By Vijay BhartiIn the past few years, remote access has witnessed an unprecedented expansion. Plus, the pandemic nudged organizations to transition to telework, adopt cloud services, and accommodate a myriad of electronic devices. With faster migrations to the digital and greater consumption of data by endpoint devices and increasing prevalence of Bring Your Own Device…
By Vijay Bharti
In the past few years, remote access has witnessed an unprecedented expansion. Plus, the pandemic nudged organizations to transition to telework, adopt cloud services, and accommodate a myriad of electronic devices. With faster migrations to the digital and greater consumption of data by endpoint devices and increasing prevalence of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), adhering to an effective digital strategy that follows stringent regulatory requirements is imperative for a successful digital transformation.
Security and privacy concerns in the digital space mandate managing inconsistencies and closing gaps in the IT infrastructure and ensuring data is protected from cyber threats. Data security and privacy is critical in the modern work landscape, but the implementation of an effective security model can be a major hurdle for organizations grappling with data security issues or aiming to go digital in this age. Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) can provide a robust solution for improving cybersecurity and a seamless digital experience for today’s digital enterprises.
What is ZTA?
Zero Trust aims to analyze how users interact with data to determine who gets access to the organization’s assets and what protection measures and access controls are necessary. Some pivotal principles govern the ZTA model. First, ZTA assumes that all traffic zipping through an organization’s network is insecure and hostile. All networks whether internal or external are treated precariously to foolproof all points of communication between entities. Second, compared to the older security solutions like the virtual private networks (VPN), ZTA solutions embody the principle of zero implicit trust to enable secure access to internal applications for remote users. Access is only granted on a need-to-know, least-privileged basis by continuously verifying access and identity and preventing potential threats or attacks by malicious users.
What are the challenges in the adoption of ZTA?
When it comes to implementation, executing a Zero Trust Model across the organizational infrastructure can be a challenge as its adoption requires the alignment of several stakeholders and multiple channels and environments. Some organizations have successfully made the transition and adopted the architecture of the Zero Trust Model, but many continue to use traditional VPN eliminating the host of benefits that ZTA can bring about. ZTA can be difficult to implement. So, what are these hindrances to implementing ZTA? How can organizations safely migrate to ZTA without impacting their ability to disturb their business operations?
Here is a look at the top challenges and issues that deployment of a ZTA project is likely to encounter:
Setting the right expectations for a smoother shift
The importance of setting the right external and internal expectations for making a move to ZTA so there is a little interruption in the workforce can often be overlooked. Unless all stakeholders involved are aware of the proven benefits of ZTA over traditional security models, delays due to user experience concerns can impact the successful adoption of a robust cybersecurity model like ZTA.
Legal and regulatory compliance concerns
Legal and compliance concerns like HIPAA controls may significantly impact an organization’s willingness to embed a new security model in its network. Even if they aren’t a deciding factor in the purchase of ZTA, compliance officers may find showstopping concerns that need to be addressed before any new addition of technology like the ZTA.
Understanding organizational readiness for the change
Legacy technology can prove to be another major hindrance when adopting ZTA. As organizations are acclimated to older processes and security models, it is hard to adopt the new, the untried, and the untested. Unless there is a transparent communication channel with different businesses and stakeholders the hangover of traditional security technologies can hold back and become an obstructing factor.
Defining the ZTA roadmap precisely
The lack of ability or resources to develop a plan can negatively affect its implementation. The size and the type of organization have much to say about how ZTA can be rolled out. Thus, identifying where the organization stands and defining the roadmap accurately are key imperatives to the success of the ZTA infrastructure. Unaddressed questions like which operational areas will require new technology and identifying where to start and what suits the organization’s current and future needs best can cause setbacks to a successful ZTA adoption.
Leveraging existing tools and technology effectively
Unification issues across hybrid networks and cloud provider infrastructures can impact micro-segmentation and user verification processes in ZTA. Where does ZTA fit into the present framework of the security infrastructure of an organization in terms of using existing tools and technologies? How are the current access models of ZTA adopted? How to ensure ZTA is user-friendly so users can adopt it quickly? These can become the impeding factors while adopting the ZTA model.
Resources, Effort, and time involved
The pandemic has pushed organizations to go digital. This means that they have already invested resources and manpower into the existing VPN infrastructure that fits their hybrid or remote work model. To this end, budgetary allocations, effort, and time can be crippling constraints concerning the adoption of a new security model like the ZTA.
Should your organization transition to ZTA?
Despite the preliminary hurdles, ZTA is regarded as a paradigm shift in the security landscape. Many enterprises today have their networks compromised because of over-reliance on network perimeters like VPNs which leaves hackers with easy access to launch ransomware attacks, and these can often remain undetected for a long time.
It would augur well for organizations to invest in hardening their virtual walls and using firewall configurations that are best suited to serve the reality of today. And, this makes a compelling case for ZTA, embedded in the principle of “never trust, always verify” for a complex technology landscape with data, processes, devices, infrastructure, and users spread beyond the traditional security boundaries.
If you’re on a journey to adopt ZTA, you may refer to the Happiest Minds’ ZTA brochure to learn more about its components, our services & offerings on the link.
The author is a SVP, CISO, Head of Security Practice at Happiest Minds Technologies
Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETCIO.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETCIO.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly.
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