Zero trust access is considered to be a holistic approach when it comes to robust network security. This is because it helps fortify defense not just at the perimeter but also throughout the network—even internally. This approach limits access to the apps and network resources to ensure only authorized users can access them. It renders the applications and workloads dark, which results in constriction of the attack surface. Further, it helps limit the lateral movement, should a cyber criminal succeed in breaking into the business network.
Despite the buzz that the zero trust approach has created, the uptake so far is minuscule. This is because, implementing the zero trust access approach comes with its own set of challenges. Although, it is technology-agnostic, it creates disparate systems—that cannot communicate amongst themselves—when implemented.
One of the biggest challenges organizations face while implementing zero trust access is that of technical debt, where old applications become obsolete and do not tie in with zero trust architecture. These old applications can neither be used for future development of applications nor are zero-trust-aware. They are devoid of authentication methods, which prevent them from allowing contextual modifications. Of course organizations can choose to replace these applications, except that it will be a huge cost to incur. Such investments affect the decisioning against implementation of the zero trust access approach.
Organizations undergoing digital transformation will need additional technology should they choose to implement this approach. This is because IoT, IIoT, cloud, and DevOps do not support the zero trust access approach. This again requires additional investment.
That said, with a proliferation in the number of smart, IoT-driven devices, organizations will need zero trust access to authenticate these devices. They will need to deploy identity-based privileged access for all users—whether devices or humans. They will also need multi-factor authentication in order to wrest greater control on authentication mechanisms and to ensure their networks are fully protected—both from internal and external threats. In view of this future need, the industry is making a collective effort to tide over the current challenges that will improve adoption of this useful approach.
The article has been written by Neetu Katyal, Content and Marketing Consultant
She can be reached on LinkedIn.