Access is becoming a more important aspect of daily life. By the time I sit down at my desk to begin the workday, I’ve already passed through a dozen points of access control, including arming and disarming my home security system with a code, using Face ID to unlock my iPhone, using a key fob to unlock and start my car, using a biometric like my fingerprint to sign into my laptop, and using a secure Microsoft Teams or Zoom link to join my first meeting of the day.
Now let’s concentrate on apps. They form the nucleus of our everyday digital lifestyle. By 2023, it is anticipated that the market for mobile apps will bring in over $935 billion. That may not come as a surprise given that the typical person uses around 10 apps daily on their smartphone alone.
Today’s businesses rely heavily on apps to both support and drive their operations. And consider all the people who might use their mobile devices or home offices to access these business apps. Today’s hybrid work environment, not to mention one powered by a hybrid cloud, makes it more difficult to manage all these different apps (let alone secure and restrict access to them).
A zero-trust model is required for the most serious web vulnerabilities of today
We understand that along with all the advantages of the digital transformation, there are new risks to take into account. However, there are serious repercussions today for businesses, their staff, and their clients as this risk increasingly revolves around criminals aiming to steal user access and identity. If you enjoy statistics as much as I do, there are many available to assist illustrate the seriousness of this problem. Two of the findings that concern me the most are these:
- According to the Cynthia Institute’s IRIS 20/20 Xtreme Information Risk Insights Study, stolen passwords and other credential-related assaults caused more occurrences and $10B in total damages for firms between 2015 and 2020 than any other danger. The demand for stolen credentials won’t diminish in the upcoming years given the rapid modernization of digital fraud and the widespread usage of credentials in both ransomware and digital fraud.
- Broken access controls are the top vulnerability in the OWASP Top 10 for 2022. (OWASP Top 10). This covers the abuse of least-privileged access to a resource or app.
Enterprises worldwide and in all sectors are affected by attacks aimed at stealing a user’s identity, although the financial, IT, and manufacturing sectors are particularly affected. This makes using a zero-trust security paradigm essential, along with the prevalence of failed access constraints.
Never rely; always make sure
The “never trust, always verify” tenet of zero-trust applies to today’s hybrid cloud, hybrid work, and hybrid access scenarios. A zero-trust approach adheres to the principles of securing access to all apps and resources, removing implicit trust, and allowing least privileged access. This approach’s flaw is how it breaks down for key access. It’s the “violation of the concept of least privilege or deny by default, when access should only be provided for specific capabilities, roles, or users, but is available to everyone,” according to OWASP.
Many of these programmes (such as custom software, enduring software from suppliers like SAP and Oracle, and legacy systems) rely on antiquated authentication protocols like Kerberos or HTTP headers. These apps frequently lack the ability to use current authentication techniques like SAML, OAuth, and OIDC. Additionally, trying to modernize the authentication and permission for these specific apps is frequently expensive and time-consuming.
How to make the hybrid enterprise access zero-trust
In order to support a zero-trust architecture, modern authentication is essential for enabling per-request, context- and identity-based access control. By enabling “never trust, always verify” (per-request, context- and identity-based app access) for their legacy, custom, and modern applications, an organization can enable “never trust, always verify” (per-request, context- and identity-based app access) and avoid the “violation of least privilege.”
A game-changer for the business is the ability to benefit from all the cloud innovation happening with IDaaS providers as well as the enhancements that come with OAuth and OIDC frameworks, all without having to immediately modernize apps. They may be exposed to less risk, which will allow for disruption-free innovation. No matter what authentication method is used on the backend or where the apps are hosted, the workforce can continue to be productive and access their apps securely (or where the user is located).
Extending access for a comprehensive zero-trust strategy
While I’ve emphasized the significance of access in a zero-trust security paradigm, enterprises must go beyond access and identity alone to take a genuinely comprehensive approach to zero trust. That’s because a tiered security strategy’s pinnacle is zero trust. A zero-trust environment must incorporate a variety of security technologies, such as
- Continuous diagnostics and mitigating
- Compliance considerations.
- Combining risk variables and threat intelligence
- Identity administration
- Event management and security data
It’s also critical to remember that implementing a zero-trust philosophy and delivering a zero-trust architecture are best achieved through gradual application of zero-trust principles, adjustments to procedures, and technological (across different vendors) solutions to safeguard data and business operations based on fundamental business scenarios.
This zero-trust strategy necessitates a new perspective and way of thinking about security, particularly when it comes to access. Zero trust should, at most, supplement existing measures to secure and regulate access in your current environment.
After all of that, how can you even begin to approach this? You and your business may start your comprehensive zero-trust journey by taking a few simple steps:
- First and foremost, decide to use a zero-trust strategy. Remember that your current infrastructure cannot simply be torn down and replaced. It’s an incremental process, as was already mentioned.
- Next, make a list of all the apps your company uses, both locally and in the cloud, along with how frequently people access them.
- For support during crucial stages of your trip, choose your reliable vendors. For instance, your reverse-proxy solution, IDaaS provider, etc.
- Finally, determine which programmes you want to update and whether you should retire underutilized software, replace some with SaaS, migrate others to the cloud, or do all of the above. To date, having that identity aware proxy (IAP) solution to provide contemporary authentication to your legacy and bespoke apps will be crucial for supporting a zero-trust model on your terms given that modernizing apps may be a time-consuming and expensive process.
In today’s digital-first society, it could seem overwhelming to efficiently manage access and safeguard apps. But it’s not necessary to be. You may gradually implement a zero-trust model throughout your whole environment if you start by taking easy measures to offer secure, least-privileged access to all of your apps. By doing this, your company will be completely trustworthy and safe sooner than you might expect.