Don’t Trust Anyone. (And Yes, That’s A Good Thing.)

15 Trends That Prove Zero Trust is the Future of Network Security

by Erin Geiger, Director of Content at Lumos

When you hear “trust no one,” you’d be forgiven for immediately picturing a certain government agent on an old TV show (who looks a lot like David Duchovny) – or that paranoid cousin of yours with the tinfoil hat that your family doesn’t like to talk about. But when it comes to your network security, it’s not paranoia, it’s a fact of life. Why?

The network security model based on the concept of a secure perimeter is no longer sufficient in today's digital landscape.

With the rise of remote work, cloud computing, and increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, organizations are shifting towards a Zero Trust model. Whether or not you’re asking “what is Zero Trust?,” here’s a quick refresh: this approach assumes that no one, whether inside or outside the network, can be trusted by default. Whether or not you’ve already begun implementing this more robust and adaptive security framework, Zero Trust is a movement that’s well on its way to becoming a standard. So, we’re going to take a look at the latest trends in Zero Trust security, highlighting how they are shaping the future of cybersecurity. Which trends are already influencing your organization? Are you at the leading edge, or playing catch-up? Let’s get into it.

TREND NUMBER ONE: Zero Trust as a Strategic Imperative

The Zero Trust framework is no longer an optional security model; it's now viewed as a strategic imperative – which means even the C-Suite is part of the conversation. As organizations recognize the limitations of perimeter-based security, they are embracing the Zero Trust mindset. Internally and externally, all access and trust must be continuously verified, and security policies are applied on a per-user, per-device, and per-application basis.

TREND NUMBER TWO: Identity-Centric Security

Identity is at the core of Zero Trust principles. It's not just about verifying who is accessing the network but also ensuring that they have the appropriate permissions and privileges. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has become the standard, and organizations are investing in identity and access management (IAM) solutions to enforce strong authentication and authorization policies.

TREND NUMBER THREE: Continuous Authentication and Authorization

Traditional security models often rely on a one-time login process, assuming that once inside the network, the user remains trustworthy. Zero Trust access flips this approach by advocating for continuous authentication and authorization. This means that users' identities are reverified regularly during their sessions, and access privileges are dynamically adjusted based on changing circumstances, such as device health and user behavior.

TREND NUMBER FOUR: Micro-Segmentation

Micro-segmentation involves dividing the network into smaller, isolated segments or zones. Each segment has its own security policies and access controls. This approach minimizes lateral movement within the network, making it significantly harder for attackers to move laterally if they breach one part of the network. As a trend, organizations are increasingly adopting micro-segmentation to enhance their network security posture.

TREND NUMBER FIVE: Device Trustworthiness Assessment

In a Zero Trust environment, the trustworthiness of devices is a critical factor. Organizations are implementing device trust assessments to ensure that only healthy and secure devices can access sensitive resources. This involves checking for updated operating systems, security patches, and the presence of security software like antivirus and endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools.

TREND NUMBER SIX: Enhanced Endpoint Security

Endpoints are often the first point of contact for attackers. Zero Trust security trends involve bolstering endpoint security with advanced solutions like endpoint detection and response (EDR), threat hunting, and zero-day vulnerability protection. These technologies enable organizations to proactively identify and respond to threats on endpoints.

TREND NUMBER SEVEN: Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

The adoption of cloud services and remote work has led to the rise of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). SASE combines network security and wide-area networking (WAN) capabilities into a single cloud-based service. This trend aligns with the Zero Trust model by providing secure, direct access to applications and data regardless of the user's location.

TREND NUMBER EIGHT: Cloud-Native Zero Trust Architectures

As organizations migrate to the cloud, they are reimagining their security architectures with a cloud-native Zero Trust approach. This involves leveraging cloud-based security solutions and integrating them with cloud-native identity and access management systems. Cloud-native Zero Trust architectures are more agile and scalable, making them well-suited for modern, distributed environments.

TREND NUMBER NINE: Threat Intelligence and Analytics

Zero Trust doesn't rely solely on predefined rules and policies. It also incorporates threat intelligence and analytics to detect anomalous behavior and emerging threats. Organizations are investing in threat intelligence feeds and advanced analytics tools to better understand their threat landscape and respond proactively.

TREND NUMBER TEN: Human-Centric Security Awareness

No matter what policies and procedures you have in place, the human element is always the least predictable because, well, people are going to “people.” So while technology plays a crucial role in Zero Trust, organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of that human element. Security awareness training is evolving to become more human-centric, focusing on educating users about the principles of Zero Trust and their role in maintaining a secure environment.

TREND NUMBER ELEVEN: DevSecOps Integration

You know how sometimes you feel like your organization’s right hand doesn't know what the left is doing? We get it. As security becomes an integral part of the software development process, development, security, and operations (DevSecOps) practices must embed security into every development lifecycle stage, from design to deployment. This trend aligns with Zero Trust principles by ensuring that security is a priority at all levels of the organization.

TREND NUMBER TWELVE: Zero Trust for IoT and OT

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Operational Technology (OT) environments introduce new challenges in terms of security. Organizations are extending the principles of the Zero Trust model to these domains, implementing robust access controls, continuous monitoring, and device trust assessments for IoT and OT devices.

TREND NUMBER THIRTEEN: Incident Response Automation

The faster you know about an event, the faster you can react and remediate. In a Zero Trust environment, rapid incident response is crucial. Organizations are automating incident response processes to reduce dwell time and minimize the impact of security incidents. Automated playbooks and orchestration tools can help security teams respond quickly and effectively to security events.

TREND NUMBER FOURTEEN: Integration with Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR)

SOAR platforms are becoming integral to Zero Trust security operations. These platforms streamline incident response by automating repetitive tasks, orchestrating security processes, and providing actionable insights. Integrating Zero Trust principles and SOAR enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of security teams.

TREND NUMBER FIFTEEN: Third-Party Risk Management

Vendor and solution sprawl has led to unexpected security gaps and high operating costs for many organizations. Zero Trust extends beyond an organization's own network and includes trust verification for third-party vendors and partners. So, more organizations are adopting risk assessment frameworks and automated tools to evaluate the security posture of their third-party relationships and ensure they align with Zero Trust principles.

The short version? Zero Trust is here to stay, and rapidly evolving to meet the challenges of today's dynamic and interconnected digital landscape.

As organizations like yours recognize the limitations of traditional perimeter-based security, they are embracing Zero Trust principles, focusing on identity-centric security, continuous authentication, and enhanced endpoint protection. Trends like micro-segmentation, cloud-native architectures, and threat intelligence integration are reshaping the way we approach cybersecurity, emphasizing the importance of continuous monitoring and adaptive access controls. Even though full Zero Trust implementation has been slow (in 2023, only 28% of IT professionals polled by Fortinet reported having a complete zero trust solution in place*), the future of cybersecurity lies in the Zero Trust framework, as it provides a proactive and holistic approach to securing sensitive data and resources in an ever-changing threat landscape.

What are your thoughts? Talk to Lumos about Zero Trust – and your journey to truly trust no one.