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Embracing Zero Trust: A Blueprint for Secure Digital Transformation

Embracing Zero Trust: A Blueprint for Secure Digital Transformation

Blog Article Published: 03/08/2024

Written by the CSA Zero Trust Working Group.

Zero Trust security has transitioned from a buzzword to a critical framework essential for safeguarding an organization’s assets. Recently released by CSA, Defining the Zero Trust Protect Surface offers a guide for organizations embarking on the first step of their Zero Trust journey. This blog delves into the foundational strategies outlined in the document, specifically providing actionable insights for implementing Zero Trust principles effectively.

Understanding the Zero Trust Protect Surface

In terms of Zero Trust, the Protect Surface encompassess the critical areas of an organization’s technology environment that need protection from potential threats. These include Data, Applications, Assets, and Services (DAAS), which make up the sensitive resources requiring protection. Including payment card information, intellectual property, CRM applications, IoT devices, essential DNS services, and more, identifying and securing these DAAS elements is the first step.

Navigating the Zero Trust Implementation Process

The paper outlines a five-step process for Zero Trust implementation drawing on the NSTAC Report to the (US) President on Zero Trust and Trusted Identity Management. This process is iterative and designed to be executed repeatedly, enhancing your security posture over time:

  1. Define your Protect Surface: Analyze the organization’s DAAS elements to determine what needs to be protected.
  2. Map the transaction flows: Understand how data and resources flow within and outside the organization to identify vulnerabilities and controls.
  3. Build a Zero Trust architecture: Design a Zero Trust architecture focused on minimizing risks and exposure.
  4. Create a Zero Trust policy: Develop policies and controls integral to the Zero Trust model.
  5. Monitor and maintain the network: Monitor and improve as organizational needs evolve.

Practical Examples and Prioritization

The document provides an illustrative example of Protect Surfaces for a fictitious financial services organization, demonstrating how DAAS elements can be organized into business information systems and the importance of prioritizing Zero Trust implementation based on risk, criticality, and the organization’s current level of security maturity.

A Word of Caution

During the discovery phase, organizations may encounter DAAS elements with unclear purposes or alignment with organizational goals. In these cases, caution is advised against the hasty removal of these elements as they may play an important role to business operations. Instead, proceed with a thorough evaluation during the Zero Trust implementation steps to fully understand their roles and impacts.

To learn more about executing the first step of the Zero Trust implementation process, read the full Defining the Zero Trust Protect Surface publication.

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