Network security has become more challenging for large companies whose employees, devices, and applications no longer reside within one easily defended perimeter. Zero trust security, which operates under the assumption that every user, device, and application is unsafe until proven otherwise, provides a solution to this challenge. Let’s take a look at three ways zero trust security can benefit your enterprise.
3 Zero trust security benefits for large companies
Zero trust security benefits large companies by providing greater protection and more specific security and access policies. Plus, the tools and solutions you deploy to implement zero trust security can provide additional network management and end-user benefits.
1. Increased visibility
The foundation of zero trust security is “never trust, always verify,” and you can’t verify without visibility. To implement zero trust, you need to know exactly what devices, users, applications, and services access your network, where they reside, and what their potential vulnerabilities are. In addition, you need to monitor the traffic to and from all your zero trust network objects so you can spot unusual activity and quickly react to potential breaches.
You achieve this level of granular visibility into your network using a combination of tools, including SIEM (security information and event management) and zero trust inventory management and assessment. Often these features are rolled together into a single solution, either as a standalone visibility tool or as a more comprehensive platform.
Gaining visibility through your zero trust implementation will improve your overall network management because you’ll have complete control over all enterprise traffic, devices, users, and applications. Many zero trust solutions also use automation tools—such as automatic discovery or AI threat detection—to cut back on the amount of time your engineers spend on day-to-day network management and monitoring tasks.
2. Improved end-user experience
On a traditional enterprise network, users are required to create complicated and unique passwords that can be difficult to remember. Users have to spend time entering and re-entering lengthy passwords or calling IT to troubleshoot login issues, which reduces productivity and frustrates staff. Often, users respond by following bad practices such as writing complex passwords on a sticky note or changing one or two characters at each password reset, compromising security.
Since zero trust security requires verification for every access request, you can’t fully implement zero trust without rethinking the way you handle identity management. You should invest in a unified identity and access management (IAM) platform that supports zero trust principles and security controls, such as single sign-on (SSO), passwordless authentication, and multi-factor authentication (MFA). A zero trust IAM solution should integrate with your other zero trust security technologies—for instance, Okta is a trusted provider and works seamlessly with ZPE’s vendor-neutral Nodegrid platform.
By implementing a zero trust IAM solution, you’re not just improving your overall enterprise network security; you’re also improving the end-user experience. For example, SSO allows users to log in to all their applications and systems without re-authenticating each time. MFA increases security by requiring authentication using something the user knows (like a username or password) and something the user owns (like a device or security key). Still, it also allows for less complex passwords that are easier to remember.
Essentially, with zero trust IAM, you get the best of both worlds. Users are less frustrated and more productive because they can conveniently access the tools they need for their job. Your enterprise network is more secure because everyone is following best practices.
3. More precise security and policies
A traditional security model typically uses a “castle and moat” approach, putting one large security perimeter around your network and trusting that everything inside the “moat” is safe. Every potential vulnerability needs to be addressed with security controls at the perimeter, leading to a bloated, patchwork collection of appliances and solutions that may or may not be covering all your bases. With this kind of approach, you could end up with gaps in your security that leave some of your infrastructures vulnerable.
Zero trust security instead uses network segmentation and security tools to create micro-perimeters around the enterprise resources you need to protect. This allows you to implement the exact security measures required for each part of your infrastructure, so every enterprise resource is consistently protected. You can use a next-generation firewall to segment your network, create micro-perimeters, monitor traffic to and from each segment, and enforce access controls.
You can additionally create more precise access control policies to limit access to each micro-perimeter to the specific people, devices, and essential services. And with a unified, zero trust-ready IAM solution, you can manage authentication across your entire infrastructure from one pane of glass, rather than wrangling privileges for each individual cloud platform or third-party service.
Zero trust shrinks your security perimeter to smaller network segments, allowing you to apply the best security controls to keep each micro-perimeter protected. This also enables you to create more precise policies limiting who and what has access to each micro-perimeter. As a result, you don’t have to worry about any weak points or gaps in your network security.
Take advantage of these zero trust security benefits
Zero trust security benefits large companies by increasing their overall network visibility, improving their end-users’ security hygiene, and allowing for more precise security controls and access policies.
To successfully implement zero trust, you need a flexible platform that integrates all of your tools, features, and controls under one simplified interface. ZPE Cloud, for example, is a vendor-neutral cloud platform that serves as a single security gateway with seamless integrations with third-party services like Okta and Palo Alto Panorama. This allows you to take advantage of the zero trust security benefits with a customized solution that supports your enterprise’s unique goals and requirements.