Zero Trust Security Models: Why are They Important for Healthcare?

by Editor
Zero Trust Security Models: Why are They Important for Healthcare?

With the growth of technology, the risk of cyber-attacks has increased. The attack surface, security, and network architecture of an organization are all affected by digital transformation. Systems, individuals, and healthcare organizations need secure ways to connect to the internet while staying safe from dangerous actors. Zero Trust is a security methodology that helps security experts and professionals join different cybersecurity solutions to create a secure environment.

Healthcare businesses can use a zero-trust security paradigm to protect their interconnected networks and devices while securing sensitive health data.

In this article, we will learn a lot about the Zero Trust security model. Let’s first understand what Zero Trust is.

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a strategic initiative that helps prevent data breaches by eliminating the concept of trust from the company’s network infrastructure. The Zero Trust principle, “never trust, always verify,” is intended to safeguard modern digital ecosystems. It’s a security framework that requires all users to be authorized, authentic, and continuously validated for security configurations before being granted access to data and applications.

It’s a security approach based on the idea of stringent network access control and not trusting anyone, even those who are currently inside the network perimeter. The fundamental principle of the Zero Trust model is least-privileged access assuming that no application or user should be inherently trusted. Trust is established based on the user identity and context, such as the security posture of the endpoint device, the user’s location, and the app or services being requested.

How does Zero Trust work?

Executing the Zero Trust framework combines the latest technologies, such as identity protection, network access control, multi-factor authentication, next-generation endpoint security, and the maintenance of system security. It also requires consideration of securing email, data encryption, and verifying the protection of assets and endpoints before connecting to the application. Zero Trust is significantly different from conventional network security models following the “trust but verifies” method. This approach trusted endpoints and users within the organization’s perimeters and put them at risk from malicious internal actors.

Therefore, the zero Trust security model requires companies to continuously monitor and validate that users have the right attributes and privileges. It also requires enforcement of the policy incorporating compliance or other requirements before allowing the transaction. One-time validation is insufficient because user attributes and threats are all subject to change. That’s why Zero Trust policies rely on real-time visibility into identity attributes, such as

  • User Identity and credential type
  • Privilege and number of each credential on each device
  • Endpoint hardware type and function
  • Firmware versions
  • Geolocation
  • Authentication protocol and risk
  • Application installed on endpoints
  • Operating system versions and patch levels
  • Security or incident detection

Organizations should assess their IT infrastructure and potential attack path to minimize the risk of a data breach.

Why is it necessary to implement the zero trust model in healthcare?

Given the future’s interconnected nature, with IoMT devices, augmented reality, robotics, and other technologies, most healthcare companies’ present perimeter-based security approach will no longer be viable. Healthcare organizations must continue to invest in the fundamentals while transitioning to a Zero Trust model from the castle-and-moat strategy to stay ahead of these changes.

Protected Harbor claims that adopting a single tool or platform isn’t enough to achieve zero-trust security. Typically, the method includes technologies from a variety of categories, such as:

  • Device security
  • Network security
  • Data security
  • Workload security
  • Access and identity management
  • Tools for gaining visibility
  • Platforms for orchestration

Organizations require a zero-trust network architecture to protect their data regardless of location and ensure that applications run smoothly and fast to stay competitive.

Stages for implementing Zero Trust

Shifting to a zero-trust architecture is a significant undertaking. Still, with the appropriate champions in place and well-thought-out plans and processes, the initial pain of deploying new security standards will be worth it.

According to a recent analysis by IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute, healthcare data breaches and ransomware attacks can cost upwards of $9.23 million per occurrence.

Each organization’s needs are different. But in general, the following steps help implement a mature Zero Trust model.

  • Visualize_ understand all resources, access points, and the associated risks.
  • Mitigate_ detect, and halt threats or reduce the impact of attacks or breaches if they can not be stopped immediately.
  • Optimize_ extend security to each aspect of the IT infrastructure and resources, regardless of location.

What are the Zero Trust Model’s guiding principles?

Here are the core principles of the Zero Trust security model.

Continuous monitoring and validation

The Zero Trust paradigm is based on the assumption that hackers are both outside and inside the network. As a result, neither machine nor the user should be trusted blindly. Zero Trust verifies privileges and user identity, and device security and identity.

Least privilege

Another core principle of the Zero Trust security model is least privilege access, giving users only required access. It minimizes each user’s liability to sensitive parts of the network. The least privilege is a technique for managing user permissions. This authorization approach is not well-suited for a virtual private network (VPN). Because connecting to a VPN grants access to the entire network connected to it.

Device & network access control

The Zero Trust approach necessitates stringent device and network access control in addition to user access control. This system needs to monitor how many devices try to access their network and ensure authorization. Moreover, it assesses all devices to ensure they have not been compromised. It reduces the network’s attack surface even more.


Zero Trust security model supports micro-segmentation. It’s a fundamental principle of cybersecurity that allows businesses to isolate network resources so that any cyber attacks can be contained and not spread throughout the company. They can protect sensitive data and systems by implementing granular policies enforced by role-based access control.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

MFA is also a core principle of the Zero Trust security model. Multi-factor authentication means requiring more than one authentication piece; just entering a password is not enough to access a device or system. The most common application of MFA is the two-factor authentication (2FA) used on social media platforms, such as Google and Facebook.


Zero trust enables companies to automate authentication processes in healthcare, allowing hospitals and health systems to focus on patient care rather than the aftermath of a cyberattack.

Implementing a Zero Trust security model is a complex and continuous process. However, organizations do not need to simultaneously apply all of the Zero Trust principles. They can start implementing this trust model with small steps, such as defining and classifying all of the organization’s resources, implementing a proper user verification process, and granting access to privileged users only. Designing and implementing a zero trust model required security experts to focus on business concepts. The Zero Trust security model returns immediate gains through risk mitigation and security control regardless of the starting point.

For each endpoint and cloud workload, identity, and data, security for the most crucial areas of organizational risk to stop breaches in real-time. Protected Harbor’s Zero Trust solution is compliant with NIST 800-207 standards. It maximizes Zero Trust coverage across your hybrid enterprise to secure and enable people, processes, and technologies that drive modern enterprise security with built-in protection for high-risk areas like identity and data.

Devices, networks, data, and workloads should be secured, and IAM, visibility tools, automation, and orchestration platforms should all be used. When you partner with Protected Harbor, we’ll take care of all of these issues for you with a tailor-made plan.

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