’s located. Next, they must classify that data and then answer specific questions around who is using it and why, how it’s collected and what the consequences are if it’s compromised. Information collected from security tooling can help to answer questions around threats to that data. Controls such as encryption should then be applied to ensure data security and privacy.
How Illumio Can Help
Illumio lights a path to Zero Trust by offering powerful segmentation with a focus on visibility, workloads and networks.
It all begins with visibility: we take data from multiple sources to provide intelligent insight into workload communications between applications, clouds, containers, data centers and endpoints. From this, we automatically generate policy for common Zero Trust segmentation scenarios, as well as making it easy for your in-house teams to create their own policies. Finally, we leverage existing IT infrastructure to automatically enforce these policies everywhere: to public clouds, containers, data centers and endpoints.
All of this happens without requiring any network changes. And built-in intelligence continuously and automatically recalculates policy as environments change.
Here’s a recap of Illumio’s value-add in the workload and network pillars of ZTX:
- Default-deny segmentation — for maximum security out-of-the-box
- Informed, granular policy design and testing — for more effective segmentation
- Infrastructure-agnostic enforcement — for maximum ROI
- Violation alerts — for improved monitoring and response
- Granular policy control at massive scale — to meet the requirements of any size of organization
- Process-level enforcement — to support effective segmentation
- Security follows the workload, anywhere — to optimize cyber risk management in dynamic environments
- Simplified deployment — to maximize ROI and reduce the burden on security teams
As a cornerstone of ZTX, Zero Trust segmentation works to block lateral movement, containing threats and protecting critical assets. Illumio does it smarter, at scale, and with a streamlined user experience for your IT team. That’s a powerful way to accelerate Zero Trust.