The zero trust security model is rapidly gaining in popularity because it works so well in today’s distributed data environments – and work models. In addition to applications and data being spread across multiple private and public clouds, users are accessing organizational resources from multiple locations, on multiple devices, on both home and public internet connections, such as at coffee shops and hotels.
When organizations deploy zero-trust properly, IT administrators get full visibility into all users, systems, and devices. People, applications, and services can communicate securely, even across network environments. Zero trust greatly reduces the risk of password-related cyberattacks, as well as the risk of privilege escalation if your network does get breached. The organization’s attack surface is minimized, and the data environment is far more secure overall.
However, deploying a zero trust network access model comes with challenges.
Challenge #1: Where Do I Start?
The first obstacle to a successful zero trust implementation is knowing how to get started. Zero trust has a lot of moving parts, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the start of your zero trust journey.
Employee logins are the best place to begin, for three reasons:
- Since user and device verification are at the core of zero trust, a successful implementation hinges on the ability for organizations to enforce comprehensive password security.
- Compromised passwords cause the overwhelming majority of data breaches and ransomware attacks.
- A password security platform is one of the easiest and least expensive solutions you can put in your tech stack. For example, Keeper’s enterprise password management (EPM) solution deploys within minutes.
Securing employee logins enables organizations to get started with zero trust quickly, relatively easily, and very cost-effectively, while directly addressing the number-one cause of cyberattacks: weak and stolen passwords.
Start a free trial of Keeper’s zero-trust, zero-knowledge enterprise password management platform.
Challenge #2: Mind the Security Gaps
If zero trust is implemented incorrectly, it can leave serious security gaps. Recognizing these potential gaps enables organizations to head them off.
Many organizations deploy single sign-on (SSO) solutions as part of their zero-trust architecture. SSO is great. It reduces employee password fatigue, virtually eliminates help desk tickets for lost passwords, and makes it easier for IT personnel to onboard new employees – and quickly revoke access for employees who leave the company. However, SSO won’t cover all of the apps your organization uses, so make sure to deploy an enterprise-grade password manager that integrates with your SSO identity provider (IdP).
For example, Keeper SSO Connect is a fully managed, SAML 2.0 SaaS solution that can be deployed on any instance or in any Windows, Mac OS, or Linux environment, in the cloud or on-prem. It easily and seamlessly integrates with all popular SSO IdP platforms, including Microsoft 365, Azure, ADFS, Okta, Ping, JumpCloud, Centrify, OneLogin, and F5 BIG-IP APM.
Insider threats pose another threat to zero trust security. While malicious insiders are, thankfully, relatively uncommon, internal users frequently fall prey to phishing and other social engineering techniques. This is why role-based access control (RBAC), least-privilege access, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) are essential to zero trust security.
Challenge #3: Ongoing Administration
User access controls don’t maintain themselves, and they can require a lot of care and feeding as employees and vendors come and go, and as employees change job positions or take on new duties. This is another area where a robust EPM like Keeper comes in handy. It enables IT administrators to automate many functions related to access control, saving them a lot of time and greatly minimizing the possibility of a mistake.
For more information on applying a zero-trust framework to employee logins, check out this recent webinar by Keeper GRC Analyst Teresa Rothaar.
Keeper’s zero-trust and zero-knowledge EPM provides organizations with total visibility and control over employee password practices they need to successfully defend against the most common attacks. IT administrators can secure, monitor and control passwords and infrastructure secrets across the entire organization, both remote and on-prem, and set up and enforce MFA, RBAC and least-privilege access.