Zero trust

Talking to your board about Zero Trust

It’s difficult enough for seasoned security professionals to grasp all the pieces of Zero Trust and how to put them together. If you sit on a company’s board of directors, that difficulty is multiplied exponentially.

Adding to the challenge is that security professionals often struggle to explain myriad security concepts in a language executives and board members can relate to.

A good starting point is to show them data designed specifically for them – the kind of analysis provided by the likes of Gartner and Forrester.

Fortunately, those and other firms have produced a wealth of analysis around Zero Trust. Some of the more recent analysis has explored the technology offered by security company Appgate.

Let’s explore those examples…

What exactly does it mean?

As Appgate has noted in various blog posts like this one, the terminology gets used often and not always in the right way. The words “Zero Trust” could describe a methodology, a strategy to implement the principles of that methodology or a security tool, depending on the context.

For a very straight-forward description board members and execs can sink their teeth into, use this from Gartner:

“Zero Trust is a misnomer; it does not mean “no trust” but zero implicit trust and use of risk-appropriate, explicit trust.”

To drive home the value proposition for the board and other executives, Forrester’s New Wave Zero Trust Network Access analysis for Q3 2021 is particularly valuable. The report cited Appgate’s Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) approach as one that’s positioned highest for current offerings based on the following criteria: 

  • Deployment flexibility offering ZTNA as a SaaS, but also a self-hosted option 
  • Non-web and legacy app support 
  • Ecosystem integration with services like information technology service management (ITSM) and configuration management database (CMDB) 
  • Product vision specializing in ZTNA

Appgate’s value explored

Also useful for board discussions is the  Real Economic Value study by global research-based advisory and consulting firm Nemertes, which interviewed existing Appgate SDP enterprise customers to understand and quantify the operational and strategic benefits of its ZTNA solution. Key benefits cited in the report include:

  • Accelerated digital transformation initiatives by an average of 119%
  • Improvements ranged from 50% to 100% in at least one of these operational metrics: time to provision new users; the number of staff required for provisioning; trouble tickets and security incidents related to log-ons and application access; user login times; and the ability to handle many concurrent users
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “most strategic to Zero Trust,” Appgate SDP was rated a 9.5

All respondents viewed Appgate SDP as a critical enabler for a dramatic increase in the number of employees working from home during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Those factoids will help secure executive and board buy-in, as will a healthy dose of metaphors and other verbiage that people can universally relate to, whether it involves sports, events in the news or the daily human challenges we all face.

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