10 Best Practices for a Zero Trust Data Center

As cyberattacks grow more and more sophisticated, organizations need to take an innovative approach to network security that is not only simple and promising, but also proven and sustainable. Zero Trust is the key.

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Today, there is no such thing as an enterprise network perimeter — the location of applications, users, and their devices are no longer static; BYOD is common; and data is everywhere. With ever-evolving cybersecurity threats and no fixed perimeter, traditional security strategies fail to protect highly distributed networks, users, and applications. Organizations need an innovative approach that is not only simple and promising, but also proven and sustainable. That is why Zero Trust is getting so much attention.

What is Zero Trust and why do we need it?

Zero Trust is an enterprise security framework based on the principle “never trust; always verify.” In other words, this approach does not trust any user, application, or device unless explicitly allowed by a security policy. By adopting the concepts and architectural components of Zero Trust, organizations can improve visibility and better secure their hybrid environments while meeting compliance requirements and reducing costs over time.

How to get started with Zero Trust data center

Zero Trust principles are becoming a critical part of overall corporate strategy as organizations pursue extensive digital transformation efforts. Understanding these Zero Trust principles and how to implement them is crucial to protecting business data and users in the digital era.

Are you looking to transition to Zero Trust datacenter? If your answer is yes, then follow these best practices to embed Zero Trust Networking sustainably and efficiently into your organization.

  1. Visibility is critical

You cannot protect what you cannot see; you need a complete view of the critical systems you want to protect, and an understanding of how the elements in your ecosystem interact with those systems — users, devices, and applications — across environments, like on-premise, remote, and in the cloud. Once you have the necessary visibility and understanding of your network environments, turn your attention to technologies and policies that can protect your business.

  1. Segmentation at multiple points
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With Zero Trust, segmentation is more granular than in traditional data centers. From users and devices to between apps and workloads, micro-segmentation creates many perimeters in your data center and for your cloud workloads, preventing unwanted access and gaps in defense.

  1. Identity for users, devices, and workloads

When we think of identity, we think of users by default, but it is also for devices and workloads. Organizations must verify every identity and secure them with strong authentication practices — including multi-factor authentication, adaptive and conditional access, and role-based access controls — to validate the identity across the entire hybrid network. Importantly, that validation must be evergreen; you cannot just make a point-in-time decision and move on.

  1. Seamless policies not restricted by location

Creating and implementing policies is one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks when it comes to Zero Trust Data Center, especially because the users, apps, and workloads are always moving. Organizations must ensure security policies follow users and applications wherever they go in order to limit potential attack vectors.

  1. Automate wherever possible

Make automation your superpower! Automation makes it easy to implement, manage, and audit security policies across yourorganization, leaving less room for human errors and increasing effectiveness among teams. It can ensure that changes made in one part of the data center are applied everywhere consistently and can respond to attacks before they become incidents.

  1. Centralized security management

Unified visibility, policy management, and control are cornerstones for implementing a Zero Trust Data Center. Security professionals should prefer platforms that offer truly unified management experience over a portfolio approach, where each environment has a different user interface. Another benefit is the ability to harmonize security analytics more easily, enabling you to uncover sophisticated attacks without the need for complex system integrations.

  1. Effective security

Business success depends on an active network with connected and protected resources. If your security tech is not catching known threats, it is not worth your investment. Conversely, the cost of effective security cannot result in network failures or disruptions of application availability. Do your research and make sure you choose solutions that are reliable, support lightning-fast failover, and provide the performance your business needs.

  1. Continuous monitoring and response

Extend security beyond traditional standards by leveraging your routers and switches to detect threats and provide security policy enforcement to protect your data environments. Leverage threat intelligence to make sense of what you see and to stay up to date with the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) of potential attackers.    

  1. Understand the intent of network traffic

Get deeper insight into your network traffic. Ask yourself "where is it going?” and “what is it doing?” Network analytics is an important capstone to Zero Trust adoption, so learn as much as you can about all network traffic, including encrypted traffic. But how? Start by observing specific traffic indicators and behaviors.

  1. Keep making progress

Don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out. You are interested in Zero Trust, and that is a great start. Next, choose an element to implement. There isn’t one right place to begin — pick whatever is most valuable to your business or the area where you have the most mature capability to build upon. Eventually, you will achieve a Zero Trust data center. One step at a time is better than standing still.

Given today’s threat landscape and modern computing environment, it’s time for companies and organizations of all sizes to make Zero Trust a core tenet of their information security strategy.

Learn about Juniper’s Zero Trust Datacenter solutions here.

 

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