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Tips for Establishing a Safer Zero-Trust Approach Using VPN Control

The number of unsafe and unknown devices connecting to the network has increased significantly, and stolen credentials violations have become more frequent. In this regard, the concept of trust began to become obsolete. Therefore, more and more companies are moving to a zero-trust approach by partnering with remote workers instead of using VPN.

Zero trust is a security model developed by former Forrester analyst John Kinderwag in 2010. The model implies that each user or device must confirm their data whenever they request access to some resource inside or outside the network. Zero trust believes that any information can be compromised and requires careful security checks of accounts, endpoints, networks, and other resources based on all available data. The system uses machine learning to detect, prevent, and remediate attacks quickly.

The main reason for the transition to a zero-trust approach is the colossal pressure on the security services of companies from two sides. First, customers and employees increasingly want to work through the cloud, accessing the organization's systems via the mobile Internet. Second, business partners are unhappy that joint projects and data are in jeopardy because the two organizations take different approaches to protect them.

Amazingly, nowadays, people believe that it is possible to create information protection once and for all by installing one system. The zero-trust approach has its drawbacks, just like any other remedy. Therefore, we have compiled five tips to help you use the zero-trust approach more effectively.

Use the Principle of Least Privileges and Just-In-Time Elevation

By using the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLO), companies can strengthen data protection. The principle means granting only those privileges to a user account or process necessary to perform the intended function. For example, a user account wishing to acquire the paper writing service does not require software installation, and therefore, the user only has the right to launch the application. This principle also applies to a personal computer user who operates under a regular user account and opens a password-protected privileged account only when the situation so requires.

By combining PoLO with just-in-time privilege elevation (JIT), a zero-trust platform becomes more secure. Just in Time (JIT) is an approach in which privileges are dynamically assigned to accounts and resources. Such users or resources have only the appropriate privileges when needed and only for the time they need. The JIT suggests that companies can revoke privileges within a time frame.

Monitor VPN

As we mentioned, the zero-trust approach is not 100% secure. However, by using two security systems simultaneously, you reduce the risk of data breaches.

VPN is a special software product that provides secure Internet access, often with additional encryption. The Internet works by exchanging data between the client's computer and the sites' servers, and access to them occurs through a provider that provides a stable connection. The principle of operation of a VPN connection is to create an encrypted channel between the user and the network. Due to this, complete confidentiality is achieved.

Even though VPN is protected from tracking, you should provide VPN monitoring. In this case, you must provide not only monitoring VPN traffic but also monitoring VPN tunnels. This approach will allow you to identify bandwidth limitations and security threats. Also, do not forget to track all user activity, as strange behavior can be a signal to strengthen data encryption.

Manage VPN Bandwidth

Thousands of users access the network every day through a remote access VPN. Therefore, your next task is to maintain the integrity of VPN connections. You can achieve this by tracking bandwidth utilization levels. The logical question you might have is - can VPN traffic be monitored instead of multi-level bandwidth checks? The action mentioned above and monitoring of bandwidth levels are complex actions aimed at keeping the system healthy.

By tracking bandwidth usage levels, you can see how high or low VPN consumption is. It is also essential to monitor VPN traffic in real-time by determining the number of active VPN sessions and the duration of those sessions. The resulting data will allow you to plan your traffic capacity and calculate capacity when setting metrics or thresholds. Note that to reduce network latency, you can place VPN gateways as close as possible to the location of company employees.

Do not use communication channels more than 70-75%. If you can maintain this utilization level during off-peak periods, the remaining 25-30% of the capacity will be sufficient to meet the increased demand until new capacity is purchased. To avoid overloading single communication channels, it is necessary to correctly distribute the load in the nodes where at least two communication channels are used. Overloading one channel will reduce the connection speed of users of that channel or route.

Beware of Failed Login Attempts or Abnormal Behavior

Please install not cheap VPN monitoring tools. The programmers managed to develop VPN monitoring tools that include dashboards for monitoring user actions. If users harm the system after an unsuccessful login, you will have the opportunity to track this person and identify the cause of the error. Many C-level employees believe they will have privileged access to company documents, applications, and tools and neglect their position.

If you have reports of failed logins or strange activity coming from C-level employees, it's a sign that it's worth removing special privileges for employees. Knowing which of the people is trying to harm the system reduces the risks of getting hacker attacks. Also, in addition to tracking all employees, you can set up an alert system.

Thanks to notifications about a failed user login attempt, you can instantly block his access to important company data. Doing this will not give a hacker a chance to launch an attack on a company or install a virus. At the same time, do not forget to monitor the performance of all VPN channels and information that goes outside the company. Even essay writing companies care about customer safety - big businesses cannot do without these technologies.

Monitor Privileged Sessions And Their Owners

When monitoring VPN, keep an eye on privileged sessions. You can extract VPN logs from the firewall and generate user behavior, traffic, and security reports for C-level executives with good monitoring tools. By analyzing the behavior of privileged users, you can understand what types of data they are interested in and whether they go outside the company.

In addition, based on the experience of these users, you can find a solution that allows you to control the access of C-level users to company documents more tightly. If employees know that you monitor their behavior when working with sensitive files, it can help correct inappropriate representation of privileged sessions and reduce neglect of credentials.

Final Words

Many of you will want to compare Zero Trust vs. VPN. The workplace is everywhere - this means that your employees need access to corporate applications and data from any device, anywhere, anytime. This is a new level of freedom and a new level of vulnerability. To ensure complete security for any device, any user, any application, and any network anywhere, you cannot separate VPN and zero trust. Permanent VPN monitoring provides continuous protection even when using zero trust. Therefore, VPN and zero trust reduce risk factors when used together, providing consistent and more effective security for users wherever they are.

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