How Cloud Security and Zero Trust Work Together


Cloud computing is a business marvel for the 21st century. The improved scalability it offers for businesses has allowed them to expand beyond the confines of hardware and storage. It’s not just easier to manage, it is also a great boost in security. Cloud storage, backup, and hosting keep businesses running through hardware and connectivity failures.

As of 2022, 94% of American businesses use cloud services. Most of these businesses rely on cloud-based services for their operations. It makes sense, therefore, for cloud security to be a fundamental concern for businesses. That’s where the Zero Trust model comes in.

Zero Trust and Cloud Security

The Zero Trust model eliminates any concept of trust regarding network security. Traditional security models have long operated on the notion that bad actors always attack from outside the network. This means any actor operating from within the network is assumed to be trustworthy. This opens up any business to significant risks.

Zero Trust counters such risks by assuming every actor is suspicious until proven otherwise. This model ensures that only known and legitimate traffic is allowed onto the network. All traffic coming onto the network is strictly monitored to ensure only authorized logins occur.  A policy of least privilege exercises strict access control to limit security risks.

Cloud security with Zero Trust works in much the same way. The implementation of cloud security seeks to counter vulnerabilities to the network before they occur. These include:
  • Security of the infrastructure
  • Consistent vulnerability management in a no-trust model
  • Vigilant network activity monitoring to identify potential threats
  • Focusing security protocols on the external and internal network for workload security
Any applications, services, or work that move across cloud environments require security. Zero Trust in cloud security aims to provide safe access to verifiable users across the cloud. The model's limits of access and controls take care of the greatest vulnerability on cloud networks- the loss of insight into who is using the data and how.

Implementing Zero Trust Cloud Security

Network controls that exist on an enterprise network don’t operate the same way on the cloud. Enterprise networks are often easier in terms of establishing boundaries and access controls. Those same kinds of controls cannot be found on cloud networks hosted by providers. Businesses need Zero Trust cloud security to address:
  • The spread of data and applications across multiple locations
  • Who is accessing the data, from where, and how
  • How the data is being used and shared
Businesses can implement Zero Trust by:

Identifying what needs to be protected

This includes knowing what types of applications and data your company is using. You should identify where, how and by whom they are being used and for what purpose. You must also decide what requires security- including all the data and services most crucial to business operation at the top of the list. Business data contains crucial personal and private information that can have dire consequences if not secured properly.

Understanding your applications

You should identify network paths and know how your applications work. This should help you identify where boundaries need to be set. It is also essential to know the kind of security protocols it will require.

Developing Zero Trust policies and infrastructure

Your policies should be based on a least-privilege principle where control and access are restricted. The security infrastructure you develop should reflect these policies and the demands of the network. Moreover, your security policies should not be a secret. Regular trusted users who will be accessing the network should know what is required of them every time they attempt to gain access.

Staying involved

No good security system is a one-time deal, and neither is Zero Trust. Establishing a security system once does not mean it should be left alone to do its job. Monitor recorded traffic for suspicious activity regularly. Based on past performance, you can also work out if improvement is needed or if even better policies can be implemented. Active monitoring keeps you in touch with your cloud security and lets you make adaptive changes.

SASE in Zero Trust Cloud Security

One of the most effective practical implementations of cloud security based on Zero Trust principles is with Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). SASE is a security model that offers integrated solutions that cover users, data, and traffic. With SASE solutions, businesses can achieve:
  • Rapid user authentication
  • Consistent, real-time content inspection
  • Cloud access security broker (CASB) to monitor activity and enforce security policies
  • Firewall as a service (FWaaS), as a next-gen firewall with URL filtering. threat prevention and DNS security capabilities.
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) for complete data visibility
As a comprehensive security system, SASE, with Zero Trust, can help implement Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) principles. Secure remote access to your data and resources based on clearly defined access policies becomes much simpler with SASE Zero Trust. Research shows SASE implementation increased during the lockdown, with many more predicted to adopt the system.

Cloud security through this system comes from a single, unified solution. In addition to offering greater security, it streamlines your network management. It is based on a single system where you can execute data protection, secure network perimeter, and shield visibility. For a business, this is a significant reduction in cost for setting up separate security systems. Instead, you get a holistic picture of your entire network in one go.

Final thoughts

As business infrastructure moves to the cloud, the issue of cloud security becomes more relevant. It is no longer sufficient to filter outside malicious attacks based on a trust principle for internal users. The Zero Trust system counters this approach, treating every user as a potential threat until their identity and access privilege have been identified.

Combined with SASE, businesses enjoy better cloud-based security through a single system. As it combines ZTNA principles, it offers an integrated cloud security solution. SASE is the bridge between cloud security and Zero Trust, resulting in a secure system.

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