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Dec 13, 2023

5 Principles of Deploying Zero Trust in the Cloud


Zero trust network access (ZTNA) is arguably one of the most effective ways to protect cloud environments from external attack. Its effectiveness is rooted in its functional simplicity. Unfortunately, ZTNA is not easy to implement. Perhaps this is why so many organizations fail to do so.

Hillstone Networks believes in the power and principle of zero trust. We believe it should be deployed in each and every cloud environment regardless of function or purpose. To do it properly however, security teams need to prioritize what we refer to as the five principles of deploying zero trust in the cloud. Here they are:

1. Identity and Access Management

Also known as IAM, identity and access management is the foundation on which zero trust rests. It begins with implementing a single, centralized platform for managing all user identities and access permissions. Keeping things in a centralized platform eliminates the possibility of multiple players making independent decisions that could compromise the entire zero trust ecosystem.

IAM relies on multi-factor authentication to enforce access and credentials. Multi-factor authentication is further enhanced through the implementation of granular access rules that determine who gets access, when that access is granted, and the data involved with each access incident.

2. Least Privilege Access

The least privilege access (LPA) principle dictates that cloud users are granted the lowest possible privileges to access the data and resources they need. If a user needs access to a single database and nothing more, that is all their privilege will allow. Building a zero-trust system based on LPA can be time consuming and complicated, especially in larger cloud environments, but it is worth it. In addition, LPA is further enhanced with micro-segmentation and role-based access controls.

3. Cloud Security Posture Management

The third principle of zero trust in the cloud is utilizing cloud security posture management (CSPM) tools capable of identifying system misconfigurations and providing remedial solutions. CSPM works best when it is automated. Automated tools can continually scan for vulnerabilities and patch them when found.

4. The Cloud Workload Protection Platform

In addition to implementing CSPM tools, zero trust in the cloud works best when implemented through a secure cloud workload protection platform (CWPP). A well designed CWPP, like Hillstone Networks’ CloudArmour, defends workloads against a variety of threats, including malware and zero-day attacks.

Combining a CWPP with endpoint detection and response (EDR) introduces additional layers of cloud security. Finally, tying everything together with data loss prevention (DLP) strategies can protect sensitive data across the cloud.

5. Monitoring and Logging

As with everything else in the cybersecurity realm, continuous monitoring and logging is a key component of zero trust in the cloud. We monitor for the purpose of keeping an eye on cloud infrastructure and applications in the same way physical security personnel monitor video feeds. The idea is to identify threats in the earliest possible stages.

Logging creates a record through data collection and analysis. The record becomes an invaluable tool for threat investigation. Hillstone Networks recommends implementing SIEM solutions to make monitoring and logging as effective as possible.

Implementing ZTNA across expansive cloud environments is never an easy task. There will always be bumps in the road as well as stakeholders who are not necessarily on board. But given how effective zero trust is, addressing the hurdles that come with implementation is well worth the time and effort.

Hillstone Networks can help your organization design and deploy a proven ZTNA solution. We offer additional tools and solutions capable of hardening your cloud against the many threats and threat actors looking to take it down.