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Steps to Build a Zero Trust Architecture for Educational Institutions

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We are living in a digital world. The digitization of teaching, research, and administration within educational institutions has brought immense benefits to higher education. However, it has also introduced new threats to the organization that can be impossible to predict, difficult to contain, and costly to remediate. To protect educational institutions from these threats, zero trust architecture will help by building an identity-centric security strategy.

Zero-trust frameworks are made up of various security elements, and one of those elements is the network.The network is responsible for creating the physical and logical perimeter, and it even separates the trusted infrastructure from untrusted devices as well as end-users. Educational institutions have considered Zero Trust as a key to successfully preventing cyberattacks.

You must be wondering what Zero Trust is. How to implement it? How does it enhance the security of educational institutions? What are its benefits? This blog has answers to all your questions. So, read this whole blog to know the answers.

Let’s proceed!

What Is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a well-proven strategy for cybersecurity, and it plays an important role in securing an organization by removing implicit trust and continuously validating each stage of digital interaction. Zero Trust was created to enable digital transformation as well as protect modern environments by implementing strong authentication methods, preventing lateral movement, providing Layer 7 threat prevention, leveraging network segmentation, and simplifying granular, “least access” policies. It follows the principle of “Never Trust, Always Verify.”

It has become one of cybersecurity’s most-used buzzwords. It’s imperative to understand what Zero Trust is, as well as what Zero Trust isn’t.

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How to Implement Zero Trust Architecture?

Implementing a Zero Trust architecture is much easier than it looks. It does not need a complete technology overhaul, but it does need an augmentation of your current architecture. Alternatively, it enables you to enjoy the benefits of the tools and technologies you already have as they can be deployed interactively.

For Implementing and Maintaining Zero Trust below are the five-step Models:

Define the Protected Surface
Working hard to reduce the attack surface is not enough in today’s increasing threat landscape. The area of the attack is continuously expanding, making it hard to define, shrink or defend against. However, with Zero Trust, you should determine your protected area instead of focusing on the macro-level of the attack surface. DAAS is the most important asset for your educational institutions to protect the surface and encompasses all the critical data, applications, valuables, and services.

Map the Transaction Flows
The course of actions in which the traffic moves across a network determines how it should be protected. Thus, it’s imperative to gain contextual insight into the interdependencies of your DAAS. Detailing how specific resources interact allows you to properly enforce controls as well as provides valuable context to ensure the controls help protect your data instead of hindering your business.

Architect a Zero Trust network
Zero Trust networks are completely customized and are not made from a single, universal design but rather created around the protected surface. Once you’ve defined the protected surface and architected the flows relative to the requirements of your business, you can map out the framework, starting with a next-generation firewall. The next-generation firewall plays a key role as a segmentation gateway, creating a micro-perimeter around the protected surface. One can add an additional layer of inspection and access control with a segmentation gateway, all the way to Layer 7, for anyone trying to access resources within the protected surface.

Create the Zero Trust Policy
With the help of the “Kipling Method”, you will have to create Zero Trust policies to whitelist the resources that have access to others, once the network is architected. In his poem “Six Serving Men,” Kipling, famous among novelists, puts forth the concept of “who, what, when, where, why, and how” in his poem.

With this level of granular policy enforcement, you can be sure that only known allowed traffic or legitimate application communication is allowed.

Monitor and Maintain the Network
This is the last step that includes reviewing all the internal and external logs, all the way through Layer 7, focusing on the operational aspects of Zero Trust. Since this is an iterative process, inspecting and logging all traffic will provide important insights regarding how to improve the network over time.

Guiding Principles For Zero Trust

Verify explicitly
It encloses the slot in multi-factor authentication (MFA) coverage by requiring explicit verification throughout the network. In place of assuming trust based on weak assurances like network locations, Zero Trust enables all available data identity, endpoint as well as network data to authenticate all access requests, regardless of where they came from or what they are accessing.

Use least privileged access (LPA)
This makes it tough for hackers to hack critical systems and data by limiting users’ access to the resources, devices, and environments they need. Without widespread privileges and access, attackers don’t have many opportunities to move laterally within the network beyond an initial breach.

Assume breach
As a final safeguard, Zero Trust works under the assumption that a breach has already happened, or soon will. It means deploying expandable security mechanisms, gathering system telemetry, using that telemetry to detect anomalies, and automating insight generation whenever possible to allow near-real-time prevention, response, and remediation.

Plan Your Educational Institution’s Zero Trust Strategy

The principles of this architecture are often recognizable within many institutions’ enterprise architectures today. This owes itself, in part, to the aspiration of the pioneers of academic networking to provide a service offering early users unhindered but authenticated access to campus services.

The good news, therefore, is that your educational institution may be more prepared for zero-trust architecture than you might expect. But, it still needs a conscious pivot to think again about security through the lens of identity instead of the network.

As the details will vary between institutions, your planning must have the following important issues:

  • The full inventory and understanding of the user types and roles within the institution and the processes concerned with the registration and maintenance of the most authoritative sources of information, such as the human resources and student registration systems, and the privileges accorded to those user types and roles needed to grant access to services
  • an IAM solution that can create and maintain a single strong source of identity based on the authoritative sources of information, authenticate users, and authorize access or provision authorization information to services.
  • an Enterprise applications and networking architecture that can provide access to services based on authenticated and authorized user identities, and other contextual or compliance information, such as machine health; with the network focusing on connecting users to services, efficiently and effectively, and the IAM solution on security policy enforcement.

Summing Up

Finally, because zero trust touches all aspects of an institution’s digital architecture, it should be treated strategically, joining together a range of activities across the institution, rather than as a discrete project.

Are you planning a Zero Trust Strategy for your institution? But don’t know where to start or how to start? Sennovate is here to help you out.

Wrapping up

Hope this blog helps you to understand how to Architect an IAM solution for your startups and the benefits of IAM solution. Creating an effective IAM program goes beyond simply monitoring network access and updating users’ accounts. Sennovate is partner with various IAM solutions like Gluu, Forgerock, and others. Is your company ready to build an identity and access management architecture? Sennovate’s experts are here to help you.

Having any doubts or want to have a call with us to know more about IAM solutions for your organization?
Contact us right now by clicking here, Sennovate’s Experts will explain everything on call in detail.
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About Sennovate

Sennovate delivers custom identity and access management (IAM) and managed security operations center (SOC) solutions to businesses around the world. With global partners and a library of 2000+ integrations, 10M+ identities managed, we implement world-class cybersecurity solutions that save your company time and money. We offer a seamless experience with integration across all cloud applications, and a single price for product, implementation, and support. Have questions? The consultation is always free. Email hello@sennovate.com or call us at: +1 (925) 918-6618.

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