Zero Trust Security Drivers
Here are a few trends in the modern IT environment that are driving adoption of the zero trust security model.
In the early days of the cloud, cloud migration raised serious security concerns. Organizations were hesitant to outsource IT infrastructure to a third party, concerned that they would lose control.
However, today the cloud has become ubiquitous, even for sensitive and mission critical workloads. Cloud adoption continues to grow, especially in the wake of COVID-19. Research shows most organizations increased their use of the cloud with the transition to remote work.
Cloud computing is changing the dynamics of enterprise access and security. A decentralized infrastructure means that any security technology based on peripherals or endpoints is no longer effective. A firewall cannot protect a SaaS application because the application is not hosted on the corporate network, and the server is outside the organization’s control. Security and access control must be implemented where data, users, and devices reside.
Bring Your Own Device
BYOD is a strategy that allows an organization’s employees to use their personal devices for work-related activities. These activities include tasks such as accessing email, connecting to a corporate network, accessing corporate applications and data.
BYOD devices may be laptops, smartphones, other mobile devices, and storage equipment like USB drives and external hard drives. BYOD has strong benefits for both employees (who enjoy improved productivity with devices of their choice) and companies (who eliminate the cost of purchasing and maintaining hardware). But it also poses serious security risks.
Organizations implementing BYOD must have a robust method for authenticating users on personal devices and performing contextual assessment of access requests. For example, users connecting from a personal device at 3 am should be treated differently than if the same users would connect from a workstation at the office at 2 pm.
Zero trust is highly suited to BYOD use cases, and provides a solution for granular, secure remote access to applications while reducing management overhead. Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is a security solution that can address security, manageability, and user experience challenges for BYOD devices.
In today’s work environment, employees can work from anywhere and commonly perform work tasks outside business hours. This improves productivity but complicates security and access.
It is extremely common for employees to cross network boundaries, including networks that are considered hostile, on their route to accessing corporate systems. How can organizations allow secure, remote access to company resources?
Remote access services such as virtual private network (VPN), remote desktop service (RDS), virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and desktop as a service (DaaS) are commonly used. But these solutions are not designed for a mobile-first environment and are not sufficiently secure.
Zero trust solutions like ZTNA help organizations regulate and standardize remote access. On the one hand, they give employees the freedom to access the network from different locations at different times without being restricted to specific interfaces such as clunky virtual desktops. On the other hand, they smartly authenticate employees and limit access to sensitive resources in risky scenarios.
Related content: Read our guide to zero trust access.