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Zero-Trust Adoption Challenges & How to Overcome Them?

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On December 29, 2022, Slack, a renowned American software provider company, witnessed a cyberattack. Hackers misused their private code repositories on GitHub. 

Another data breach happened on December 23, 2022, with Pepsi Bottling Ventures. Cybercriminals stole their customer information, leaving everyone shocked.  

This reflects how cyber attacks are becoming prevalent among billion-dollar firms. 

But it’s not just big firms. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are equally on hackers’ radars. A recent report revealed that 1-in-5 cyber breach victims were SMBs, with poor security measures.

As a result, businesses have started adopting the zero-trust security framework. 

In fact, American President Joe Biden’s administration announced an executive order to adopt the zero-trust approach.

However, zero-trust adoption involves several challenges that may restrict companies from implementing it. 

In this post, we will discuss the top zero-trust adoption challenges and the best practices to overcome them.  

First, let’s understand the zero-trust security model. 

What Is Zero Trust?

Zero trust is a security strategy that helps minimize cyberattacks through its key principle – “always verify, never trust.” 

Simply put, it’s a modern cybersecurity framework. It doesn’t support the traditional “castle-and-moat” approach that considers everything (data, network, users, etc.) safe inside the company. 

The zero-trust model proactively analyzes and verifies the security status of networks, endpoints, identities, and other crucial resources leveraging intelligent authentication methods.

The reason? 

The advent of hybrid and remote working, cloud computing, and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies have disturbed and decentralized the organizational environments. 

These factors and poor security protocols are the prime drivers for zero-trust adoption.

How Does It Work?

Here’s how the zero-trust cybersecurity model works.

  • Identification: Identify the protection surfaces, including data, applications, services, and other assets. 
  • Micro-Segmentation: Break down the protection surfaces into multiple security zones called “micro-segments.” 

They comprise micro-perimeters, such as data access permissions, security policies, perimeter protection like firewalls, and more. This practice helps isolate environments to reduce the chances of cyber attacks.

  • Authentication: Grant individual user privileges according to their job roles. Each session, application, software, device, and user must pass all the authentication procedures. 

Clearing security checks should enable them to access internal business resources.

Zero-Trust Adoption: 3 Key Challenges and Best Practices 

Now that you’ve understood how zero trust can help businesses, it’s time to comprehend its adoption challenges. 

We will also share the best practices to overcome the challenges. 

#1: Initial Implementation Is Time-Consuming and Tedious

As discussed, the first step to zero-trust adoption is identifying protection surfaces. 

These surfaces include vital cyber assets, such as –

  • Operating systems
  • SaaS applications and software
  • Mobile and IoT devices
  • Business websites
  • Web servers 

Analyzing hundreds of cyber assets and determining the entry points for hackers is time-consuming and tedious. 

The solution? 

Deploy a state-of-the-art cyber asset attack surface management (CAASM) tool. It’s an all-in-one software that enables businesses of all sizes to identify, manage, and protect the crucial entry points for hackers. 

It helps businesses create a unified view of all the cyber assets universe without hassles.

With complete visibility across the IT infrastructure, businesses can recognize cyber assets connected to their networks. They can detect vulnerabilities that cybercriminals might leverage to exploit the system. CAASM thus provides better control over cyber assets, reducing the initial implementation time. 

#2: It Can Create Cybersecurity Gaps 

When implemented incorrectly, the zero-trust framework can create security gaps. 

For instance, businesses deploy single sign-on (SSO) software as part of the zero-trust model. 

SSO is an authentication method that allows employees to securely authenticate with multiple devices, software applications, and websites by leveraging a single set of credentials.

Say a user logs in to a Gmail account. 

The SSO software automatically authenticates Google apps like Google Analytics, AdSense, YouTube, and more.

SSO thus helps reduce employee password fatigue. They do not need to type passwords every time. 

Besides, the employees don’t need to raise helpdesk tickets for forgetting passwords. 

What’s more?

SSO makes it easier for the IT team to onboard new members. However, SSO software may not support the apps a business has implemented. 

In such instances, deploy an advanced password manager that integrates with the SSO identity provider (IdP). It offers role-based access control (RBAC) and multi-factor authentication (MFA). 

This can help bridge the security gap by allowing easy logins across multiple applications while ensuring authentication.  

#3: Consistent Maintenance Isn’t Easy

Maintaining a zero-trust environment requires rigorous effort.

Security professionals should continuously monitor cyber assets to prevent the firm from cybercrime. 

Ensuring a passive approach while managing new software or hardware deployments, handling staff accounts, updating the existing systems, and more is draining.   

In addition, the security teams need to track user permissions frequently during a new employee onboarding or offboarding. 

Any compromised password or unauthorized data access can lead to dire repercussions. 

In such instances, deploy an intelligent risk assessment and monitoring system. It allows businesses to monitor their cyber assets continuously and provides a real-time view of risks and threats. 

What’s more? Businesses can make strategic and informed decisions while keeping the firm secure. This can further help them earn the trust of employees, customers, and partners.

Conclusion

For businesses managing a hybrid workforce, zero trust can prove a game changer.

Deploying a zero-trust strategy helps businesses analyze compromised assets, take proactive actions against cybersecurity threats, and reduce the chances of unauthorized data access. 

Although it involves several challenges, you can overcome them by deploying the practices and tools shared in this post.

So, strengthen your organization’s cybersecurity by adopting a zero-trust framework.

Author Bio

Carl-Torrence-Content-Marketer-at-Marketing-Digest

Carl Torrence is a Content Marketer at Marketing Digest. His core expertise lies in developing data-driven content for brands, SaaS businesses, and agencies. In his free time, he enjoys binge-watching time-travel movies and listening to Linkin Park and Coldplay albums.

Carl can be reached online on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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