How To Combine Zero Trust and Essential Eight For Max Security Implementation

How To Combine Zero Trust and Essential Eight For Max Security Implementation

Today developers seek scalable solutions to craft top-notch security models ready to adapt to changing times. Governments across the world apply new protocols for best-in-breed system security. 


Why Observe Zero-Trust Security and Essential Eight 

It was in this vein that we decided to explore some modern security protocols across the world. We looked at the industry standard in the United States for mobile security, called zero-trust security. We also looked at the common practice for security model adoption in Australia. This is called Essential Eight. 

By observing two best practice models in two different governments, we hope to form a picture of innovation-leading practices we can borrow for mix and match. 


What Is Zero-Trust Security?

Zero-trust security is a cybersecurity model for adequately securing a company’s devices. Microsoft defines the zero-trust model as “empowering security from anywhere.” Zero-trust adapts to real-world security threats, mitigates risks, and adapts to the cloud-native complexity of modern infrastructure. 

Microsoft highlights the importance of a security model’s capacity to “adapt to the hybrid workplace.” At a time when teams are scattered across a bistro of in-house and remote workforces, focusing on hybrid solutions is critical. 


The Five Steps of Zero-Trust Security 

Zero-trust requires a five-step procedure to implement. 

  1. Begin by defining the surface to protect. 
  2. Map the flow of transactions. 
  3. Customize the architecture of the zero-trust network 
  4. Create your Zero-Trust policy 
  5. Monitor and maintain your Zero-Trust network

Get expert tips on how to execute each of these five steps for your mobile device from our blog. 


The Drive Behind Zero-Trust Adoption 

By July 2021, mobile security threats were regarded as the “biggest factor” in the security landscape. The need for mobile zero-trust spiked, causing development teams to seek best practices and scalable solutions. 


What Are Essential Eight Practices?

The Australian government defines the essential eight principles as mitigation strategies with eight key functions. Essential Eight practices were introduced by the Australian Cyber Security Centre in 2017. They continue to update to the present. Australia uses these principles to prepare its tech entities for ever-changing threats. 

The eight strategies include using application control, patch applications, the configuration of Microsoft Office macro settings, user application hardening, restriction of administrative privileges, patch operating systems, multi-factor authentication, and regular backups. 


Break Down of Essential Eight Procedures 

Power-net Australia blog explains that application whitelisting is the first line of defense against malware, according to Australia’s cyber governance. When you whitelist only approved applications, all non-approved applications lose access to your system. See this guide for whitelisting applications on Android mobile devices from Security Boulevard. 

The use of application whitelisting is the first step toward Essential Eight protocol 1. Powernet briefly explains the other steps of the Essential Eight. To patch applications, protocol 2, the system security manager must update the software frequently. This, Powernet says, is the equivalent of buying new rain gear to replace old gear. They compared malware attacks to bad weather. Updated software is prepared for “the storm” or the event of an attack. 

The next step is to disable untrusted Microsoft Office Macros. Since Microsoft Office for mobile doesn’t support this, and recently, Venture Beat reports that all macros are blocked by default in Key Office apps, you can skip this for mobile. 

Next, use application hardening to block ads and other potential harmful add-ons displayed in whitelisted apps from the internet. This can prevent hackers from having a back door to hack your system, says Powernet. 

Then, the blog suggests restricting administrative privileges. This common practice limits user access to data that is also used in zero-trust security practices. More on that in a minute. 

The sixth protocol of the essential eight is to patch operating systems. This means updating operating systems frequently. It follows the same concept as patching applications. By having the most recent versions of software and operating systems, your systems are up-to-date and ready to face the challenges hackers might throw at you. 

Next on this list is multi-factor authentication. Commonly, security managers will have all employees download authenticator apps such as the Microsoft Authenticator app. These apps allow you to add authentication steps to every app or device the company is using for its business systems. 

The eighth and final protocol of this list is to daily backup data. 


Similar Practices and Free Training 

Similar practices are used by the United States Defense Department to restrict access to data to only the personnel who need direct access. This practice is part of the larger security model of safeguarding Personal Identifying Information (PII) and devices. Get free training from The U.S. DoD Cyber Exchange Public that teaches you how to identify and protect sensitive information across devices.


How Zero-Trust and Essential Eight Compliment Each Other 

When you break it down, you’ll recognize an overlap of zero-trust security protocols and the core strategies of essential eight practices. This is especially visible in their use of multi-factor authentication models and user restrictions. 

Cybersecurity teams have introduced two-factor authentication for company devices as a common practice. The essential eight use of multi-factor authentication is a natural pair of this practice. 

Essential eight factors and zero-trust also provide solutions for maturity modeling across their models. Both are forward-thinking practices.


How To Combine Zero-Trust and Essential Eight

Cybersecurity teams combine the best of model practices by recognizing the strengths across models. They then apply these practices to their security framework to allow the strengths to provide support across the model. 

This approach to security flows naturally in sync with the modern composability of systems. Composability of systems is the modern practice of cherry-picking various software for business systems to function to the business’ customized needs. This is replacing the use of all-in-one monolithic systems that were common in recent years. 

Zero-Trust works naturally with this because it is a fully customizable solution. With the added strategy of eight clear steps from the essential eight, defining the Zero-Trust framework can have added layers of instruction. 


The Case For Holistic Security Models 

Cybersecurity professionals have noted the importance of “truly holistic” solutions when aligning security models. Among cybersecurity peers, there has been a reported trend of “compliance-as-a-solution” approaches to security modeling. Combining the practices laid out by Australia’s essential eight, and the industry-leading factors of zero-trust is an act of thinking creatively and critically about security solutions. 


Forward-Thinking Solutions 

At the core, modern security models should focus on scalability. Security models need to empower a smooth adaptation to the ever-changing terrain of innovation. Through adaptability, security models can brace for the constant transformation of hacker tactics. 

Troy Mobility specializes in getting you zero-trust secure and helping you adapt a security model that can scale to the challenge of innovation. Learn more.