Adopt a Zero Trust approach for security — Essentials Series

Episode 1

Adopt a Zero Trust approach for security and benefit from the core ways in which Microsoft can help. In the past, your defenses may have been focused on protecting network access with on-premises firewalls and VPNs, assuming everything inside the network was safe. But as corporate data footprints have expanded to sit outside your corporate network, to live in the Cloud or a hybrid across both, the Zero Trust security model has evolved to address a more holistic set of attack vectors.

Based on the principles of “verify explicitly”, “apply least privileged access” and “always assume breach”, Zero Trust establishes a comprehensive control plane across multiple layers of defense:

Identity

Azure Active Directory assigns identity and conditional access controls for your people, the service accounts used for apps and processes, and your devices.

Endpoints

Microsoft Endpoint Manager assures devices and their installed apps meet your security and compliance policy requirements

Applications

Microsoft Endpoint Manager can be used to configure and enforce policy management. Microsoft Cloud App Security can discover and manage Shadow IT services in use.

Network

Get a number of controls, including Network Segmentation, Threat protection, and Encryption.

Infrastructure

Azure landing zones, Blueprints and Policies can ensure newly deployed infrastructure meets compliance requirements for cloud resources. Azure Security Center and Log Analytics help with configuration and software update management for on-premises, cross-cloud and cross-platform infrastructure.

Data

Limit data access to only the people and processes that need it.

QUICK LINKS:

00:37 — Six layers of defense

02:31 — Identity

03:48 — Endpoints

04:48 — Applications

05:46 — Network

06:36 — Infrastructure

07:18 — Data

08:11 — Wrap Up

Link References:

Learn more at https://aka.ms/zerotrust

For tips and demonstrations, check out https://aka.ms/ZeroTrustMechanics

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Video Transcript:

-Welcome to Microsoft Mechanics and our new series on Zero Trust Essentials. In the next few minutes, I’ll break down what you can do to adopt a Zero Trust approach for security and how Microsoft can help. In the past, you may have focused your defenses on protecting network access with on-premise firewalls and VPNs assuming that everything inside the network was safe. But as corporate data footprints have expanded to sit outside your corporate network, to live in the cloud or hybrid or across both, the Zero Trust security model has evolved to address a more holistic set of attack vectors.

-Based on the principles of verify explicitly, apply least privileged access, and always assume breach, Zero Trust establishes a comprehensive control plan across multiple layers of defense. And this starts with identity and verifying that only people, devices and processes that have been granted access to your resources can access them. Followed by device endpoints including IoT systems at the edge where the security compliance of the hardware accessing your data is assessed. Now, this oversight applies to your applications too, whether local or in the cloud, as the software-level entry points to your information. Then there are protections at the network layer for access to resources, especially those that are within your corporate perimeter. Followed by the infrastructure, hosting your data both on premises or in the cloud. This can be physical or virtual including containers and microservices, and the underlying operating systems and firmware. And finally, the data itself across your files and content, as well as structured and unstructured data wherever it resides.

-Now, each of these layers are important links in the end-to-end chain of Zero Trust, and each can be exploited by malicious actors or inadvertently by users as entry points or channels to leak sensitive information. That said, core to Microsoft’s approach for Zero Trust is not to disrupt end users but work behind the scenes to keep users secure and in their flow as they work. The key here is end-to-end visibility and bringing then all this together with threat intelligence, risk detection and conditional access policies to reason over access requests and automate response.

-Here, as we’ll explore in the series, the good news is that both Microsoft 365 and Azure are designed with Zero Trust as a core architectural principle and have built-in and best-in-class controls to help deliver a Zero Trust environment. And you can then use these tools to extend Zero Trust to hybrid or even multi-cloud.

-In fact, let me walk you through some highlights for how Microsoft can help you implement Zero Trust starting with identity. Here, Azure Active Directory is the underlying service that assigns identity and conditional access controls for your people, the service accounts used for apps and processes, and your devices. Importantly, beyond Microsoft services, Azure AD can provide a single identity control plane with common authentication and authorization services for your cloud-based services and your on-premises resources. This prevents the use of multiple credentials and weak passwords spread across different services and helps you to universally apply strong authentication methods, like passwordless multifactor authentication for your users.

-Also to make the authentication process significantly less intrusive to users, you can take advantage of real-time intelligence at sign-in with conditional access and Azure AD. You can set policies to assess the risk level of the user or a sign-in, the device platform along with a sign-in location, to make point of log on decisions and enforce access policies in real time to either block access outright, grant access but require an additional authentication factor such as a biometric or a FIDO2 key, or limit it for example, to just view-only privileges.

-And moving on to end points, because not all devices accessing corporate data are managed or owned by your organization, they can represent another weak link in establishing Zero Trust. They may not be up to date or protected and run the risk of data exfiltration from unknown apps or services. Using Microsoft Endpoint Manager, you can make sure that devices and their installed apps meet your security and compliance policy requirements, regardless of whether the device is corporate owned or personally owned, wherever they’re connecting from, whether that’s on a network perimeter including over a VPN, on the home network or the public internet. Also on Microsoft Defender with its extended detection and response or XDR management controls can identify and contain breaches discovered on an endpoint and then force the device back into a trustworthy state before it’s allowed to connect back to resources.

-Next we’ve already touched on the benefits of Azure AD as the single identity provider for authenticated sign-in along with the use of conditional access, and these recommendations also apply to cloud apps and local apps that connect to cloud-based resources as well. Now for your local apps, Microsoft Endpoint Manager can be used to configure and enforce policy management for both desktop and mobile apps including browsers. For example, you can prevent work-related data from being copied and used in personal apps. that said on the SaaS side of the house knowing what apps and services are in use within your organization including those acquired by other teams known as Shadow IT is critical to mitigate any new vulnerabilities. Microsoft Cloud app security and its catalog of more than 17,000 apps can discover and manage Shadow IT services in use. And you can then set policies against your security requirements to scope how information may be accessed or shared within those services. For example, you can use policies to block actions within the cloud app such as downloading confidential files or discussing sensitive topics while using unmanaged devices.

-And this brings us to our fourth layer, the network. With modern architectures and hybrid services spanning on-premises and multiple cloud services, virtual networks or VNets and VPNs, we give you a number of controls starting with network segmentation to limit the blast radius and lateral movement of attacks on your network. We also enable threat protection to harden the network perimeter from things like DDoS or brute force attacks, then the ability to quickly detect and respond to incidents and encryption for all network traffic, whether that’s internal, inbound, or outbound. Microsoft offers several solutions to help secure networks such as Azure Firewall and Azure DDoS Protection to protect your Azure VNet resources. And Microsoft’s XDR and SIEM solution comprising Microsoft Defender and Azure Sentinel, help you to quickly identify and contain security incidents.

-Next, for your infrastructure, the most important consideration here is around configuration management and software updates so that all deployed infrastructure meets your security and policy requirements. For cloud resources, Azure landing zones, blueprints and policies can ensure that newly deployed infrastructure meets compliance requirements and the Azure Security Center, along with Log Analytics, help with configuration and software update management for your on-premises, cross-cloud and cross-platform infrastructure. Also monitoring is critical for detection of vulnerabilities, attacks and anomalies. Here again, Microsoft Defender plus Azure Sentinel provide threat protection for multi-cloud workloads enabling automated detection response.

-Of course, at the end of the day, Zero Trust is all about understanding, then applying the right controls to protect your data. Now we give you the controls to limit data access to only the people and processes that need it. The policies that you set along with real-time monitoring can then restrict or block the unwanted sharing of sensitive data and files. For example, with Microsoft Information Protection, you can automate labeling and classification of files and content. Policies are then assigned to the labels to trigger protective actions, such as encryption or limiting access, restricting third-party apps and services and much more. Additionally, for data outside of Microsoft 365, Azure Purview automatically discovers and maps data sitting across your Azure data sources, on premises and SaaS data sources, and works with Microsoft Information Protection to help you classify your sensitive information.

-So that was a quick overview, the Zero Trust security model and examples of some of the core ways that Microsoft can help. Moving to Zero Trust doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can use a phased approach and close the most exploitable vulnerabilities first. Of course, keep checking back at aka.ms/ZeroTrustMechanics for more in our series where I’ll share tips and hands-on demonstrations of the tools for implementing the Zero Trust security model across the six layers of defense that I covered today. And you can also learn more at aka.ms/zerotrust. Thanks for watching.

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