Zero Trust Security: An integrated security solution

Recent news/trends in Zero Trust Security Model

As per Check Point Research (CPR), global attacks increased by 28% in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. The major cause for these attacks were lack of apt security systems and practices in place to secure the organizations from the external threats. To protect the companies against these attacks, CISOs and security leaders have implemented zero trust security solutions at various levels to protect the organizations or users’ professional data. In April 2021, Microsoft published the results of a global research study of 900 senior security decision-makers on the adoption of a zero-trust strategy. In that study, 96% of the participants stated that zero trust is their number one priority because the solution combines various tools, processes, and policies to detect and mitigate cyber threats and protect the sensitive information and critical IT infrastructure in an organization.

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Evolution and need of Zero Trust Security Model

The concept of zero trust arose from the discovery that traditional security models are based on the outmoded assumption that everything within an organization’s network should be implicitly trusted. Implicit trust means, once a user – including malicious actors and insiders – are on the network can access or exfiltrate sensitive data due to a lack of granular security controls. With digitalization boosting up in the form of a growing hybrid workforce, prolonged cloud migration, and security operations transformation, embracing a zero-trust approach has never been more critical to any organization. Although the concept “zero trust” is strongly associated with securing users or use cases such as zero trust network access (ZTNA), an extensive zero trust approach includes users, applications, and infrastructure.

Zero trust security model comprises of various solution types that include network security, data security, endpoint security, Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR), API security, security analytics, and security policy management. The security vendors are developing integrated zero trust security solutions to deliver a holistic security solution and protect the applications and data from advanced cyber threats. Zero trust security model combines advanced technologies such as risk based multi-factor authentication, identity protection, next-generation endpoint security, encryption, and robust cloud workload technology to verify a user or systems identity. Zero trust security model with advanced cloud technologies such as CNAPP (Cloud native Application Protection Platform) and SASE has enabled the organizations to identify, remediate, and immediately rectify security exposure risks during the build, deploy, and runtime stages of multi-cloud and hybrid deployments.

Market insights

Major security vendors such as Cisco, Akamai, Palo Alto Networks, Broadcom, Zscaler, Forcepoint, and others are coming up with zero trust security solutions to develop the growth of the market. Cisco offers its zero-trust security solution which allows the companies to mitigate, detect, and respond to risks across the environment from any user, device, and location. Cisco Zero Trust provides a balance between security and usability. In April 2022, Cisco and Telenor Group signed an agreement to address opportunities including digital transformation, cyber security for businesses and the digital divide. Akamai offers zero trust solutions such as Enterprise Application Access, Enterprise Threat Protector, Kona Site Defender, Bot Manager, and Web App Protector which help the companies to enhance access decisions.

The multi-billion opportunity is attracting lots of investments from large, medium, and small organizations, globally. For example, in 2022, ThreatLocker has raised $100M in Series C funding led by global growth equity firm General Atlantic, with participation from existing investors Elephant VC and Arthur Ventures. With investments and funding like these, zero trust solutions will be at the center of security in the upcoming years.

As per MarketsandMarkets (MnM) analysis, the global zero trust security market is estimated to have market value of USD 22.7 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach market value of USD 60.6 billion by 2027 growing with a CAGR of 17.3% during the forecast period 2022-2027. The demand for zero trust solutions is expected to increase among organizations, irrespective of their size. Large enterprises are reshaping their security policies and architecture to incorporate zero trust for protecting critical assets from various cyberattacks. They majorly adopt zero trust security to safeguard networks, endpoints, data centers, devices, users, and applications against unauthorized usage and malicious ransomware attacks. As SMEs are increasingly adopting digitalization, they are being exposed to new security risks. This leads the IT teams in SMEs to invest in incorporating improved digital security measures through the adoption of zero trust security solutions. Enterprises across countries are adopting zero trust security tools based on single factor and multi-factor authentication types to combat the increase in the number of identity thefts, data breaches, and malware attacks.

Recession impact

The covid-19 pandemic hit the global economy badly. Even as the economy struggled to recover, the Russia-Ukraine war arrived yet another major setback. The combination of these two factors is expected to send the global economy into recession in 2023. Recession is expected to have severe impact on industries such as retail, restaurants, travel/tourism, leisure/hospitality, service purveyors, real estate, & manufacturing and others. However, industries like healthcare, food, and transportation are likely to have slow impact of the recession as these are more resistant to the economic effects of a downturn than others.

According to Cybersecurity Ventures’ Boardroom Cybersecurity 2022 Report, the number of open cybersecurity jobs worldwide elevated 350% between 2013 and 2021, from 1 million to 3.5 million. The frequency of cyberattacks is rising. According to Accenture’s State of Cybersecurity Report 2021, the average number of attempted assaults per organization increased 31% between 2020 and 2021, reaching 270 attacks. With economic growth slowing and inflation rising, the cybersecurity sector is still growing strongly. This contrasts with the telecom industry, where product revenues have decreased by more than 9%. As a result, businesses spend a lot of money on cybersecurity. According to industry experts, investment on cybersecurity will reach $160 billion in 2023 and $280 billion by 2026. For example, Palo Alto revealed in November 2022 that its fiscal first quarter of 2023 had revenues of $1.6 billion, up 25% year over year.

The United States’ fiscal year 2023 budget saw a nearly 10% YoY rise in cybersecurity spending. The Department of Defense’s budget included $11 billion to establish zero-trust architecture across all of its vendor systems. Global Data forecasts that security spending will remain at current levels, with a possible minor reduction due to the recession, influenced by an increase in cyber-attacks and changes in enterprise technology architecture. Global enterprises, on the other hand, are likely to re-strategize and cut costs on technology and workforce. However, a reduction in security spending will almost certainly be offset by increases in other enterprise software areas.

CISOs and security leaders are putting best efforts forward to identify and quantify the business-critical risks to calculate the risk tolerance of their organizations. Cybercriminals thrive in downturns. At the start of the pandemic, malicious actors took advantage of the chaos, with Google alone seeing more than 18 million daily email scams related to Covid-19 in a single week. Network and data are vital assets for businesses involved in transactions and communications. Zero trust security combines multiple layers of defenses to protect the IT infrastructure from advanced threats by collecting and analyzing several types of security event information. The increase in digitalization initiatives and rise in penetration of IoT across the developing countries have led enterprises, both small and medium-sized and large enterprises, to adopt cloud computing. Increased cyber threats, the introduction of mandates from government and compliance regulations, and modernization in networking infrastructure through a variety of end devices have contributed to the adoption of the zero trust security solutions.

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Closing lines

Zero trust has evolved from focusing on firewalls and data isolation to becoming a comprehensive, practical approach to security. Zero trust security solutions ensure that critical IT & business systems and the underlying data are secured using strong identity and access management. A zero-trust architecture’s increased visibility assists organizations in addressing many of the persistent security challenges that mass remote working has created. Data scientists and engineers are witnessing the convergence of various other technologies, including cloud platforms, AI, and ML, blockchain, business analytics, and the powerful IoT, all of which are set to transform the capabilities of future technology solutions for zero trust security.

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