Zero Trust Maturity Model

December 3, 2022

The Zero Trust Maturity Model is an industry standard for security and privacy. Implementing the model requires that an organization implement a variety of security controls. Agencies should select security solutions that integrate across all layers of the application development lifecycle. For example, if an organization is building cloud-native applications, it may want to implement a Continuous Verification (CV) or Risk-based conditional access (RBAC) solution.

CISA’s Zero Trust Maturity Model

CISA’s Zero Trust Maturity model is a framework for developing zero trust architectures. The framework published last year and drafted by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The model intended to help federal agencies implement zero trust architectures. It has five key pillars and intended to support zero trust solutions.

Zero trust is a strict approach to security in which no user, device, or network trusted. It ensures complete security by preventing unauthorized access. The zero-trust model also entails the use of granular access control policies. This approach allows organizations to better understand their security policies and how well they’re performing against them.

Zero trust has been the focus of increased government attention in recent years. Executive orders from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Energy, and CISA have all emphasized the need to adopt a Zero Trust security model. To help organizations understand the benefits and risks of Zero Trust, the Cybersecurity, and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) developed a Zero Trust Maturity Model. CISA’s Zero Trust Maturity Framework identifies five critical pillars for Zero Trust architecture implementation.

Zero trust architectures intended to prevent unauthorized access to data and services by ensuring that user credentials verified at all network checkpoints. In addition, zero trust frameworks offer the most comprehensive protection against ransomware attacks. According to the ITRC’s latest report, the number of data breaches has risen significantly over the past year. In addition to the high number of reported breaches, fewer than half of consumers have taken steps to protect themselves.

NVIDIA’s DPUs enable zero trust

The company has announced that its data processing units, or DPUs, can now enable zero trust networks. This new technology can offload storage and networking workloads to reduce the impact on the CPU and GPU and can also enable new security capabilities. Depending on the workload, the offload capability can have a significant impact on total cost of ownership. The BlueField-2 is already capable of offloading up to 30 cores of CPU workload, while the next-generation BlueField-3 expected to be capable of offloading as many as 300 CPU cores.

The Nvidia Zero Trust platform built on the BlueField data-processing units (DPUs) and Nvidia software. This system verifies every user accessing the network and enforces access controls. This allows companies to ensure that only authorized users can access resources they need for their jobs. BlueField DPUs, which Nvidia inherited from Mellanox, are capable of offloading tasks that server CPUs would otherwise handle. They can also use for tasks such as validating users and isolating applications from the infrastructure.

Nvidia is also working to establish its partner base. It recently announced that it has closed an agreement with NetMotion, a company that develops network access products that needed for zero trust. With this agreement, Absolute now considered the first self-healing zero trust platform.

The company has been making a big push to promote GPU-accelerated computing solutions in enterprise environments. It is taking notes from VMware and hopes to make the process easier for partners and customers. It has also certified its GPU servers and developed AI software modeled after VMware’s. With the integration of these technologies, Nvidia is enabling a unified deployment platform for deep learning.

The zero trust maturity model is an implementation strategy that verifies every device, user, application, and transaction. According to the CISA Zero Trust Maturity Model, zero trust allows organizations to provide complete security and an impenetrable barrier to unauthorized access.

Continuous verification

Continuous verification is a key component of Zero Trust security. It helps identify compromised data and protects users. The Zero Trust Maturity Model provides a framework for implementing continuous verification. The model also offers guidelines and metrics for measuring security maturity and progress. Continuous verification measures security posture by identifying and analyzing anomalies in access requests. It also protects application hosting environments and user identities. It also helps identify and prioritize additional advanced capabilities to enhance security posture.

Toward zero trust, organizations must continuously verify multiple sources of identity and context. For example, a government agency may need to monitor and track the devices of its staff. This way, it can prevent or detect incidents on only authorized devices. Many people overlook device identity, but it is the most important source of context.

Continuous verification is a key part of application development. Cloud-based technologies increase the threat surface, making it critical to apply zero trust principles during application development. Organizations should implement integrated security testing and CI/CD pipelines to extend zero trust principles across applications. This will help reduce the risk associated with cyberattacks.

Continuous verification ensures that zero-trust controls work. Zero trust is a security model based on the principle of least privilege. Using continuous control validation, organizations can ensure that they are implementing zero-trust controls. Zero-trust architectures should focus on identifying and securing critical DAAS. This includes securing all paths to DAAS, identifying who needs access, and applying policies uniformly across all environments.

Continuous verification can help organizations measure their security posture and assess their resources. The CISA Zero Trust Maturity Model can be a great tool for determining zero-trust security maturity. A company must ensure that its network infrastructure, communications, and data are secure. The goal is to create a complete and impenetrable barrier against unauthorized access attempts.

Zero-trust security requires continuous verification to ensure network integrity. Zero-trust security also prevents lateral movement in the network. It also restricts user access to sensitive parts of the network.

Risk-based conditional access

The Zero Trust Maturity Model is a framework for implementing zero trust security. Zero trust implementation requires breaking down the security domains into their foundational elements. This approach enables CFOs and other business leaders to map out an implementation plan that emphasizes least privilege access.

The Zero Trust Maturity Model includes a variety of concepts that address the need to move away from passwords and toward continuous identity verification. Agencies are increasingly moving services to the cloud, making it important to integrate on-premises identities with cloud environments. The zero trust approach prioritizes granular, context-aware policies and adaptive access control to achieve the best balance between security and user productivity.

Conditional access requires different levels of authentication depending on the context. For example, you could present different applications to different groups depending on their location, or based on their risk level. This would allow the finance team to access finance applications, while the marketing team would only see marketing applications. In this way, you could limit access to applications based on the role and responsibility of each person in your organization.

Zero Trust security relies on security policies to determine which connections to allow or deny. Zero Trust security policies may include terms of use, access restrictions, and authentication challenges. By implementing these policies, organizations can limit the impact of breaches while maintaining the user experience. The Zero Trust model also requires rapid dynamic policy model deployment to meet the changing requirements of users, workloads, and data.

Zero trust also requires a fully integrated environment. For example, a hotel kiosk computer may require an additional authentication factor to allow a user to log into the corporate network. With Zero Trust, you can control access based on location, time, and device state. By using these parameters, you can provide contextual information that is more accurate than a password.

Appgate SDP compiles these attributes into a multidimensional identity profile. Using this information, it evaluates conditional entitlements and helps organizations align with Zero Trust security policies. Zero Trust can be local, cloud, or a hybrid of the two.

Ammar Fakhruddin


Ammar brings in 18 years of experience in strategic solutions and product development in Public Sector, Oil & Gas and Healthcare organizations. He loves solving complex real world business and data problems by bringing in leading-edge solutions that are cost effective, improve customer and employee experience. At Propelex he focuses on helping businesses achieve digital excellence using Smart Data & Cybersecurity solutions.

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