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What is Zero Trust and What Does it Mean for Digital Security

IT departments already have a lot on their plates as organizations struggle to stay ahead of the latest security threats to their digital data. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of securing connections far beyond the firewall to cover remote work, partner, and customer access. Also high on the agenda is the need to create positive user experiences for all your key stakeholders.

These issues are impacted by how IT is organized in most large organizations and to what degree they suffer from IT sprawl. Such sprawl is a direct result of siloed business units, geographical distribution, company reorganizations, mergers, acquisitions, and evolving business models. All of which accelerate the number and types of identities organizations must manage.

As IT sprawl grows, identity information is spread across a complex web of legacy, hybrid, and multi-cloud systems, creating larger attack surfaces. These sizable surfaces challenge keeping data and identities secure while ensuring that only approved access is granted to the right resources without putting all the work on the end-user.

What Zero Trust Means for Large Organizations With Complex Identity 

In today’s perimeter-free world, Zero Trust has emerged as a way to accomplish all of these tasks and has become a key trend in cybersecurity. The fundamental tenets of the Zero Trust model assume that the network isn’t safe and that access to resources must be restricted until users prove their identity and access permissions in a series of progressive disclosures. To achieve this goal:

  • Every device, user, and network flow must be authenticated and authorized
  • Policies must be dynamic and calculated from as many sources of data as possible
  • Implementing this approach must deliver as frictionless a user experience as possible

Every device and user must be verified in a Zero Trust environment, regardless of where they exist. That means both within an organization and without in the case of partners and customers. This approach is very effective, especially for large organizations undergoing mergers, acquisitions, and reorganizations. These companies often merge various, disparate systems and legacy systems in different forms, such as cloud, web, and enterprise applications.

After a merger, when two organizations must find a way to extend secure access to new resources and users across the newly constituted organization, user information and applications are siloed and operate differently. The existing infrastructure and identity and access management (IAM) tools may be inflexible and have trouble meeting changing business needs or supporting new initiatives.

However, organizations can’t just get rid of this old system. Legacy applications depend on this data and can break if you try to move or alter it. What you need is a unified view of all that data. This allows you to see who has access to what and secure access, make better decisions, and quickly deploy new services.

Improving Security AND User Experience—At the Same Time

The typical approach organizations take to manage merged and legacy systems is to create custom integrations. However, this time—and labor—intensive process must be repeated for each data silo and application and requires ongoing maintenance and updating. In addition, any new initiatives that arise will need a single source of data—with all users, credentials, and profiles in the right schema, structure, and accessible via the right protocol. Without a single data source, IT teams face multiple manual processes that require an incredible amount of time and money to build and maintain.

A more effective solution is to create real-time access to all identity sources so the detailed, up-to-date attributes required for instant access decisions can be retrieved even if they’re spread throughout a fragmented infrastructure. This approach allows you to consolidate data from different sources into a single source of identity truth to authenticate and authorize every user with policies enforced by information dynamically delivered from as many sources as available.

Turn Zero Trust from a Buzzword to a Scalable, Operational Approach

Zero Trust is the new way to approach the challenge of accessing the right identity data—intelligently gathered from across many sources—at the right time to securely connect users to the resources they need. But complex infrastructures create obstacles to this reality in the face of legacy identity spread across hundreds or thousands of disparate sources. That’s where the RadiantOne Intelligent Identity Data Platform comes in.

The key to implementing a successful Zero Trust approach requires that authentication, authorization, and governance processes can instantly locate and utilize the exact identity data required when it’s needed. Once implemented, this approach can deliver an operational and scalable Zero Trust security model for your organization.

Harness Identity Data as a Driver of Zero Trust Architecture

The RadiantOne Intelligent Identity Data Platform integrates identity data—regardless of source or location—to form an infinitely reusable Identity Data Fabric to create a unified identity foundation for your IAM framework. RadiantOne acts as an abstraction layer between identity-consuming applications and required source identity silos, isolating consumers from the complexity of the infrastructure. RadiantOne unifies your identity data and organizes it contextually, making the data available quickly and securely via multiple protocols—LDAP, SQL, and web services. This approach lets you harness identity data to drive your Zero Trust Architecture.

RadiantOne unifies all identity stores, giving consuming apps a single point of access and delivering a single version of the truth. You can think of each application and data source as a spoke off of a hub, into which you can easily plug in a new population of users from a merger, or a new initiative, in a matter of hours or days, instead of taking months or years to customize.

The RadiantOne platform creates the foundation to deliver practical implementations of Zero Trust for complex infrastructures that enable enhanced security and better user experiences that can:

  • Authenticate all users with a single source for verification
  • Take multiple endpoints and domains and create a unified location for attributes from dissimilar underlying sources
  • Enable detailed policy design with contextual, complete views of information gathered from across the organization
  • Extend a Zero Trust Architecture approach to the entire infrastructure, with flexibility and support for standards that enable you to connect modern IAM architectures with legacy systems
  • Provide seamless yet secure experiences for a better overall user experience

RadiantOne lets you intelligently manage identity data to enable security and business development while securely connecting identity-consuming apps and resources at the right time, no matter where they are. RadiantOne bridges identity requirements across platforms and protocols, unifying identity data and creating a consistent, reusable resource for developers that drives a seamless experience for all users.

Radiant Logic is an industry leader in implementing commercial solutions of Zero-Trust Architectures. In 2021, Radiant Logic was selected by the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as one of the technology collaborators to contribute to the NIST/NCCoE’s new Zero Trust Architecture project.

As part of this initiative, Radiant Logic will contribute to the development of a practical, general-purpose enterprise IT infrastructure based on context-driven identity data. “A Zero Trust approach relies on a strong identity foundation,” says Joe Sander, CEO of Radiant Logic. “We believe that offering a single pane of glass for context-driven identity data will accelerate interoperability and eliminate identity integration challenges, making identity the enabler of a secure enterprise architecture instead of a risk vector.”

Identity is the core of modern cybersecurity. Contact us today to learn more about how RadiantOne can help you manage identity data and build a solid foundation for your Zero Trust architecture.

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