Embracing zero trust channel opportunities

By Francis O’Haire, Group Technology Director, DataSolutions
Francis O’Haire, Group Technology Director, DataSolutions looks at the challenges and opportunities of embracing zero trust in 2022

The world of IT security has to deal with all sorts of challenges - it’s firmly etched into the job description. The cybercriminal fraternity doesn't sit still for one minute. These industrious evildoers are continually adapting their modes of attack and looking to outsmart new defences or security solutions. This is child's play to them. Little wonder then that IT security is looking to place its trust in the concept of Zero Trust solutions or Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). This represents a whole host of opportunities for the channel in 2022 and beyond. The world of enterprise will be looking to invest heavily in Zero Trust solutions, not least of all due to the effects that COVID-19 has had on how organisations need to now protect their corporate network perimeters.

Things were already changing with the way that employees accessed company resources - data, information etc. The proliferation of cloud services, smart devices, BYOD policies and people using devices for work and play have collectively given IT security teams everywhere new headaches. However, the arrival of COVID-19 really blew things out of the water. Almost overnight, employees in organisations of all shapes and sizes and from all over the globe were effectively sent home to work. And with this meteoric rise in remote working, the spotlight really began to shine brightly on Zero Trust security. Even as the UK has returned to a more ‘normal’ way of living and working, it is widely reported that organisations will be embracing at least partial WFH policies with some even allowing full-time WFH.

And it’s this remote, disparate workforce accessing IT resources which are spread between on-premise and cloud that has fueled all manner of cyber-attacks - and with a big surge in identity-based attacks given the landscape of vulnerable network perimeters. So many organisations are investing in a Zero Trust security strategy, one that allows the right people access to the right resources, but only at the precise time that they need to. IT departments everywhere have been struggling with how to manage access to networks (remote workers needing data/files/information/resources) which are normally centralised in an ‘office’ environment. But employees now need to access the corporate network and multiple clouds from many locations and from a variety of different devices. So, along with identity-based attacks, there has also been a surge in Ransomware attacks - cyber thieves are now taking advantage of the increase in attack points available to them.

Using Zero Trust security to help shifting workforce challenges

The ‘Zero Trust’ opportunity here for the channel is considerable, to say the least. It isn’t pie-in-the-sky technobabble, it is here today and offers much for tomorrow. It is likely that you have a customer base moving their business into mobile and cloud. This new business model also needs a new security model, and it is unlikely that customers will have the expertise to design such a thing. Don’t forget, Zero Trust isn’t just one piece of hardware or software, it doesn’t come neatly packaged in a box. It actually covers a broad base of products/solutions/know-how, but it does give resellers a catchy name, one with which an initial discussion can be broached. Your end customers face even more pressure to protect their valuable digital assets with the traditional definition of network perimeters practically obsolete. The question of how they give their employees access to data and resources, with security front and centre, is now a top priority.

There is a huge opportunity here for resellers to add value, to really get involved with everything from introducing new cloud services and mobile apps, to managing the security architecture for a zero-trust landscape. is where the channel should be aiming to reach. By becoming trusted advisors, resellers can expand on the zero-trust model and educate their customers who probably are not at the stage of possessing such levels of knowledge in-house. According to findings by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), 76% of knowledge workers are currently working from home and 79% feel that their organisation will be more flexible with work-at-home policies in the future. ESG reported that 63% of respondents had implemented zero-trust across the organisation or had begun to implement zero-trust for specific use cases such as multi-factor authentication and data security. Some big numbers for you to consider right there.

The Zero Trust landscape allows you to truly add value beyond transactional product sales. Having a Zero Trust conversation with your customers is more likely to get you involved in corporate decision-making - the C-suite will certainly be prioritising Zero Trust security in the face of shifting workforce challenges. It’s down to you to align yourselves as trusted advisors as part of your customer’s overall security strategy. And given that Zero Trust is not any one single product, opportunities abound to deliver services within the delivery of projects that embrace a variety of technologies.

Zero Trust is not the new kid on the block but is certainly turning into the most talked-about one. As you look towards 2022 and beyond, look to fully embrace the opportunities that Zero Trust can deliver to your business and make sure your customers keep knocking on your door as a truly trusted advisor.


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