The importance of channel partners in driving forward Zero Trust

Once coined a ‘buzzword’, there has been a positive shift in the perception of Zero Trust over the last few years, and as such, 87% of global security leaders now claim that Zero Trust is openly discussed at board level. If we look back at 2022, almost half of security leaders (44%) described the model as requiring too much oversight, and yet only one-third (33%) shared the same opinion when surveyed last year. IT and security leaders across EMEA are therefore clearly considering implementing Zero Trust architecture now more than ever, but the real issue appears to be in its adoption as very few organisations claim to have achieved it.

As hybrid cloud environments continue to grow in complexity, there is a clear need for more structured guidance on implementing Zero Trust. While enthusiasm is growing for the power of the framework in building out a layered approach to cyber defence, confusion around the ‘how’ of Zero Trust remains. This creates a perfect opportunity for channel partners and vendors to step in as trusted advisors, supporting end-users in building out their Zero Trust architecture.

Fostering a Zero Trust mindset

The first key consideration for channel partners is helping customers understand that Zero Trust is not a product or solution. It is a mindset of “never trust, always verify” that must be built into a business’ architecture across every part of their network. Zero Trust network architecture demands that every user, application, and packet is analysed and authenticated both at perimeter access points and at various sub-perimeters within the network. Implementing this level of verification and layered security requires a curated combination of solutions and strategy, but it is also a fundamental culture shift.

By helping foster a Zero Trust mindset, channel partners can unlock success for their customers by building awareness around the risk of a network with implicit trust and offering guidance on how to better implement tools and processes to verify any potential threats. It can also help channel partners to differentiate themselves ahead of the competition – the IT channel can become truly valuable in providing the expertise and technical knowledge that end-users need to navigate the complex and necessary journey towards a Zero Trust mindset. With 97% of global IT leaders now accepting Zero Trust as a journey rather than a tick-box exercise, the time has never been better for channel partners to become Zero Trust allies.

Deep observability is key

The threat landscape is expanding, and ransomware continues to be one of the most dangerous risks to businesses across the globe. Just looking at the UK, the country is at high risk of a catastrophic ransomware attack and lawmakers are openly criticising Government’s strategy for cybersecurity. Therefore, even if they are not experts in this field, given the evolving landscape it is important for channel partners to understand the role that deep observability plays in enabling Zero Trust and a more secure posture.

A robust Zero Trust Network Architecture hinges on deep observability. Without complete visibility into users, assets, devices, and hybrid cloud infrastructure, monitoring and enforcing granular access controls becomes incredibly difficult – you simply cannot verify what you cannot see. Organisations seeking to implement Zero Trust must, therefore, gain a clear and comprehensive view of all network activity. In the current hybrid cloud landscape, traditional monitoring tools are not sufficient to have a real view into all network activity. Real-time network-level intelligence is therefore key to empowering metric, event, log and trace-based monitoring, and observability tools with all the necessary data to properly mitigate threats, without complexity.

This architecture proactively prevents bad actors from infiltrating networks and exploiting sensitive data, and it is up to the channel to educate their end-users on the benefits of adopting this comprehensive approach to visibility as a starting block for their Zero Trust journeys.

More than one benefit to Zero Trust

While security is clearly a massive concern for many companies, it will not be their sole focus. It is therefore important that channel partners demonstrate exactly how Zero Trust may help their customers in more ways than one.

With lack of resources and the digital skills gap still very much pressing issues, this architecture can assist in increasing productivity within a workforce, as well as allowing the wider business to better cope with the current climate and become a more agile organisation. With potentially sensitive data travelling between corporate networks and personal devices connected to home broadband routers, a framework that increases security – reducing the threat of breaches from internal and external sources – without impacting productivity is a no-brainer. As long as channel partners demonstrate the various benefits of Zero Trust, it will be difficult for their clients to ignore its potential.

Zero Trust for the future

Whether UK organisations immediately perceive Zero Trust as attainable, today’s landscape means it is rapidly becoming a business priority. But the thought of Zero Trust as a single purchasable solution has not entirely subsided. Unlike quick-fix solutions, Zero Trust demands a comprehensive and continuous approach to better cybersecurity and business agility. Channel partners play a pivotal role in guiding their customers through this journey and it is therefore critical that they seize their opportunity to enabling Zero Trust success.

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Jon joined the Gigamon team in 2022 to help partners across EMEA enhance customers’ security posture with deep observability, boost digital transformation initiatives, generate ROI from the cloud, and provide solution flexibility and visibility enhancements.

He has worked in the channel for over 20 years, driving partnerships with everyone from MSSPs to GSIs and Distributors within IT and cybersecurity. Jon is passionate about enablement and education for partners across the channel and his strategic focus at the organisation is on growing the channel ecosystem, as well as ensuring every partner becomes fully engrained in the ‘OneGigamon’ culture.

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