Defeating the Challenges of Zero-Trust Networks for Cyber Resilience

Defeating the Challenges of Zero-Trust Networks for Cyber Resilience

Zero-trust network helps organizations combat severe threats to the IT infrastructure, yet many enterprises find it challenging to embrace this technology in their workflow.

Zero trust architecture is a robust security framework concentrating on securing the perimeter to protect IT infrastructure against internal and external threats. This security approach assumes threats are omnipresent and inevitable. Hence, every user, asset, and application in the organization’s network needs to be verified that they are not a threat every time before they proceed.

A zero-trust network is a perfect tool to implement in the security tech stack, especially while the world is embracing remote or hybrid work culture. But zero trust has a few own sets of challenges, which CISOs need to overcome to ensure effective implementation and network security.

According to a survey conducted by Fortinet in 2021 titled “Survey Reveals Challenges of Zero Trust Implementation,” 21% of respondents considered implementing zero-trust security would be extremely difficult, and 60% considered it would be moderately difficult.

Here are a few challenges of zero-trust architecture and ways to defeat them:

A zero-trust network is not an off-the-shelf solution

Adopting a zero-trust network does not include implementing a single tool or technology. Rather, it means revolutionizing an enterprise’s network security approach. CISOs should consider developing a strategic approach from scratch to ensure an efficient zero-trust environment. One of the major challenges in this approach is that it can create hidden gaps in the network’s protection while replacing legacy security solutions. 

Adopting to zero trust network requires determining the users and devices in the IT infrastructure and deploying tracking tools, managing access control, and other tasks to enhance the security measures. Moreover, organizations need to consider securing the organization hardware and software to secure the deployment and management efforts.

Also Read: Zero-Trust Architecture (ZTA): Five Best Practices to Secure Network

One of the most effective ways to defeat this challenge is to implement zero-trust in phases. Because this approach will help the SecOps teams to prioritize the aspects that need immediate attention. Additionally, it will assist the security teams in avoiding creation of hidden gaps that could lead to significant vulnerabilities. Implementation in phases will help the CISOs seamlessly spot and mitigate issues as they arise while revoking legacy solutions.

Zero trust network needs constant administration. 

Another challenge that zero trust security adoption imposes is that it requires constant administration. This security model works on a vast IT infrastructure with stringent security permissions defined to access the network. Industry 4.0 has made enterprises very volatile; hence resources are continuously taking up new roles and responsibilities or moving to a new location. SecOps teams need to update the access controls in real-time to ensure that the right resources have access to confidential information based on their job role. 

If the security teams fail to update the access controls in real-time, threat actors can gain access to sensitive information. Implementing regular maintenance tasks and audits into the security hygiene processes will help to defeat this challenge. Adoption of automation tools can minimize the need for constant manual administration by consistently checking for firmware upgrades or helping with managing security configuration changes. 

A zero-trust environment requires secure hardware.

The majority of purpose-driven appliances have inbuilt safeguards. But it is crucial for organizations to secure the enterprise hardware to implement a zero-trust environment. Patching and updating the current hardware or integrating new hardware that is secure is essential. If organizations fail to secure all the hardware in the network, they are still vulnerable to attacks.

Once the hardware is implemented and set, there is a possibility that attacks can come from on-site through additional hardware or software integrations. CISOs should consider evaluating and implementing devices that are secure from internal and external threats. 

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