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The Zero Trust Security Framework By NIST

Since many are not familiar with the Zero trust security, the NIST provides a simple framework guide. It consists of simple concepts on how to adopt Zero trust security.

What Is Zero Trust Security Framework By NIST?

Zero Trust Security is a concept that has been around since 2010. NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, published a framework.

It explains how businesses can adopt Zero trust security.

The framework consists of five steps to achieve the goal of zero-trust security.

The five steps are:

  1. Identify assets
  2. Define trust levels
  3. Implement authentication and authorization
  4. Encrypt data in transit
  5. Monitor access and enforce security policies

NIST provides a simple framework guide that explains how businesses can adopt Zero trust security. We will discuss each step in detail.

Identify Assets

The first step is to identify the assets in your organization. Identifying the assets will determine if your network if it is secure or not.

When you are identifying your assets, you should note down the following:

Assets

Which assets are important to your organization? Assets can be computers, databases, networks, processes, and people.

  • Asset value – How much is each asset worth? Identifying the asset value will help in determining risk. 
  • Asset use – How is each asset is use? 
  • Users – Who uses each asset? If an asset is not use, so then it will be safe to remove it from your infrastructure.
  • The owner (s) – Who owns each asset? Knowing the owner of an asset will help you know who to report a security breach or incident.
  • Asset custodian(s) – Who cares for the asset after it’s been purchased? Knowing who is responsible for caring for an asset will help you determine what processes and controls you need in place.

Define Trust Levels

Step 2 of the Zero Trust security framework by NIST involves defining trust levels. For each identified asset in your organization. Based on how an asset is used, define if the level of trust is low, medium, or high.

This is where you will determine if your network can be considered secure or not.

Implement Authentication and Authorization

Step 3 of the Zero Trust security framework is about implementing authentication and authorization. This step includes how to define users, roles, and permissions.

The following are some of the key points to keep in mind when implementing authentication and authorization:

Encrypt Data in Transit

Step 4 of the Zero Trust security framework is about encrypting data in transit. The reason why it’s important to encrypt data in transit is that the data can be intercepted by anyone during transmission. Knowing that data can be intercepted by anyone makes you realize that you are not safe and your data is at risk.

To address this problem, you need to implement encryption techniques that will convert plaintext into ciphertext preventing anyone from reading your sensitive data. There are four popular encryption techniques:

Monitoring Access and Enforcing Security Policies

Step 5 of the Zero Trust security framework is about monitoring access and enforcing security policies. Once an organization has implemented authentication, authorization, and encryption, it’s important to monitor access and enforce security policies.

Monitoring access means you have to know who accessed your network or an asset in your network. Monitoring access will help you determine if someone is trying to gain unauthorized access. Or if someone has already gained unauthorized access.

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