Is zero trust approach best to fight IoT security risk

By Srikanth 7 Min Read
7 Min Read

Zero Trust as the name indicates, never trusts readily anything in the vicinity of the network, either inside or outside. Rather, it protects sensitive data or resources by systematic verification or authentication. It was first formulated in 2009 at Forrester Research by John Kindervag. Zero Trust is also popularly referred to as Zero Trust Approach, Zero Trust Architecture and Zero Trust Network Access. In this article, we will find how this approach provides security, visibility, monitoring and management of every network, app, device and user. To put it simply, security to all the IoT.

How important is it?

The Zero Trust Approach is a phenomenal way to decrease the loss of data and stop the accidents taking place with the data breach. To learn why there has been a significant rise in cybersecurity, one should understand the problems with the security models of all the IoT by the traditional perimeter approach. 


The problem

A connection of a single source to a network will automatically result in connecting all the resources available in the local area of the same network. The security issues were previously addressed by installing Firewalls around their networks that can help to assume, everyone within that access is trustworthy and defended outside access. But, it has two immediate problems like

  • A bad actor accessing the network can cause data breaches by accessing every sensitive data and installing malware to it. 
  • And the other case is if an employee is not working physically from the network area, there is no access. 

The second issue can be addressed by a VPN (Virtual Private Network) helping the employees to work from wherever they are as if they work from a physical location. But the problem is always with the basic networking that might entertain bad actors and any device interventions. Like, the work from home options recently has taken place all over due to the pandemic situation. So almost every employee has got to connect from a single device of their own that could gain access to every other connection across. So, Basically what has to be on the premise security has largely moved to an off-premise. So what kind of securities can control such widespread connectivity and from which corner? The answer is to stop trusting until proved otherwise. 

The Approach

The Zero Trust Approach obeys Access Control Principle (ACP) to the least privilege. This means the user is verified at every stage in real-time whenever requested a resource for usage or development or simply connectivity. It always depends on a two-factor or multi-factor authentication by requesting a device code or sending temporary codes to emails etc. And even then, allowing a user to have access at only a granular level. This approach solves the problems created in perimeter security like

  • No network connectivity simply cuts off access. Thereby closing the doors for remote working or bad actor intruding.  
  • On-premise or off, the authentication works for every individual across the devices without limiting to the network internally. 

Main principles & Technologies

Least Privilege

The zero-trust approach also follows PLOP. That means the principle of least privilege. This practice enables to limit the access across the processes, accounts and users thereby, allowing the rights to only those who need to attend those jobs directly. Regardless of the competencies and trustworthiness of a user, this PLOP helps in eradicating data breaches.


Along with the least privilege principle, micro-segmentation helps in strengthening the security walls. Like, breaking the security perimeters into microzones can help to separate the parts of the network and their respective access controls. A simple example of this is, a user from a sector cannot access the data of another team without re-authentication. This means at every stage of operation, you need authentication proved to access further.


Another core value of Zero Trust is Multi-factor authentication. This security demands more than a single proof that can prove the authenticity of a user. A simple example of this is our social media sites that request a password to log in and then send a verification code to an email or mobile that is registered. This ensures that the user is trustworthy and no intruding happening.

Access control

Along with the measurements taken above, Zero Trust continuously monitors the number of devices connected to a particular IP address, that try to access a network. This ensures the devices are authorized and secure.

Other technologies

The above principles are followed by systematic procedures that use various technologies to accomplish. A few of them are scoring, encryptions, the permission of file systems, SIEM, orchestration, IAM and analytics.  

To conclude, Zero Trust is the best method to fight any kind of security risk for all the IoT. As it starts with an assumption that everything connected to a network is not a trustable source until proved. This helps in a distributed control and granular access to any sensitive data and the relative sources internally. The widespread of its benefits have been shown a great adoption and acceptance across the organizations. Even biggies like Google adopted BeyondCorp for internal networking. So, is your security following a Zero Trust Approach, yet?

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