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Over 96% Indian Enterprises Migrating To Cloud Are Looking To Implement Zero Trust: Report

The research shows that against a backdrop of rapid digital transformation, IT leaders believe zero trust is the ideal framework for securing enterprise users, workloads and IoT/OT environments in a highly distributed cloud and mobile-centric world

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A report on Thursday revealed that more than 96 per cent of Indian IT leaders who have started their migration to the cloud have implemented, are implementing, or are planning to implement a zero trust security architecture. 

Supporting the mass migration to zero trust to secure users and the cloud, more than two thirds (62 per cent) believe that secure cloud transformation is impossible with legacy network security infrastructures such as traditional firewalls and VPNs. This is according to The State of Zero Trust Transformation 2023 report by Zscaler.

The research shows that against a backdrop of rapid digital transformation, IT leaders believe zero trust is the ideal framework for securing enterprise users, workloads and IoT/OT environments in a highly distributed cloud and mobile-centric world. Approached from a holistic IT perspective, zero trust has the potential to unlock business opportunities across the overall digitization process, from driving increased innovation to supporting better employee engagement, or delivering tangible cost efficiencies.

“While the implementation rates are high, the report suggests that organisations could aim for a more ambitious approach. There is a pertinent need for Indian organisations to adopt a comprehensive and proactive security strategy that prioritizes zero-trust principles,” said Ananth Nag, Senior Regional Vice President, India & SAARC, Zscaler. 

The Leading Cloud Concerns 

IT leaders identified security, access and complexity as top cloud concerns, creating a clear case for zero trust to overcome these hurdles. When asked about legacy network and security infrastructures, 72 per cent of Indian respondents indicated they believed VPNs or perimeter-based firewalls are both ineffective at protecting against cyberattacks or providing poor visibility into application traffic and attacks. This further validates the findings that 62 per cent agree that secure cloud transformation is impossible with a legacy network security infrastructure such as traditional firewalls and VPNs.

The Cloud Context – A Lack of Confidence

While progress on zero trust is strong, Zscaler found that globally only 22 per cent of organisations are fully confident they are leveraging the full potential of their cloud infrastructure, so while organisations have made solid initial steps on their cloud journey, there is a massive opportunity to capitalize on the benefits of the cloud. Regionally, the results vary with India being ahead of all markets surveyed with 55 per cent of Indian organisations feeling fully confident in the use of their cloud infrastructure, compared with 42 per cent of organisations across Americas, 14 per cent across EMEA and 24 per cent in APAC. While India is leading on a country level followed by the US (41 per cent) and Mexico (36 per cent), European and Asian countries are less confident: Australia (17 per cent), Japan (17 per cent) and Singapore (16 per cent).

While at first glance security appears to stand in the way of fully realising the full potential of the cloud, the motivations behind cloud migration suggest a more fundamental barrier in how IT leaders view the cloud. IT leaders cited data privacy concerns, challenges to securing data in the cloud, and the challenges of scaling network security as among the top barriers to embracing the cloud’s full potential. When asked about the main factors driving digital transformation initiatives in their organizations, the top three factors were cost reduction, managing cyber risk, and facilitating emerging technologies like 5G and Edge computing, suggesting there may still be a distinct lack of understanding around how to fully capitalize on its broader business benefits.

The Potential of Zero Trust as a Business Enabler

In line with the motivations behind cloud migration, Zscaler found that a focus on wider strategic outcomes is missing from how organizations are planning emerging technology initiatives. When Indian respondents were asked about the single most challenging aspect of implementing emerging technology projects, 37 per cent cited adequate security, followed by budget requirements for further digitisation (23 per cent). However, only 17 per cent cited dependency on strategic business decisions as a challenge.

While budget concerns are natural, the focus on securing the network while ignoring strategic business alignment suggests organisations are focused on security without a full understanding of its business benefit, and that zero trust itself is not yet understood as a business enabler. 

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