5 tips for leveraging zero trust to up your work-from-anywhere game
Apr 13, 2022
Editor's note: This post by Careem CISO Peeyush Patel originally appeared on Zscaler.com.
Today’s competitive talent environment requires bold moves for companies seeking the best workers. That’s why Careem has committed to a remote-first workplace and borderless hiring with a global reach. We believe this strategy is the most effective way to acquire talent for building out the everyday super app we’ve developed for the Middle East region, which includes the robust payments system we engineered to serve a market where the majority of individuals don’t own a credit card.
As the pandemic demonstrated to many enterprises, there is a vast divide between the concept of work-from-anywhere (WFA) hiring and the reality of enabling individuals to do so in a manner that is simultaneously secure and productive. With the goal of eliminating that divide, we’ve joined other leading companies in adopting a zero trust security model and deploying the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange platform.
In this blog, I’d like to share a few tips from our journey in hopes that the lessons we’ve learned can assist you with getting the most out of your zero trust deployment.
Tip 1 – Take a holistic platform approach
Whenever you embark on a security initiative, it’s easy for stakeholders to focus on protecting their individual use cases. This leads to considering solutions in isolation and, often, deploying multiple point-based products. In the end, this undermines your ability to gain either comprehensive security or management simplicity.
Instead, it’s critical to take a platform approach at the outset and evaluate how well each platform vendor addresses your use cases. We suggest you pay particular attention to the integrations among the services within the platforms you’re considering. Like any other software, a “platform” that’s simply a collection of individual products, with little or no integration, will not only create inefficiencies for your IT and InfoSec teams but also for your business users.
Taking a platform approach ensures you adopt a comprehensive solution for today and streamlines future deployments as security technologies evolve and new use cases arise. If your enterprise is like ours, anytime you can smoothly add capabilities to an existing solution you’re better off than when you’re forced to rip-and-replace.
Tip 2 – Leverage the right pain point
As getting buy-in from the business is always key to adoption success, we discovered the best strategy is leveraging the right pain point.
For example, our Zero Trust Exchange adoption addressed multiple use cases, ranging from supporting our WFA model to easing geopolitical compliance requirements. However, for our business users, the most pressing issue was eliminating the daily frustrations associated with accessing the applications they needed with our existing VPN solution. This led to positioning our Zscaler adoption as a VPN replacement because that solved the business problem in a manner that business users could understand.
Tip 3 – Seek a platform provider with a deep regional partner network
Although complying with data-related regulations is particularly complex in a region like ours, which lacks an overall governing body, the truth is that every geographically-dispersed enterprise faces regional nuances for complying with laws and practices – a fact driven home recently when the global geopolitical environment became even more complex than ever.
This reality makes local partners invaluable for the process of adopting and, depending upon your application management strategy, administrating a comprehensive zero trust platform. Local partners can help you navigate the regional situation to ensure you’re accounting for all of the nuances. In addition, local partners are invaluable resources for your platform provider to ensure its security solutions evolve to keep pace with the local environment.
Therefore, we sought a platform provider with a deep and growing partner network. To us, committing to a robust partner network demonstrated Zscaler’s sincerity for ensuring that every customer has access to the relationships that contribute to a successful zero trust journey.
Tip 4 – Market zero trust advantages to prospective employees
Much the same as any other technology tool, we can market our Zero Trust Exchange deployment to prospective employees. For technical staff, we’re offering an opportunity to expand their skills using the latest cloud-enabled security solution as well as its integrations with AWS, CrowdStrike, Okta, VMware, and other cloud applications.
Similarly, business users appreciate working for a forward-thinking enterprise that streamlines technology processes so they can focus on their jobs.
We believe that high-quality workers will find our approach attractive and we plan to further leverage our Zscaler adoption as we continue scaling up our workforce.
Tip 5 – Treat zero trust as a journey, not a destination
Regardless of the current benefits we receive from our Zero Trust Exchange adoption, we consider our zero trust approach to be an ongoing journey rather than a destination. We’ll continue adding new capabilities to stay ahead of threats, protect our super app platform, and safeguard our customers.
Near term, we’re excited about exploring the new ZPA app protection solution that checks for potentially malicious activity embedded within encrypted traffic destined for our private applications. We think of it like air travel: before people are allowed to board an airplane, officials inspect their passport, visa, and bags.
Another item on our radar is Zscaler Deception, which blankets an IT environment with decoys and false paths that lure sophisticated attackers and detect advanced threats without adding operational overhead or false positives. It’s like setting up honey pots within our environment so we can proactively uncover and stop adversaries like organized ransomware operators.
We’re also interested in extending the same protections we gain for applications and users to workloads using the various new services within the Zero Trust Exchange.
Ready for whatever comes next
No matter how we evolve our Zero Trust Exchange deployment, it will continue to be the heart of our secure WFA business model, always ensuring our far-flung workforce can be productive regardless of their time zone.
To learn more, I invite you to read the accompanying case study about how our zero trust journey and partnership with Zscaler is ensuring we’re able to meet our business goals.
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