Zero Trust has seen an explosion in popularity

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Zero Trust, a security framework that requires all users and endpoints to be continuously authenticated and authorized, is growing increasingly popular as businesses look to stay secure. new research has found.

A poll of 700 director-and-above security decision-makers across many industries by Okta found 97% of businesses now have a Zero Trust initiative or are planning on having one within the next 18 months. 

That’s up by more than 500%, compared to 2018, when just 16% said the same.

Planning and challenges

While the popularity of the Zero Trust security framework seems to be going off the charts, not every region in the world shares the same enthusiasm. While 59% of North American businesses have a strategy set up, as well as 50% of those in the APAC region, just 36% of businesses in the EMEA region can say the same. European businesses will catch up to their North American counterparts soon enough though, as the investment in the region grows bigger (90% are increasing their budgets, compared to 83% in APAC and 77% in North America).

Finding the right talent to implement and support Zero Trust seems to be the biggest challenge for businesses everywhere, with EMEA firms also being somewhat worried about budgeting. 

Overall, for four in five (80%), identity is important to their Zero Trust security strategy. Another 19% call it “business critical”, meaning that virtually all firms (99%) see identity as a major factor in their Zero Trust strategy. A quarter (26%) of CISOs and other C-Suite execs describe it as business-critical.

Another key challenge for the implementation of Zero Trust is the balance between usability and security. While the shift towards security is more pronounced in APAC and North America, businesses in the EMEA region seem to be more balanced. 

“Companies are now leveraging pandemic-era investments in usability, and catching up on some security debt,” said Ian Lowe, Head of Industry Solutions, EMEA at Okta. “But increasingly, they are also realizing that stronger security and better usability aren’t necessarily at odds anymore. Passwordless technologies, as an example, simultaneously improve the user experience by making logging in frictionless, whilst also being more secure.”

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.