Zero Trust is a security model that assumes that every request, regardless of its origin, should be verified before granting access to resources. This model is based on the principle of “never trust, always verify” and is designed to protect against modern cybersecurity threats. Microsoft has adopted a Zero Trust strategy to secure corporate and customer data, and Microsoft 365 is built with many security and information protection capabilities to help organizations build Zero Trust into their environment.

Here are some key principles and elements of the Zero Trust model in Microsoft 365:

Guiding Principles of Zero Trust:

  1. Verify explicitly: Always authenticate and authorize based on all available data points, including user identity, device health, service or workload, data classification, and anomalies.
  2. Use least privileged access: Limit user access with just-in-time and just-enough-access (JIT/JEA), risk-based adaptive policies, and data protection to protect both data and productivity.
  3. Assume breach: Minimize blast radius for breaches and prevent lateral movement by segmenting access by network, user, devices, and application awareness.
  4. Always verify: Continuously validate the trustworthiness of the devices and sources of access, and prevent access from compromised networks and devices.

Foundational Elements of Zero Trust:

To implement Zero Trust in Microsoft 365, organizations can follow a deployment plan that includes steps such as deploying identity infrastructure, configuring identity and device compliance policies, managing endpoints with Microsoft 365 Defender, and deploying information protection for data privacy regulations. Microsoft also provides setup and advanced deployment guides for Zero Trust with Microsoft.

In summary, the Zero Trust model in Microsoft 365 is a comprehensive security framework that helps organizations protect against modern cybersecurity threats by verifying every request and enforcing the least privileged access. By adopting Zero Trust, organizations can simplify security with a strategy, processes, and automated tools that protect people, devices, applications, and data wherever they are located.

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