Hybrid workforces increase as a response to the demand for flexibility and adaptability. In fact, 77% of knowledge workers currently work in a hybrid model, highlighting just how many organizations have adopted a distributed workforce. As it becomes the dominant way of working, it also poses significant challenges for cybersecurity, as the traditional perimeter-based security model no longer will cut it. To ensure secure data access across various devices and networks, organizations need to adopt a new security paradigm. This is where the zero trust approach takes the stage, based on the philosophy of “never trust, always verify.” 

Zero trust is a security model that assumes no user or device, or individual should have implicit trust. Instead, anyone or anything that seeks access to corporate assets must prove it should be trusted. Zero trust helps organizations secure their workforce, but it also offers other advantages to the organization’s strategy. And here’s how.

1. Keeps data safe 

Although cybersecurity has improved and awareness has spread, that doesn’t mean that cyberattacks are a tale of the past quite yet. In fact, they are on the rise. The report “The State of Data Security in 2023 and Beyond” found that in the last year, 41% of organizations from different industries had a security breach in the past 12 months. This stresses just how real and serious cyberthreats still are. But just like cybercriminals have developed their methods and tactics, the market for cybersecurity solutions has as well. And one of the results of that development is zero trust. 

Zero trust functions as a robust defense mechanism against data breaches, by enforcing strict policies, controls and by trusting no one. Every access request, no matter who makes it or who receives it, is considered as a possible threat and is thoroughly verified before access is granted. Zero trust, therefore, enables organizations to not only lower the chance of data breaches but also foster a culture of awareness. Evaluating every single access permission ensures that only authorized personnel interact with an organizations’ critical data, which minimizes the attack surface.

2. Improves employees’ user experience and accessibility

Security is the top priority, but today’s modern workforce also needs organizations to focus on more than just protection — they also need a smooth experience across the remote workforce. Zero trust helps achieve this balance by transforming the way security is managed. Whether through adopting Remote Browser Isolation or Desktop-as-a-Service solutions, organizations can enable their teams to access data securely, no matter what device or location they use.

Remote workers, who often face difficulties in accessing data and applications securely, now enjoy reliable and secure access. Zero trust makes sure that teams can work effectively on any device or location, without affecting performance or usability.

3. Simplifies security management and creates operational efficiency 

As organizations deal with the challenges of managing hybrid workforces, operational efficiency becomes a main concern. Zero trust helps organizations achieve that by simplifying security management. It automates tasks and grants access based on rules. This helps them comply with security policies and laws and saves time for their IT teams.

The predefined identities, roles and contextual criteria such as date, time, location, network and device status enable organizations to ensure compliance with security policies and regulations. At the same time, this strategic approach frees up their IT teams to work on other important projects, making their organizations more resilient.

Getting started with the implementation of zero trust

Successfully implementing zero trust in any organization doesn’t come without challenges, as it demands a systematic approach. Here are the elements that organizations should take into play when attempting to do so.

A dedicated IT team

The first step is to create a core IT security team that will lead the zero trust implementation, responsible for ensuring that all steps of the implementation align with the organizational goals and security objectives. 

A comprehensive plan

The second step is to develop a well-defined plan that guides the zero trust implementation. This includes a thorough assessment of the current security posture, identification of the gaps and risks, and a roadmap for applying Zero Trust principles across the organization. The plan should also define the scope, timeline, budget and metrics for the implementation.

The right solutions

The third step is to choose the right zero trust solutions that match the organizational needs and fit the existing infrastructure. Looking into remote browser isolation or DaaS solutions is highly recommended as they match the needs of a distributed workforce as well as they can provide a consistent user experience across devices and locations. 

Defined identities and roles

The fourth step is to decide who and what can access your company’s resources. A good zero trust application allows security professionals to do this by creating predefined identities, roles and permissions for users and devices. It also checks if they follow the predefined security policies all the time and blocks any actions that are not allowed.

Although these tips serve as a roadmap worth following to leverage the full potential of zero trust security, it is also important to note that a security strategy should be tailored to fit the context of the given organization. In other words, it is not a one-size-fits-all, but if organizations abide by the “never trust, always verify” slogan, they are on the right path.