In Blog, Cloud Adoption, Cloud Governance, Managed Services

Zero Trust Security with Microsoft Azure

Companies and their teams perform thousands of sensitive tasks operations on the Internet every single day: employees log into corporate applications using their Active Directory credentials; customers can place orders on a company’s website using a saved credit card number; and employees use corporate email to send personal messages. But with so many communications, transactions, and logins, disastrous consequences like data breaches and other costly mistakes are a significant risk for companies that fail to adopt an adequate security posture.

To combat this problem, the team at Hanu take a Zero-Trust Approach. To do this, we use Microsoft’s Zero Trust Security strategy, which eliminates implicit trust to prevent threats at every layer of their network, whether that’s at the application layer (i.e. phishing), the transport layer (i.e. man-in-the-middle attacks), or the network layer (i.e. DNS poisoning). The idea is that if an organization can’t trust anything beyond its own firewalls, then it is far less likely to be compromised.

However, implementing Zero Trust Security effectively means companies must rethink how they design their networks, implement access controls, and manage identities — all of which are very important but also time consuming and costly propositions for organizations already feeling pressure to do more with less.

Secure Networks with The Zero Trust Approach

Zero Trust theory is based on the idea that every user and device in a network must be authenticated and verified by all other devices and users. There is no implicit trust between any two parties; it’s just not good enough to authenticate the server or the data center where it resides, and then implicitly trust everyone who comes from there.

Microsoft has introduced Zero Trust Security, an approach to network security that is designed to address the shortcomings of perimeter-based security while taking advantage of advanced cloud infrastructure. The intent is to create a “secure by default” model in which trust is not conferred based on IP or port alone, but rather only after the device has been properly authenticated using modern authentication protocols such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) through Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), obtaining explicit consent through mechanisms like Azure Active Directory Conditional Access.

This approach is particularly useful in industries with stringent regulatory laws, such as finance and healthcare, as well as manufacturing and digital retail.

The Zero Trust Security Model in Finance

In finance, Microsoft Zero Trust Security is fundamentally changing the way companies manage access to their applications and data. A traditional security approach that focuses on protecting perimeters is no longer enough in a world where employee and partner access must be constantly monitored and evaluated in real time, in order to prevent threats from within an organization.

Zero Trust Security offers finance organizations new levels of protection with Microsoft Identity Manager’s (MIM) Privileged Access Management capabilities. MIM can automatically identify risky sessions based on user behavior, enforcing multi-factor authentication for users at risk of compromise before they get access to high value applications or data.

The Next Generation Of Security For Manufacturing Settings

In the manufacturing industry, where perimeter security has long been seen as the solution for managing risk, Zero Trust is transitioning beyond the firewall into the industrial control systems that operate critical equipment to keep organizations safe.

Compliance requirements for manufacturers include supply chain security and product approvals and certifications. These types of businesses rely heavily on file transfer between internal employees and 3rd party partners, often utilizing cloud-based storage services. This makes it essential for companies in these sectors to ensure that confidential business documents are properly secured throughout their entire life cycle.

Zero Trust provides the necessary security layer to ensure staff can access only what is required for their jobs while also providing intelligent, dynamic controls around who has access to information and systems based on their role in the company. As a result, compliance requirements can be met while still ensuring employee productivity. Zero Trust can also be applied to smart manufacturing solutions to safeguard against cyber-attacks targeted at Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Protected Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare with Zero Trust

In healthcare, HIPAA compliance is a key factor for improving patient care and operational efficiency. Healthcare professionals need to ensure that data in this industry stays secure and in-house and out of the hands of unauthorized individuals.

Microsoft’s Zero Trust security model enables better privacy and protection from phishing, Ransomware attacks, and other threats. Using a Zero Trust approach to security in healthcare increases confidentiality by forcing least privilege access for all users no matter which device they’re using. Access controls can be applied to internet of things (IoT) devices that often have little or no protection but are being used in critical situations where patient data is exposed. Providers can set up access policies across multiple applications, such as email and web portals without having to worry about exposing additional risk through another breach. In this way, Zero Trust reduces the attack surface.

Raised Security Standards for Ecommerce Companies

For eCommerce companies, Microsoft Zero trust can be utilized to protect against fraud attacks, such as account takeover and fraudulent transactions. The attack surface in eCommerce can be reduced by limiting the ability of a compromised user account to access the retailer’s internal network or any other system that is not required for legitimate use.

Microsoft Active Directory provides a hierarchical structure where users are placed in various contexts depending on their role within an organization. Through Microsoft Zero trust security, dynamic trust tiers can be established between these networks based on risk profiles through the use of claims-based authentication. In this way, it is possible to limit access to specific services or applications to authorized users only even while using accounts from one domain for remote access across trusted and untrusted domains.

By taking a Zero-Trust approach, companies across all verticals can rest easy knowing that their data is safe. To learn more about how Azure and the team at Hanu can help you gain the benefits of Zero Trust Security, contact us for your free consultation.