This approach prevents a malicious actor from subverting one security measure, and then leveraging that access to gain unauthorized access to other networks, resources, or data. It also prevents malicious actors from compromising the credentials of a peripheral user of protected data and using those credentials to change, delete, or download that data when the user doesn’t require that level of access. The Zero Trust model can be applied to multiple domains, such as Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) for internal networks, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) for network access, and Zero Trust Data Protection which governs access and use of protected data.
Zero Trust Data Protection can be applied to both structured and unstructured data, both for data at rest in a database or in a protected file store, as well as for data on the move, when such data is being accessed over the network or being shared as attachments. Whatever the context, Zero Trust Data Security means that any access or use of that data should be authenticated at the time of access or use, and the principle of least privileged access should apply, allowing the minimal access and entitlements that are required to reduce the chances of unauthorized use or access.
By applying Zero Trust principles to data access and use, Zero Trust Data Protection works as a data-centric approach to protecting an organization’s data. Instead of focusing on protecting access to a network or to physical resources, a data-centric security approach focuses on protecting access to the data itself. Therefore, data access and use policies are centered around what data is being accessed. Appropriate policies are applied based on attributes of the data being accessed, the user who is requesting access, and the environment (see our post on Attribute-Based Access Control, or ABAC for more information on how this can be done). These policies remain in effect whenever and however the data is being accessed, whether it is at rest on a local system or in a database or being shared and on the move. Zero Trust Data Security ensures that each time a user requests access to data and the request is authenticated, the entitlements granted are only the minimum required (e.g. not granting edit access if read-only access is sufficient).