Zero trust is a concept whose time has come. Organizations are turning to zero trust to secure their organizations and enable the hybrid workplace. Yet, if you listen to all the marketing hype, you’re likely still confused about exactly what zero trust means. In his recent Frost & Sullivan Executive Brief, “How Zscaler Delivers on the Promise of the Zero Trust Architecture,” Toph Whitmore, Industry Director, Cybersecurity at Frost & Sullivan demystifies the meaning of zero trust, examines the evolution of both the modern workplace and the threat landscape and related security consequences, and discusses the tangible benefits of implementing a successful zero trust architecture.
Demystifying zero trust
Ultimately, zero trust can be defined as a framework for securing organizations, based on the principles of least-privileged access and the idea that no user, device, workload, or application should be implicitly trusted. Zero trust embraces the concept of “never trust, always verify” and fundamentally assumes that everything is hostile and the network has been compromised. Users and applications are securely connected using identity and context, enforcing business policy at the edge, close to the user.
According to the brief, zero trust further emphasizes dynamic security monitoring of data at rest and in motion, and that it must be continuously evaluated and re-evaluated on a session-by-session basis throughout its journey. As Toph further suggests, this cannot be achieved with flat network architectures that leverage firewalls and VPNs. It takes a cloud-based platform that delivers security as a cloud service to inspect encrypted traffic at scale and successfully apply the principles of a zero trust architecture.
Things have changed (a lot)
The way we work has changed. This shift started several years ago, but the pandemic served as a catalyst to dramatically accelerate it. Organizations adjusted their focus to adopt a cloud-first model, migrating applications from the data center to the cloud. And, in their urgent need to enable remote work, organizations leveraged VPNs to connect users to the corporate network. The unintended consequence to the organization was a dramatically expanded attack surface, as every home office became an access point into the network and an open opportunity for attackers.
The result? A threat landscape that rapidly evolved as attackers moved to take advantage of these circumstances. Attackers leveraged these new vulnerabilities to compromise the network and move laterally to locate and steal sensitive data and other valuable information. Traditional security architectures that focused on protecting the network perimeter became instantly irrelevant in defending organizations against these threats in the now perimeter-less world.
Tackling the challenges with zero trust
So, how can organizations tackle these challenges and secure the modern hybrid workforce? “Enterprise organizations are choosing the flexibility of full cloud security platform ecosystems over the complexity of integrating point solutions, ” states Toph. A cloud-based zero trust architecture, like the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange, provides a solid foundation upon which organizations can build their cybersecurity ecosystem and address their business needs.
The Zero Trust Exchange delivers, as he points out, “a full-fledged zero trust architecture, with cloud edge-delivered cybersecurity and secure connectivity from anything to anything.” With more than 150 points of presence, the Zero Trust Exchange is uniquely positioned to deliver a fast and secure user experience and uncompromised security.
In the Frost & Sullivan executive brief, Toph identifies the tangible benefits that organizations that adopt the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange can achieve:
- Consistently faster connectivity and performance
- Improved user experience
- Dramatically reduced costs
- Streamlined M&A activities
- Reduced attack surface
- Reduced threat of compromise
- Limited blast radius of attacks
- Comprehensive data protection
Where to go next
While it may have seemed a radical idea a few years ago, zero trust is today’s reality. Zscaler is uniquely positioned to help businesses reduce risk, eliminate their attack surface, and prevent the lateral movement of threats with the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange. According to Toph, “Zscaler can protect the progressive enterprise and its modern way of work. And the more enterprises that adopt such ZTA solutions, the more it will erode opportunistic ransomware business operations, and maybe, just maybe, put some threat actors out of work."
If you are thinking about implementing a zero trust architecture, be sure to read the full Frost & Sullivan Executive Brief to examine more thoroughly the concept of a zero trust architecture and what it can do for your business and security posture.