‘In Zero Trust we Trust’, is how one would describe the biggest security transformation that has occurred in the past 6 months. With the unprecedented rise in remote workforces, and the accompanying security and operational challenges it has brought about, the mantra for a secure business model in 2020 has revolved around implementing a Zero Trust Model. And while the implementation of a Zero Trust Model may encompass a significant overhaul of a company’s IT infrastructure, in the end, a Zero Trust Architecture carries with it a number of major benefits, on the business front, as well as the security front. Moving from a ‘Trust but verify’ model to a ‘Never Trust. Always Verify’ Model has become a security imperative in the current scenario, given that traditional security models are ill equipped when it comes to securing remote users.
Why Zero Trust, and why now?
Organisations today need to take into account the risk associated with each request for access to their critical resources, given that a majority of these requests come from third party platforms, contractors, and, most important of all, remote workers. In this scenario, relying on network centric models carry with them several challenges and expose several vulnerabilities that may be exploited to the detriment of companies.
Deploying and operationalising a zero trust model tends to directly address and solve security challenges of this nature, and in the process, also help in streamlining businesses that are moving towards greater and secure adoption of digital transformation processes.
A Zero Trust model, in effect, moves away from the conventional, network-centric approach that traditional security models have come to rely on, and are instead moving towards a more nuanced approach that focuses on the identity of the users and the applications that only they are allowed to access. By focusing on user and device identity, and not assigning trust to any user by default, a zero trust model ensures a more rational approach to security.
We have outlined in summary, the security and business benefits associated with the adoption of a Zero trust Model, which can be used by IT teams to take forth the case for making this shift at the earliest:
- Secure and Controlled Adoption of the Cloud: A Zero Trust Model can help companies in rapid and secure adoption of the cloud. Unlike traditional models, Zero Trust based technologies are designed to adapt to the cloud. This not only leads to better compatibility, but also reduces complexity of the security architecture, since such technologies can support apps in public and private clouds, as well as hybrid environments. Given the application and identity centric nature of such solutions, security teams gain greater control over the application workloads and their accessibility as well,
- Better facilitation of Digital Transformation: With businesses rapidly adopting BYOD and other digital transformation processes like the internet of things, it is only plausible that adoption of such processes is facilitated by the adoption of a security posture that is in line with such digital transformation. A Zero Trust Model helps in the facilitation of such business processes by means of segmentation of workloads, and by allowing access of critical business resources to transformation engineers without compromising on security.
- Complete protection against breaches: A Zero trust model works on the conception of microsegmentation, which is the division and isolation of workloads and securing them individually. This helps security teams in better identification and alleviation of potential security threats. Zero Trust Models also employ a Split plane architecture, wherein the data plane, where actual data flow occurs, and the control plane, where the configuration and control of said data flow is done, are separated from each other. A combination of these features not only significantly reduces the exposed attack surface, but also protects enterprises from a variety of security threats. In addition, a continuous monitoring and visibility over all network traffic helps in rapid detection and response in the event of any potential vulnerabilities being detected.
- Greater agility in Business and Operations: A Zero Trust Model offers businesses the flexibility to implement their priorities rapidly throughout the organisations. Once a Zero Trust Model has been implemented, it can allow for easy transition of workforces from on premise to remote locations without the accompanying security challenges that traditional security models often carry with them. Zero Trust Models also allow for easier accessibility of required resources for third party contractors, and allow for secure deployment of company assets on customer sites as well, which allows for easier integration with customer assets, and hence, better security for them.
The implementation of a Zero Trust Model thus ensures significant business benefits for businesses. Not only do they ensure better visibility across the network, their focus on a continuous assessment of risk and trust associated with each user, each device, and each access request ensures all round, streamlined security. At the same time, with their scalable on demand, multi cloud flexibility, a Zero Trust Model ensures an enhanced user experience and a smooth transition and operation in the cloud.