Making the Business Case for Zero Trust Access

Zero Trust is a very popular term today for security products. If you want to understand more about the technical aspects of the architecture, see my previous blog “Can Zero Trust Fix What’s Wrong with IT Security?”.

Now let’s look at the business benefits of Zero Trust Access.

Historically, it has been a challenge to translate the technical aspects of a new security architecture into business benefits for folks in the board room and C-suite. The chiefs have heard ad nauseum over the years about the features of the latest and greatest security solutions from champions on their team hoping to get the go-ahead to implement them.

But when it comes to actually articulating the business benefits, discussions quickly bog down into a muddling muck of “we’re at risk” or “there’s a threat.” That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in those making the hard budget and security decisions. Still, who wants to take a chance? So in comes the latest magic bullet.

Honestly, there hasn’t been a strategic approach like Zero Trust Access for IT security architecture for two or three decades now. Instead, organizations for the most part have relied on the futile tactical approach of chasing every new threat with the latest one-off product.

Now organizations have far too many security solutions spread across their infrastructure – according to Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report, 70% of security professionals say they use products from six or more vendors. That makes it hard for even the best-funded IT security team to truly, effectively manage.

Zero Trust Access doesn’t, and shouldn’t, replace all those solutions. At least not immediately. But it can provide a verifiable, strategic impact on your business, unlike the obsolete castle and moat approaches of legacy perimeter defenses that didn’t evolve to meet the security demands of the modern hybrid enterprise.

The emergence of a Zero Trust Access strategic approach is a critical inflection point in the history of IT security architecture – one that enables you to pivot and more holistically protect the valuable assets across your entire enterprise for the first time in decades. Here are the benefits you can highlight when making the business case for Zero Trust Access in the board room and C-suite:

  • Ease of Use – Zero Trust Access takes the burden of security off the shoulders of your end users, making it easier for them to access the resources they need from wherever they need them. When done right, Zero Trust Access has a dramatic impact on productivity and a radical reduction in end user frustrations.
  • Strengthen Security – Everyone wants to make their security stronger, but typically they’ve tried to do this by adding a bunch of disparate, autonomous products. All that accomplishes is to add even more complexity and increase the chances something can go wrong. Zero Trust Access reduces complexity and increases visibility, while providing stronger user validation and increased controls over access to valuable business resources.
  • Enable Mobility – Mobility isn’t just about mobile devices – with Zero Trust, it’s about providing end users with access to information in ways that you couldn’t do securely before. Existing solutions like MDM treat mobile devices separately, with different rules than the rest of your devices. The last things organizations need is to create separate silos for security and increase the attack surface. Zero Trust Access goes beyond any user’s singular mobile device. It allows you to set consistent policies across all devices based on the security risk of a user’s specific situation. Its granular controls leverage a least privileged access approach, so you don’t open your infrastructure to attacks.
  • Embrace Digital Transformation – Risk has been one of the biggest drags on innovation that companies have had to face. Zero Trust Access allows organizations to accelerate transformational changes they need to achieve competitive advantage across the rapidly developing digital business world. With the robust security policies used to control access, Zero Trust Access lets your organization focus on using technology to drive innovation instead of worrying about security risks.
  • Consolidate for Local and Cloud – 90% of organizations will have a portion of their infrastructure in the cloud by the middle of this year, according to IDG’s 2018 Cloud Computing Survey. Zero Trust Access offers your users one central location to access all their resources, regardless of whether they are hosted locally or in the cloud. This makes access, control and auditing easier for all involved. The simple elegance of this approach is that you don’t have to rip and replace all your existing security solutions. In fact, most organizations would be better served to take an incremental approach that does not upset the IT security apple cart (and user experience!) while they implement Zero Trust Access.
  • Lower costs – Remember all those IT security solutions so many organizations are managing today? A Zero Trust Access strategy not only reduces those frustrating levels and layers of complexity, but also deeply slashes the support costs of managing so many different security solutions from so many vendors.

As you can see from these business benefits, Zero Trust Access isn’t just another silver bullet for your IT security. It’s a much more effective strategic approach to protecting your infrastructure and helping your business grow – one that can pay off immediately and over the long term.