By Hyun-Jin Im on June 04, 2024

What is the Microsoft Zero Trust Security Model? All You Need to Know!

What is the Microsoft Zero Trust Security Model? All You Need to Know!

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, safeguarding your organization's assets is more critical than ever. As cyber threats become increasingly sophisticated, traditional security measures often fall short, leaving businesses vulnerable.

In this blog, you will find:

🤔What is the Microsoft Zero Trust Security Model?

👍🏼Why is the Zero Trust Model Important? 

⚙️How to Use Zero Trust Architecture for Your Organization

🏆How to Achieve Zero Trust Across Your Digital Estate

🏠 What's Next: Complimentary Threat Landscape Review

🏁 Conclusion

Top-of-the-line security is essential to any business, and as companies grow, they often find themselves with more risks than just their assets. This blog will show you how to make your security processes more efficient and effective with the Microsoft Zero Trust model and help reduce the security risk in your environment.

What is the Microsoft Zero Trust Security Model?

In the past, most organizations focused on protecting network access with on-premise equipment, firewalls, and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), assuming that everything within the network was safe. However, as corporate data footprints have expanded to sit outside the corporate network and live in the cloud, on-prem, or hybrid across both, the Microsoft Zero Trust security model has evolved to address a more holistic set of attack vectors.


Zero Trust treats every connection attempt as coming from an unknown source. All users, whether inside or outside your organization's network, must authenticate and be authorized before being granted access. This includes configuration changes on employees' devices during work hours (i.e., adjusting settings).

Why is the Zero Trust Model Important?

Zero Trust is important for your organization because it can protect your assets from attackers. Unlike traditional security models that assume everything inside the network is safe, Zero Trust operates under the principle that no one can be trusted by default, whether inside or outside the network. Here are some reasons why you should care about it:

☑️ IT security is complex: Many devices, users, and connections can access corporate data from everywhere. It's challenging to keep track of everything - not only because it would take too much time but also because you can’t be sure what needs security attention.

☑️ A “Trusted network” security strategy can put you in danger: You might believe you can trust your network in your data center, but what if someone outside was already compromised? And this includes when you have local services accessible only through one port or device.

☑️ Assets evolving beyond the network: Introducing new cloud services and hosting solutions adds another layer that needs attention, with secure access controls at every turn, which requires more than just tooling up - you also need security expertise that isn't always available in-house.

☑️ Attackers shift to identity attacks: ID theft is a big problem. It all starts with identity because it’s easier to capture and compromise than find an entry point into your network. This overwhelms security teams as they try desperately to figure out how this happened before more information gets leaked.

4 Reasons Why Zero Trust Is Important infographic.

What Are the Three Principles of the Zero Trust Security Model? 

There are three Zero-Trust principles regarding security: verify explicitly, use least privilege access, and assume breach. These three zero-trust principles can be applied across your digital estate, including your identities, devices, apps, network, infrastructure, and data.

☑️ Verify Explicitly: Authenticate and authorize access based on all the available data points, including the user's identity, location, device, health data classification, and anomalies.

☑️ Use least privilege access: Minimize the users' access to just in time and access risk-based adaptive policies and data protection which protects data and productivity. Also, provide the least amount of access to resources for the user to be able to do their job for as little time as possible.

☑️ Assume breach: Minimize the scope of breach damage and prevent lateral movement by segmenting access via network user devices and application awareness. Also, verify that all sessions are encrypted end to end.

Cybersecurity Risk Management: detect, analyze and prioritize. Banner

You may be interested in these blogs:

🛡️Four Effective Strategies to Safeguard Your Digital Assets

💡What Are Cybersecurity Solutions? 5 Features to Ensure Business Safety

📛 How To Stop Social Engineering Attacks? 4 Ways to Prevent It

How to Use Zero Trust Architecture for Your Organization?

With the traditional security model, once someone signs in at their workstation, they can access all company networks, usually from the physical office space. It creates vulnerabilities because if somebody finds out your password, then you will have problems within that specific department and could risk other confidential information on these connected machines, too.

The Zero Trust architecture, however, protects each file, each e-mail, and each network by authenticating every identity and device. It also helps secure remote access, personal devices, and third-party apps.

Zero Trust Architecture Elements 

Zero Trust architecture includes your identities, endpoints, apps, data, infrastructure, and network and requires integration across these elements.

• Identity: Verify and secure each identity with strong authentication across your entire digital estate.

• Endpoints: Gain visibility into devices accessing the network. Ensure compliance and health status before granting access.

• Apps: Discover shadow IT, ensure appropriate in-app permissions, gate access based on real-time analytics, and monitor and control user actions.

• Data: Move from perimeter-based data protection to data-driven protection. Use intelligence to classify and label data. Encrypt and restrict access based on organizational policies.

• Infrastructure: Use telemetry to detect attacks and anomalies, automatically block and flag risky behaviour, and employ least privilege access principles.

• Network: Ensure devices and users aren’t trusted just because they’re on an internal network. Encrypt all internal communications, limit access by policy, and employ micro-segmentation and real-time threat detection.

The Workflow of Zero Trust Architecture 

Here’s how a typical Zero Trust architecture works:

infographic-Zero Trust Architecture shown in a diagram format1) Identities & End Points The foundation of Zero Trust security is identities. Both human and non-human identities need strong authorization, connecting from either personal or corporate Endpoints with compliant devices, together requesting access based on strong policies grounded in Zero Trust principles of explicit verification, least privilege access, and assumed breach.

2) Zero Trust Policy As a unified policy enforcement, the Zero Trust Policy intercepts requests and explicitly verifies signals from all six foundational elements based on policy configuration and enforces least privileged access. Signals include the user’s role, location, device compliance, data sensitivity, application sensitivity, etc. In addition to telemetry and state information, the risk assessment from threat protection feeds into the policy engine to automatically respond to threats in real-time.

3) Policy Optimization The policy is enforced during access and continuously evaluated throughout the session. This policy is further enhanced by Policy Optimization. Governance and Compliance are critical to a strong zero-trust implementation. Security Posture Assessment and Productivity Optimization are necessary to measure the telemetry throughout the services and systems.

4) Threat Protection The telemetry and analytics feed into the Threat Protection system. Large amounts of telemetry and analytics enriched by threat intelligence generate high-quality risk assessments that can be manually investigated or automated. Attacks happen at cloud speed – your defence systems must act at cloud speed, and humans can’t react quickly enough or sift through all the risks. The risk assessment feeds into the policy engine for real-time automated threat protection and additional manual investigation if needed.

5) Network, Data, Apps & Infrastructure Traffic filtering and segmentation is applied in evaluating and enforcing the Zero Trust policy before access is granted to any public or private NetworkData classification, labelling, and encryption should be applied to emails, documents, and structured data. Access to Apps should be adaptive, whether SaaS (Software as a Service) or on-premises. Runtime control is applied to Infrastructure with serverless containers, IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and internal sites, with just-in-time (JIT) and Version Controls actively engaged.

6) Telemetry, analytics, and assessment Data collected from the Network, Data, Apps, and Infrastructure are fed back into the Policy Optimization and Threat Protection systems.

How to Achieve Zero Trust Across Your Digital Estate?

The Zero Trust security model is most effective when integrated across the entire digital estate. Most organizations need a phased approach that targets areas for change based on the zero-trust maturity model.

What are the three stages of the Zero Trust Maturity Model?

The Zero Trust maturity model can be split into three phases: the traditional phase, the advanced phase, and the optimal phase. Check which phases your organization belongs to:

Three Stages  the Zero Trust Model: Traditional phase, advance phase and optimal phase

☑️Traditional Phase

This is where most organizations generally sit today if they haven’t started their Zero Trust journey.

You're still on-premises, where your identity lies. Static rules may be some single sign-on.

You have limited visibility into your device compliance, cloud environment, and logins.

You still have a flat network infrastructure, resulting in a broad risk exposure.

☑️Advanced Phase

You have begun your Zero Trust journey and are progressing in key areas.

You're in the hybrid identity phase and finally tuned access policies that are gaining access to your data, apps, and networks.

Your devices are registered and compliant with your IT security policies.

Your networks are being segmented, and cloud protection is also in place.

Analytics are starting to be used to assess user behaviour and proactively identify threats.

☑️ Optimal Phase

You have made large improvements in security within a zero-trust model.

Your identities are cloud-based, and real-time analytics dynamically gain access to your applications, workloads, networks, and data.

Your data access decisions are governed by cloud security policy engines, and sharing is secured with encryption and tracking.

Trust has been removed from the network, so micro-cloud perimeters, micro-segmentation and encryption are in place.

Automatic threat detection response is implemented.

How to Reach Optimal Phase in Zero Trust Elements?

Hybrid infrastructure is a great way to realize the value of Zero Trust initiatives while utilizing your existing investment. You can evaluate your Zero Trust Security posture with a self-assessment, and you can reach the optimal phase of Zero Trust with our suggestions here:

🪪 Identities

Unify the identity and access management environment within your cloud apps and on-premises resources with a single sign-on integration with an identity provider like Azure AD.

Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to protect identities against attacks regardless of where you have your identities, whether it's within your Azure AD environment or for personal use.

Start signing in using passwordless authentication to reach the optimal stage, such as using an approved device and biometrics.

Analyze user, device, and location in real-time to determine risk and deliver ongoing protection.


Register your endpoints with your centralized identity provider like Azure AD.

Manage and monitor mobile devices, desktop computers, virtual machines and even servers with Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

Manage on-premises solutions with Microsoft Intune, a cloud-based mobile device management service and configuration manager.

Encrypt devices and apply hardening on workstations and servers. Also, use an Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solution to review the detection response with Defender for Endpoint and apply policies on corporate-issued devices that access your tenants.


Use Defender for Cloud Apps, a cloud access security broker (CASB) that helps you extend real-time controls to any app in any browser. You can also comprehensively discover Secure control and provide threat protection and detection across your app ecosystem.

Start with Shadow IT, identifying what SAS-based applications your users are using and preventing unsanctioned apps that haven't been approved and may introduce risk.

Make sure all apps are available using least privilege access with continuous verification and dynamic control in place for all apps.

🏗️ Infrastructure

Manage permissions manually across environments and configuration of servers on which workloads run.

• Monitor Workload assigned app identity and alert for abnormal behaviour.

• Block unauthorized deployments and make granular visibility and access control available across all workloads.

Segment user and resource access for each workload.

🕸️ Network

Fully distribute ingress/egress cloud micro-perimeters and deeper micro-segmentation.

Deploy Machine Learning-based threat protection and filtering with context-based signals​ and encrypt all traffic.

📊 Data

• Augment classification with smart machine learning models.

Make access decisions according to a cloud security policy engine.

Secure data loss prevention (DLP) policies by sharing with encryption and tracking.

Ready to fortify your organization's cybersecurity?

Contact us now for a complimentary Threat Landscape Review and confidently secure your digital assets.


What's Next: Complimentary Threat Landscape Review

As shown on this graph, password attacks per second have increased 20 times in the last 3 years. Cybercrime is an industry equal to the third-largest economy in the world, with an annual growth rate of 15%.  

a visual representation of attacks done globally

Get a visualization/map of login attempts to your environment across the globe, both successful ( 🟡 yellow dots) and unsuccessful (🔴 red dots), along with a detailed report including dark web scan, privileged role exposure, secure score, and many more. 

It will help you understand whether you are under attack or not, and if you are, where the attacks are happening and what actions need to be taken. 

To access a visual representation of login attempts, contact us today and receive a complimentary map and detailed report.


The Microsoft Zero Trust Security model fundamentally changes cybersecurity by treating every connection attempt as potentially hostile, requiring stringent authentication and authorization for all users and devices inside and outside the network. This model addresses the complexities of modern IT environments—spanning on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures—through explicit verification, least privilege access, and assuming breach. These ensure security across digital assets, enhancing defences with continuous validation, segmentation, and real-time threat detection.

By adopting the Zero Trust model, organizations can reduce security risks and enhance operational efficiency, integrating advanced measures such as multi-factor authentication, endpoint encryption, and adaptive access controls. Embracing Zero Trust allows businesses to protect their digital estate effectively, building resilience against evolving threats. Contact us today for a complimentary Threat Landscape Review to visualize vulnerabilities and secure your digital environment.


Published by Hyun-Jin Im June 4, 2024