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How to Enhance People Productivity Through Zero Trust Implementation

01.18.23 | By Ascent

In-house IT teams are busier than ever between long-term initiatives that enhance the business and quick requests that keep operations running smoothly. They are constantly balancing everyday needs such as data storage and protection and developing and executing incident response protocol in the event of a breach. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation, which led to IT quickly supporting remote workforces and the security initiatives that enable them.

Zero Trust is not another box to check, but rather a framework for incorporating cybersecurity into all business initiatives. When IT teams approach Zero Trust from the lens of how it benefits internal stakeholders, they experience more momentum and less internal friction because of enhanced operations and the increased business value a better security posture brings.

When pursuing Zero Trust, it’s important to frame it based on the benefits it offers to stakeholders, instead of the IT effort expended. Managed security partners such as Ascent Solutions can help teams reduce friction and enhance momentum throughout Zero Trust implementation.

5 Ways Zero Trust Implementation Reduces Internal Friction

1. Create a Secure Hybrid Work Environment

Hybrid work and “bring your own device” (BYOD) are the new normal for most teams, which is appealing to employees, but can pose greater risk to security because of the increase in access points, virtual environments, and connected systems that expand the surface area for entry. While Zero Trust implementation often requires internal process changes, it also brings peace of mind to anyone who may fall victim to social engineering.

Unfortunately, traditional cybersecurity strategies, such as a remote-access VPN, led to the misconception that everyone inside the network is who they appear to be. These legacy methods are no longer effective against today’s threat actors because they can successfully gain access to personal information by posing as an authorized user.

Threat actors are advanced, rendering internal teams vulnerable to the persuasion of outsiders. Zero Trust encourages the mindset of assuming breach and verifying identity. It also aligns with the path to hybrid cloud by enabling options such as unified endpoint management (UEM) to help employees easily use mobile devices to work wherever they are.

One of the best ways to protect employees from social engineering and to protect systems from threats is Zero Trust network access (ZTNA) with a continuous life cycle approach to remote access management. Deploying ZTNA has the potential to replace VPN as long as IT teams adopt a mindset of incremental improvement over time to adjust to current risk levels.

2. Enrich the Environment for End Users with Advanced Technology

The best-in-platform brands bring the latest technology to organizations pursuing Zero Trust. When internal stakeholders use these upgraded solutions, they experience less friction in their daily responsibilities and produce a better work product overall.

For example, consider a data analyst who just received an upgraded Power BI license. This new software equips the analyst with faster data visualization using less manual effort for a more comprehensive, insightful end product.

In addition to the innovative software that Zero Trust enables, it also equips teams with a better work experience through BYOD. This allows employees to use the devices they’re familiar with to access critical applications, even when users are outside of the network perimeter. BYOD at scale wouldn’t be possible without layered security. Zero Trust implementation enables secure BYOD by only allowing validated and trusted users to access appropriate systems, applications, and data.

3. Consolidate Technology for Ease of Use

IT leaders are looking to consolidate their tech stack for ease of deployment, training, and optimization. Zero Trust implementation is achievable through a single, best-in-platform suite of solutions, such as Microsoft. The holistic tools Microsoft offers provide a secure approach to every facet of Zero Trust from edge to cloud. It provides standardization when IT teams confront application and hardware challenges, and it eases onboarding employees to new systems. Most importantly, unifying technology solutions reduces patchwork between disparate systems that can leave gaps open to threat actors.

4. Increase IT Team Productivity with Efficient Processes

Zero Trust implementation enhances team productivity in three ways: faster setup on new devices, reduced help desk calls, and better security with less manual intervention.

  • Faster Setup on New Devices: Zero Trust accelerates the process to set up end users on new devices by 75% (Forrester, Total Economic Impact Report). This productivity enhancement comes from connecting applications to Microsoft Azure AD and enabling single sign on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA). In addition to faster initial setup, Zero Trust also reduces the help internal teams need over time because a unified system makes training across applications simpler.
  • Reduce Help Desk Calls: Forrester concluded that Zero Trust implementation reduces the number of identity and access management (IAM) related help desk calls by 50%. Users gain easier access to applications by using a single technology provider such as Microsoft.
  • Increase Efficiency of Security Teams: Using solutions like Microsoft 365 Defender brings intelligent automation to security teams to help triage alerts, correlate additional threat signals, and take remediation actions, all with less manual effort. Forrester reported security teams experience 50% increase in efficiency by using automation to save time reviewing log management systems for security gaps, privileged accounts, and stale accounts being used to log in.
5. Demonstrate the IT Team’s Efficacy by Reducing the Total Cost of Ownership

Process efficiency is at the root of Zero Trust implementation. Better processes allow for more efficient use of human resources, creating a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) for IT. CIOs are judged on measures such as process standardization and team productivity to reduce the total cost of people, processes, and technology for the organization.

While Zero Trust poses an upfront cost, it provides a 92% ROI over three years. According to a Forrester report, a composite organization experiences benefits of $24.1M over three years, compared to the costs of $12.6M.

Zero Trust equips companies with the technology needed to leave legacy systems behind and embrace modern solutions. Forrester also reported the composite organization saved $20 per employee per month because of the elimination of redundant security solutions, including endpoint management, antivirus, and antimalware solutions. This savings resulted in more than $7M in reduced spend from legacy software and infrastructure.

Put People First for Successful Zero Trust Implementation

By presenting the benefits Zero Trust implementation brings for internal stakeholders, IT teams can gain internal buy-in for security efforts. Zero Trust implementation enhances end user experiences across the board by reducing daily friction and increasing productivity. Partnering with a managed service provider like Ascent Solutions can help IT teams position Zero Trust internally to gain alignment and expedite progress.

Request a consultation with our cybersecurity specialists to discuss how our Zero Trust Launchpad equips your team with the best way to move forward.

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