Challenges of Implementing Zero Trust
As you implement zero trust in your organization, you will need to consider and overcome the following challenges.
Modern organizations typically have infrastructure consisting of proxies, servers, business applications, databases, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. Some infrastructure components may be running on-premises while others are in the cloud.
It can be difficult to secure each segment of the network while meeting the requirement of a hybrid environment, with a mix of legacy and new applications and hardware. This complex environment makes it hard for organizations to achieve complete zero-trust implementation.
Operationalizing Zero Trust with Multiple Tools
To support a zero trust model, organizations use a variety of tools including:
- Zero trust network access (ZTNA) or software defined perimeter (SDP) tools
- Secure access service edge (SASE) or VPN solutions
- Microsegmentation tools
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
- Single sign-on (SSO) solutions
- Device approval solutions
- Intrusion prevention systems (IPS)
However, many of these tools are specific to operating systems, devices, and cloud providers. Many organizations do not support a homogenous set of devices. They run some services in on-premise data centers, others in one or more clouds, have users on Windows, Mac, and other network-connected devices, and might run servers on multiple Linux distributions and multiple Windows Server versions.
It is difficult to ensure zero trust tools operate consistently across all tools and environments, especially in a large organization.
Related content: Read our guide to zero trust architecture
Creating a zero trust model in a large organization demands buy-in from stakeholders to ensure effective training, planning, and implementation. A zero trust project affects nearly everyone, so all leaders and managers should agree on the approach. Typically, organizations are slow to implement change. Workplace politics alone can threaten the effectiveness of the project.
Cost and Effort
Organizations need to invest time, human and financial resources to implement zero trust. A zero trust model requires defining who can access which areas of their network and create appropriate network segmentation—this requires careful planning and collaboration.
Organizations will need to hire or allocate personnel to implement network segmentation and maintain it on an ongoing basis. The better zero trust systems integrate with the environment, the easier this will become.