Zero Trust

Zero Trust

Zero Trust is a security concept that follows the principle of “never trust, always verify.” It recognizes that threats exist both inside and outside an organization’s traditional perimeters. Zero Trust eliminates the element of trust given to users and devices and instead relies on dynamic policies and the principle of least privilege (PLP) enforced by the Zero Trust Architecture. By authenticating devices and assessing access requests based on defined policies, organizations can implement a robust security framework.

The Growing Need for Zero Trust Hardware Access

Although the concept of Zero Trust Architecture has been around since 1994, its importance has become more evident as the threat landscape continues to evolve. In the past, secure enterprise walls automatically trusted internal users and devices. However, organizations now realize that this assumption is flawed. Insider threats pose a significant risk. And enterprises struggle to provide comprehensive security due to a lack of visibility and control.

In today’s landscape, automatic trust cannot be assumed for internal users or devices. Insiders could harbor malicious intent, driven by various incentives, leveraging insider privileges for significant harm. Yet, even more concerning, enterprises grapple with insufficient security due to limited visibility and control.

Securing Hardware in Organizations

With expanding assets and perimeters, securing hardware assets has become increasingly challenging. The remote working security risks, has introduced additional complexities. Employees often use personal devices (BYOD Security Risks) for work purposes. Which are difficult to manage and may lack proper security measures. The infiltration of household IoT devices into corporate networks further expands the attack surface.

Additionally, remote work environments are typically less secure than traditional office settings, providing more entry points for potential attacks. Any compromised device can grant insider access to malicious actors, increasing the vulnerability of the organization. The need to secure hardware assets and manage risks has become paramount (ThinkShield Hardware Defense).

Addressing the Struggle with Zero Trust Hardware Access

While security departments face increasing challenges, malicious actors continue to thrive. Traditional network and endpoint detection and response solutions have proven inadequate, as cybercriminals constantly develop new techniques to bypass them. Social engineering tactics further exploit employees’ access privileges, causing significant damage.

Zero Trust eliminates the inherent trust in internal users and devices and assumes a breach has already occurred. Access is granted based on the principle of least privilege, which permits access only to necessary resources. Micro-segmentation further reduces the blast radius of attacks by dividing the network into smaller sections, preventing lateral movement.

Challenges of Zero Trust and the Role of Hardware Access Control

Zero Trust is not without its challenges. Limited asset visibility creates blind spots in Identity and Access Management (IAM) evaluations, affecting the effectiveness of access requests. Traditional security solutions often overlook the physical layer visibility, allowing spoofed devices to bypass Zero Trust protocols. The use of BYOD and shadow IT introduces additional concerns.

According to PulseSecure’s 2020 Zero Trust Progress Report, 71% of organizations are seeking to improve their IAM, highlighting the need for deeper visibility. Existing security solutions do not cover the Physical Layer. This means that Spoofed Devices, are able to impersonate legitimate devices and subsequently bypass Zero Trust Hardware Access protocols.

So, despite Zero Trust enabling the safe use of BYODs and IoT security, the model is not enough to protect against compromised devices. In fact, BYOD and shadow IT exposures are a cause for a concern among 43% and 40% of organizations, respectively. As a result of a lack of visibility, there are spillover effects that create additional challenges. Naturally, malicious actors seek to exploit the visibility blind spot and turn to hardware attacks (operating on the Physical Layer).

Zero Trust

To overcome these challenges, Sepio’s platform (HAC-1) provides physical layer visibility, Hardware Access Control capabilities, and Rogue Device Mitigation. By addressing the blind spots and enhancing the Zero Trust approach, Sepio enables organizations to achieve a complete Zero Trust environment. Zero Trust Hardware Access is the missing piece of the puzzle to strengthen security and ensure comprehensive protection.

Zero Trust Challenges Mitigated by Sepio

Security monitoring for validation of users and their devices’ security posture.


Visibility The Zero Trust Architecture relies on identifying a user and device to evaluate the access request. However, hardware-based attacks involve the deployment of tools which hide/spoof their identity: Rogue Devices. By manipulating the authentication and authorization processes, such devices render the Zero Trust Architecture ineffective as they are not validated with accurate information. As a result, access is granted under false pretenses, allowing the attacker to bypass Zero Trust security protocols.

Challenges mitigated by Sepio

Sepio Complete Asset Visibility provides enterprises with ultimate asset visibility through Physical Layer fingerprinting. As the only company to offer Layer 1 coverage, Sepio can see all assets operating within the enterprise’s infrastructure whether they are managed, unmanaged or hidden. More importantly, Sepio reveals the device’s true identity. Physical Layer fingerprinting technology and Machine Learning allows Sepio to calculate a digital fingerprint from the electrical characteristics of all devices. The digital fingerprint is compared with the extensive built-in threat intelligence database for known-to-be-vulnerable devices to instantly detect when a vulnerable or malicious device is present within the organization.

Granular, dynamic and risk-based access control through policy enforcement.


Access policies enable the Zero Trust security measure of micro-segmentation. By breaking the network into smaller, more granular parts, the enterprise can implement PLP by granting access only to the resources necessary to carry out the job. It is access policies that indicate to the Zero Trust Architecture which segment(s) the requesting entity is permitted to access. Such policies, however, cannot be accurately enforced on assets that impersonate legitimate devices, or those which are not visible to the Zero Trust Access.

How can the security guards at Wembley stop the unauthorized attendees from entering the stadium if they go to an unmanned entrance? Ineffective access control allows the malicious actor to bypass micro-segmentation and move laterally across the network.   Moreover, the creation of data access policies is based on asset and network traffic information. The lack of visibility means that policies are created without full information, resulting in validity and reliability issues.

Challenges mitigated by Sepio

Sepio’s Hardware Access Control policy enforcement mechanism allows the system administrator to define a strict, or more granular, set of rules for the system to enforce that controls hardware access based on device characteristics. Moreover, the threat intelligence database empowers Sepio’s to alert the system administrator upon detecting a vulnerable device, enabling them to take action in deciding how to manage such devices. With these capabilities, achieving micro-segmentation becomes possible, as the policies enforce on all devices and rely on complete, accurate information.

System security automation that protects data and resources


Inadequate protection arises from the two mentioned challenges, leaving an enterprise uncertain about the safety of its data and resources. If the Zero Trust Architecture mistakenly grants access to a Rogue Device, the perpetrator has the ability to carry out harmful attacks on the victim the directly puts its data and resources at risk.

Challenges mitigated by Sepio

Sepio’s Rogue Device Mitigation automatically instigates a mitigation process to block unapproved or Rogue hardware as soon as a device breaches the pre-defined policy. By doing this, we halt the attacker at the initial obstacle, preventing any attempt to bypass micro-segmentation and other security protocols. Blocking the perpetrator initially safeguards the enterprise’s data and resources against malicious hardware-based attacks.

The Significance of Zero Trust Hardware in Today’s Landscape

In conclusion, implementing Zero Trust Hardware is crucial in today’s threat landscape. By adopting the Zero Trust approach and incorporating hardware-level security measures, organizations can effectively mitigate risks. Overcome visibility challenges, and establish a robust security framework. Partnering with Sepio’s enables organizations to enhance their Zero Trust implementation. Protect against hardware based attacks and create a secure environment for their digital assets.

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April 26th, 2021