Accelerating Our Economic Recovery: Zero Friction with Zero Trust

Written by Sean Blanton on September 2, 2021

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No event in our lifetimes has catalyzed such a profound paradigm shift as the mandate to shelter in place and the mass adoption of the hybrid workspace. Throughout the pandemic, small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) IT teams have been challenged to securely enable remote work. Even as organizations turn their attention toward economic recovery the hybrid workspace remains. This is driving many IT teams to adopt Zero Trust security, which focuses on managing and securing the identity of users and devices instead of an obsolete network perimeter.

According to the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development, “supporting small businesses is critical for COVID-19 recovery.” Therefore, the role that IT teams play in adapting to the challenges of the hybrid workspace cannot be understated. And make no mistake, managing hybrid workspaces is a challenge.

SME IT Teams Have Been Challenged by Remote Work

According to JumpCloud’s research, nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of SME IT professionals agree that they feel overwhelmed by remote work. Consequently, more than half plan to spend more on remote management technologies and security. For the remainder of 2021, the top priorities for SME IT leaders include securing remote work and making remote work easier. In fact, more than half of the SMEs we surveyed plan to have a Zero Trust security architecture implemented by the end of 2021 to help make this possible.

The Basics Of Zero Trust Security

Zero Trust security is a robust architecture that emerged during the past decade to address the rise of cloud services, mobile devices and remote workers, which have rendered the traditional network security model obsolete. 

Organizations that have not implemented a Zero Trust security architecture may be relying on stop-gap solutions, such as virtual private networks (VPN) or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). However, these legacy solutions may suffer from performance issues and a poor user experience since they were developed with a more traditional network perimeter in mind – cloud services and remote employees can stress the limits of legacy solutions.

IT teams should still be concerned with protecting valuable data, but they need to reimagine security in terms of access. This is the promise of Zero Trust security: establishing trust and managing access. This can be expressed as a simple framework:

  • Trusted Identity – Confirm the user.
  • Trusted Devices – Protect the device.
  • Trusted Network – Secure the network path.
  • Authorization Policies – Enforce least privileged authorization to access resources.

Essentially, a user must demonstrate that their identity, device, and connection are trustworthy before they can gain access to enterprise resources. However, managing these identities and access can be complex in hybrid workspace environments. According to ESG Research, Trends in Identity and Access Management: Cloud-driven Identities, the average organization says 30% of their cloud identities are overly permissive.

What Makes Up A Zero Trust Security Strategy

It is important to realize that Zero Trust security is not a solution, it is a mindset. There are many tools that an organization may deploy to help implement and manage a Zero Trust security architecture, including identity and access management (IAM), multi-factor authentication (MFA), device management and mobile device management (MDM), network authentication, and access controls.

One of the most popular solutions for identity management and authentication is Active Directory (AD), but with the shift to hybrid workspaces and heterogeneous environments, each new service (e.g. web applications, IaaS, macOS/Linux/iOS/Android devices) requires managing new identity bridges, which are further complicated by remote workers. This is because AD was designed to secure on-premise Windows-based resources and applications, while hybrid workspaces have spread valuable IT resources beyond the perimeter.

Instead, an emerging cloud-based architecture can extend the domain to users, devices, and IT resources located beyond the perimeter, while still centrally authenticating users, servers, applications, and systems among others. One major benefit to unifying resources into a single platform is reducing the cost and complexity of managing Zero Trust security.

JumpCloud And Zero Trust Security

JumpCloud has introduced “one directory to rule them all®” with its cloud-based approach to unifying on-premises and remote users, devices and IT services, including those devices and services that AD does not support. JumpCloud enables organizations to implement Zero Trust security by streamlining authentication, linking the identity of a user and a device, managing and enforcing access rights, and detecting behavioral anomalies.

JumpCloud’s cloud-based directory offers many benefits

Beyond Zero Trust, JumpCloud enables organizations to realize the benefits of a domainless enterprise through its cloud-based directory. This involves building unified identities, configuring and controlling devices across multiple operating systems, securely accessing anything from anywhere, and transforming logs into additional insights.

The end result streamlines Zero Trust security, so that IT teams can provide their employees with a better user experience and increase productivity, so their organization can focus on economic recovery.

As your organization focuses on its path to economic recovery, how much friction is your IT team encountering trying to enable this new normal? Could Zero Trust security save time and money by eliminating time-consuming and expensive legacy solutions? And what is the hidden cost of waiting to implement Zero Trust security while competitors implement it in order to move faster safely? Download our Zero Trust Security whitepaper to learn more about what Zero Trust security can do for your organization, and how JumpCloud can help.

Sean Blanton

Sean Blanton is the Director of Content at JumpCloud and has spent the past decade in the wide world of security, networking and IT and Infosec administration. When not at work Sean enjoys spending time with his young kids and geeking out on table top games.

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