Understanding Trusted Time: Its Significance in Network Security

Addressing the concerns of IT specialists venturing into zero trust architecture, this piece underscores the critical need for accurate time synchronization, highlighting the importance of dependable network time and the time server’s role in providing it.

Understanding Trusted Time: Its Significance in Network Security

Image Courtesy of Microchip

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a cybersecurity strategy that flips the traditional security model on its head. Instead of assuming trust within the network, it operates on the principle of “never trust, always verify.” Zero Trust Architecture extends this approach across the entire enterprise, ensuring that every user and device is rigorously authenticated and authorized before accessing sensitive resources. This means implementing measures like Identity and Access Management (IAM), segmenting the network into smaller, more secure zones, and automating security processes.

Why Time Matters

One often overlooked aspect of network security is time synchronization. Imagine if every clock in your house showed a different time; chaos would ensue. The same applies to computer networks. Discrepancies in time settings can disrupt logs, telemetry, and critical processes, rendering them ineffective. This underscores the importance of accurate time synchronization across the network.

What Is Trusted Time™?

Trusted Time™ refers to using a reliable time server that not only provides accurate time but also adheres to stringent security protocols. In a Zero Trust environment, it’s crucial to ensure that the time server is compatible with the network’s security requirements. The SyncServer® S600/S650 time servers are exemplary in this regard, offering exceptional timing accuracy and robust security features.

These time servers align with the core pillars of Zero Trust, including users, devices, networks, applications, and analytics. They serve as trusted guardians of time and security within the network, ensuring that time-sensitive operations run smoothly while maintaining stringent security standards.

Core Pillars of the Zero Trust Model

For companies transitioning to a zero trust architecture, Microchip’s application note offers valuable insights into the significance of Trusted Time within a zero trust network. This document elucidates how the SyncServer S600/S650 time server guarantees time security and adherence to zero trust principles. It contains an exhaustive list of security features specific to the S600/S650 server, demonstrating their alignment with the foundational pillars of the zero trust model. Security teams can utilize this comprehensive checklist to assess the compliance of time servers with the network’s security standards.

Infographic is a simplified representation of the core components outlined in NIST Special Publication 800-207: Zero Trust Architecture. It demonstrates how these pillars relate to the NIST data plane and control plane.

Moving towards a Zero Trust architecture requires careful consideration of every aspect of network security, including time synchronization. By leveraging Trusted Time sources like the SyncServer® S600/S650, organizations can bolster their security posture and mitigate risks associated with untrusted time sources.

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