Enable Zero Trust Security with a Managed Security Service Provider

Jan 12, 2021
6 minutes

When it comes to home improvement, there are different opinions regarding what’s the best practice for home remodeling or repairs. Should you try to do the job by yourself or instead hire a professional contractor to orchestrate all the moving parts that go into the perfect home project? The same can be said for Zero Trust and managed security service providers (MSSPs).

Each of the options comes with pros and cons. For many, DIY comes with the pride in showing off a job you did by yourself, and that’s more than enough considering all the time and work put into it, even when the cost savings are minimal. The choice between DIY and hiring a contractor is more than just a matter of dollars. It’s a careful balancing act between money and a long list of other factors such as less hassle, faster results, safety, and professional-quality work. This explains why so many homeowners decide in favor of hiring a professional, despite the higher cost.

Much like a home project, the journey to Zero Trust networking is a balancing act of its own. Some companies fully embrace Zero Trust and proactively embark on their journey, while others are often reluctant to begin because they believe it is difficult, costly, and disruptive. While building Zero Trust networks is actually quite simple, many organizations don’t feel ready. One option for these organizations is to use a managed security services partner to help with the journey to Zero Trust.

The Journey to a Network Intended to Never Trust but Always Verify

Created in 2010 by John Kindervag, then a principal analyst at Forrester Research and now part of the Palo Alto Networks family, Zero Trust is a strategic initiative that helps prevent successful data breaches by eliminating the concept of trust from an organization’s network architecture. Rooted in the principle of “never trust, always verify,” Zero Trust is designed to protect modern digital environments by leveraging network segmentation, preventing lateral movement, providing Layer 7 threat prevention, and simplifying granular user access control.

More people are familiar today with what Zero Trust is all about, but oftentimes the processes to get there are not fully understood and deemed difficult to deploy. Kindervag has developed a simple five-step methodology that, when followed, supports the ease of deployment for Zero Trust networks. This helps make deploying Zero Trust networks manageable, cost effective, and non-disruptive. In addition, his Zero Trust learning curve methodology instructs organizations how to tackle the overall deployment with minimal disruption to the business. The recommendation is to play and gain confidence with the low-sensitivity surfaces that serve as practice platforms to reach the confidence level required to protect the high-value assets in any organization.

A Tailored Zero Trust Approach

Zero Trust is a strategy that is decoupled from technology. The architecture involves not only implemented and interconnected tools and advanced technologies but also a set of operational policies and authentication requirements that enforce the Zero Trust principles. It can be implemented in various ways depending on each organization’s use cases, business flow, and risk profile.

Typically, organizations have limited resources and don’t have the people with the right cybersecurity skills. Many come to the realization of how their security maturity influences business outcomes and find themselves in a crunch of time when it comes to improving their cybersecurity posture. This is where partners who are experts on Zero Trust really add value. They can customize the Zero Trust Architecture to the specific needs and environment of your organization, and also bring highly skilled security professionals to handle even the most challenging environments. By deploying robust security solutions and best practices, MSSPs help organizations to abide by stringent government policies, secure customer data, and ensure business continuity with minimal downtime.

MSSPs also help organizations to understand their own business organization and the implementation model to yield results. They can influence decision-makers to make the right decisions toward a network security transformation across the entire business.

A managed security partner should take full responsibility from the design to the implementation and play a key role by developing a roadmap that is tailored to each organization. They should help organizations to:

  • Assess their security by performing a top-to-bottom assessment of their critical data, assets, and services that might be a target for attacks.
  • Understand what is most valuable to the business and drive a more strategic conversation about security.
  • Implement best processes by aligning controls, measures, and activities to their own security framework and with the Zero Trust principles.
  • Monitor and continuously assess, benchmark, and measure their Zero Trust maturity level against their desired security posture in real time.

Ultimately, the goal is to enable organizations to eliminate trust from within the network and improve the overall security posture.

When selecting an MSSP, organizations should look for partners with the right cybersecurity technology. The right security platform must equip the MSSP with the right visibility, control, and protections to fully implement Zero Trust security. On this note, a vendor like Palo Alto Networks provides a tightly integrated platform that aligns to each step, simplifying the protection of your most critical assets. In addition, our expert consultants will work with your MSSP teams through the five steps of Zero Trust implementation to maximize protection for your most valuable assets and help you execute on your strategy.

A Good Zero Trust Journey Experience Is Priceless

To sum up, deploying the Zero Trust security model is the best way to ensure that your complete environment, including multi-cloud and hybrid networks, stays secure. With a comprehensive approach, Zero Trust becomes actionable, simple to deploy, and a powerful business enabler.

Moving to Zero Trust does not happen overnight. This is a continuous and ongoing journey where having the right plan, tools, and knowledge is critical for success.

Obviously, you get the most value out of a DIY home project job when it’s much more economical to do it yourself than to hire a professional.The snag is that the more a job costs to have done professionally, the more of your time it’s likely to take. Also, it is difficult to achieve professional quality results.

So, if your organization is not ready to attempt the Zero Trust journey alone, you can embark on the adventure with a managed security partner. Just sit back and enjoy the ride!

For more information about how to deploy Zero Trust networks, download the white paper, “5 Steps to Zero Trust.”

This post is part of a series on MSSP partners.

Subscribe to Sase Blogs!

Sign up to receive must-read articles, Playbooks of the Week, new feature announcements, and more.