The true business potential of Zero Trust
Companies that secure their IT with the Zero Trust principle thus receive more than just up-to-date protection of their data. You get a booster for your business, with which you can also set yourself apart from the competition technologically.
The number of challenges that companies are currently facing challenges organizations immensely. What became apparent during the pandemic has now also come true in the period that followed: agility is the key. This applies both to business models and to the internal structures of companies. An important area is the organization of the cooperation. And while work culture could change quickly, IT was often slow to follow. Unless she relies on the cloud.
For many areas of the company, the cloud is an agile tool for providing functions or computing power at short notice and as needed. The IT security specialist Zscaler asked around 1,900 top decision-makers around the world, among other things, how they rate cloud use in their company. The result of the “State of Zero Trust Transformation Report 2023”: Only nine out of a hundred decision-makers in Germany are very confident that they are already exploiting the full potential of their cloud infrastructure. This puts Germany in last place in an international comparison. In Europe the average is 14 percent, in North and South America it is 42 percent. So what are companies in Germany overlooking?
More security, more performance for the entire company
German companies know that the cloud is a booster for business. This is shown not only by the Zscaler data, but also, for example, by the current cloud monitor from KPMG and Bitkom Research: 78 percent of the more than 500 companies surveyed use the cloud to increase their agility and innovative ability. This also includes IT security from the cloud. With their help, 72 percent of companies that were exposed to ransomware attacks in the past reduced the risk of these attacks.
One of these measures is Zero Trust, most often delivered from the cloud. The concept is effective against attacks with encryption software or against lateral movements by attackers, because every data access by every user is first checked by a control authority. Renowned IT security companies such as Zscaler describe the Zero Trust principle as “never trust, always verify”.
“The ability to digitize business models on this basis and thus act as a business enabler also serves to exploit the full potential of Zero Trust from the cloud,” says Kevin Schwarz, Director Transformation Strategy at Zscaler EMEA. Used strategically, Zero Trust could achieve much more for any digitization strategy. Whether remote access to machines in production environments, the secure connectivity of all data transmission paths, data analysis on a large scale or the unrestricted use of office software for thousands of users at the same time: “In hybrid working environments, the focus should no longer be on network protection, but on seamless security and high-performance access to applications, no matter where they are stored, and that securely,” says Schwarz.
This convenient access is playing an increasingly important role, because the work experience is significantly better for employees if they can work from any location and from almost any device without restrictions. “Companies that are already opting for the flexibility of hybrid working are much more attractive to young professionals than companies that are pursuing an office-first strategy,” says Kevin Schwarz. Already today, the number one reasons for switching to a cloud-based Zero Trust architecture, in addition to increased security, are the simplifications and performance associated with hybrid working models.
Relevance of zero trust is increasing
The companies surveyed by Zscaler indicate that the relevance of applications with low latencies and high performance – Industrial Internet of Things, 5G, Machine Learning – will increase again in the next twelve months. 79 percent of decision-makers in North and South America think so. In Europe, 55 percent see it that way.
However, many companies are still not convinced that they will benefit from a decisive change. According to Zscaler data, 62 percent of European company decision-makers think that their IT infrastructure, which has grown over the years – firewalls, VPN access, etc. – is sufficient for this. Just over a third agree that secure transformation cannot be accomplished with traditional systems. After all, almost half (48 percent) of the respondents believe that Zero Trust Network Access offers advantages for remote access over firewalls and VPNs. Kevin Schwarz: “In the future, this rate will continue to rise, since the proportion of cloud-based systems clearly predominates and companies therefore have to ask themselves whether a classic architecture is not more of a hindrance here. to ensure the company performs well and to enable innovation. Especially in times with very different challenges for companies and their employees.”
The “State of Zero Trust Transformation Report 2023” already shows that this development is extremely likely. The clock is ticking against legacy lovers: 39 percent of companies are working towards the introduction of Zero Trust. 21 percent have already activated the booster for their business.
Our contribution “Status of the Zero Trust Transformation of companies” at the Handelsblatt Annual Conference CyberSecurity 2022: