Considering the continued rise in cyberattacks and increasing regulations for data protection and information security, Zero Trust as a foundational framework has gained a lot of traction. In fact, according to a recent research, the market for zero trust security will reach $51.6B by 2026.

The Zero Trust framework is based on the philosophy of “never trust, always verify”. It is an approach to IT security that employs the concept of least privileged access – giving an entity only the necessary permissions required to fulfill their role or function.

At the recent European Identity and Cloud Conference 2022, a panel of security experts discussed the best practices for implementing Zero Trust. They emphasized having an ‘identity first philosophy’ to implement Zero Trust security. Frank Smal, Channel Director of EMEA at Entrust who manages Identity solutions was part of the conversation. On being asked about what Zero Trust is, Frank responded that it is not a single solution, but rather a strategy to approach holistic security – validate all your users, machines, and transactions; control access with granular policies; and encrypt all the data transactions.

He also highlighted how, over time, new threat vectors have emerged due to accelerated digital transformation and changing user preferences. There is a growing remote workforce accessing enterprise assets from anywhere, and from any device. Additionally, the workforce is not limited to employees only – there are distributors, partners and third party teams connected to your systems with different access privileges.

How an identity centric approach aligns with Zero Trust principles

The most important step in building a Zero Trust ecosystem is to establish a single source of control for your entire ecosystem, both on premises and in the cloud. This means consolidating to a single identity and access management (IAM) solution – preferably one that offers advanced adaptive authentication for high assurance security. This IAM platform should enable customers to implement a Zero Trust approach by providing user authentication, authorization, and access control to the right resources anytime anywhere.

To have modern identity as the foundation of a Zero Trust ecosystem, organizations need to understand that it is not only about multi-factor authentication (MFA). It is all about adopting a systematic approach which involves:

  • Getting buy in from the leadership team and creating awareness about the change which is about to happen – employee surveys are a good way to do that
  • Identifying pain points in the current security solution and prioritizing the resolution (no big bang approach please). Pick relevant use cases first with a fixed scope. Prioritizing the most critical workflows will help to generate a stronger ROI for your Zero Trust initiative. As well, small wins make a big impact to get people onboard with the change
  • Implement flexible MFA which can be seamlessly operated by the distributed workforce. Remove passwords from the authentication process and get contextual access controls to verify the users and devices in play before granting access. And lastly, validate and monitor identities continuously during the session
  • Committing to the principle of least privilege – Start with a review of broad user requirements. Try to determine generally what entitlements each user needs and create governance that empowers each one, but limits their access to apps, data, and networks they typically do not need. Remember, overprivileged users often lead to breaches
  • Investing in the right IAM technology which adapts to the security needs of the enterprise. The solution must be flexible to deploy, quick to scale, easy to integrate, and must efficiently manage identities from a simplified interface for easy monitoring. From an end user perspective, the IAM solution provides users with a seamless method to verify their identities and the devices in use to raise the access request

To know more, check out how our IAM solution can help you achieve Zero Trust security.