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The state of zero trust in 2023

Thu 23 Feb 2023

Is 2023 the year of zero trust? At a time of heightened security risks, Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) are increasingly turning to these frameworks to secure their organisations.

By removing IT architectures that are trusting of users and implementing strict identity verification controls for every device, the risks of security breaches and successful cyber attacks can be reduced.

According to research published by cloud security firm Zscaler, more than 90% of IT leaders who have already started migrating to the cloud have implemented, are implementing or are planning to implement a zero trust security architecture. Modern workforces with distributed staff and countless endpoints require a different approach than in the past.

Rather than utilising a ‘trust but verify approach’, a zero trust ecosystem assumes there is no network edge and requires all users, no matter their location, to be verified and authorised before being given any access to applications or data.

Rapid zero trust growth

Thanks to the bottom-line business benefits that embracing zero trust network access (ZTNA) can bring, it can be an ideal framework to implement at firms with a digital-first model or distributed workforce. A zero trust approach can also be a driver for wider business transformation by future-proofing infrastructure and improving agility.

In recognition of the power of zero trust, a report by Gartner found that ZTNA is expected to be the fastest-growing segment in network security, growing at a rate of 31% in 2023. With zero trust making security protection more manageable for IT staff, these skilled workers will be able to focus on innovative activities and more valuable tasks.

As 2023 continues, the next step for zero trust will be communicating its benefits more clearly to C-Suite executives who may not yet be aware of the benefits it can bring to all parts of an organisation.

The aforementioned report by Zscaler found that only 22% of global IT decision-makers are ‘fully confident’ their organisation is leveraging the potential of their cloud infrastructure, which enables zero trust ecosystems.

For Nathan Howe, VP of Emerging Tech and 5G at Zscaler, while the state of zero trust transformation within firms today is strong, there are areas where more ambitious initiatives could be followed.

“There’s an incredible opportunity for IT leaders to educate business decision-makers on zero trust as a high-value business driver, especially as they grapple with providing a new class of hybrid workplace or production environment and reliant on a range of emerging technologies, such as IoT and OT, 5G and even the metaverse,” he adds.

To capitalise on zero trust, organisations are advised to align business strategies in the boardroom, reassess existing cloud  architectures, and explore how zero trust can support the adoption of emerging technologies.

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