Transitioning the Enterprise WAN to Zero Trust Security Measures

Securing the wide area network (WAN) is becoming more complex as cloud technology plays a bigger role in equipping business growth and mobility is embraced for more employees. Enterprise WAN managers are exploring the benefits of zero trust security measures but have been slow to implement them.

A survey by TeleGeography demonstrates that 50% of WAN managers report being in the process, or considering initiating a process, of adopting zero trust security measures, but only eight percent have actually done so.

“Zero trust” is a concept that has been floating around the industry for some time. It’s an architecture that separates users from the corporate network, but allows them to access any application for which they have authorization to use. As its name implies, zero trust does not trust any user or device that is inside or outside the network.

IT professionals have been using zero trust for some time, but now they are starting to apply it to the broader enterprise WAN. Using policy-based controls, the approach abandons sandboxing and other traditional “castle and moat” strategies.

The survey found that 31% of enterprise WAN managers are thinking through a zero trust security implementation, while 19% are in the process of adopting it. Among the 100 respondents, 20% were unfamiliar with the concept of a zero trust security approach.

For many chief information officers, the challenge is understanding the foundations needed to implement zero trust security. In order to be effective, the IT team would first need to understand the identity of every user and device on the network. For larger enterprises, this can be a daunting project. In addition, in any situation where a new architecture is being adopted, there is always hesitation and extensive assessment before adoption is pursued.

Integrating Security and Network Teams

Security is becoming more central to the enterprise WAN. For instance, 40% of respondents reported that while they have separate network and security teams, they work closely together on processes like hybrid network adoption or implementation of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). Less than 20% have fully, or almost fully, integrated security and network teams. The survey findings showed that 15% of enterprises keep security and networking separate, but that is expected to change as the benefits of integration and zero trust security measures become clearer.

Enterprises continue to evaluate how security interacts with other aspects of IT. They want to accelerate the adoption of new technology like SD-WAN, and integration of security into the network team helps reduce risk. Enterprise WAN managers are recognizing the need for integration, and a merging of the two teams is expected to continue to grow.

If your team is interested in discussing the benefits of zero trust security measures for the enterprise WAN, contact us at One Connect.