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New Research Highlights Barriers to Adoption of Zero Trust Framework

  • Survey of over 1,200 IT Security Pros highlights rapid changes in Microsoft Active Directory and Azure Active Directory as a key impact of COVID-19

  • Nine in ten organizations have concerns around storing access credentials in the cloud

  • One Identity recommends an integrated PAM approach to fully achieve a zero-trust architecture

One Identity, a proven leader in identity-centered security, today released global survey results that revealed that 37 percent of IT professionals rated rapid changes in their AD/AAD environment as the key impact of COVID-19 on their organization’s identity management team. Given the unique challenges of the sudden shift to remote work amidst COVID-19, businesses should look toward integrating AD/AAD with a strong privileged access management (PAM) solution in order to harness the full value of AD and AAD, dramatically increasing the security of their IT environments.

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According to the Dimensional Research-conducted survey of 1,216 IT security professionals, 48 percent of survey respondents stated that granting and revoking access through AD and AAD has proven to be more important than ever, highlighting that companies are using AD/AAD as the foundation of their identity management programs. However, the migration to AAD is slow going, with companies operating in various stages of AD/AAD migration. Only 8 percent of companies globally have fully moved to AAD, with only 9 percent planning to do so in the next year. The study also showed that the higher education industry has lagged the most with only 4 percent fully adopting AAD – but there isn’t much progress across industries as a whole, with only 6 percent in the healthcare industry and 12 percent of government agencies.

Nine in ten organizations have concerns about storing access credentials in the cloud, according to the results, a startling statistic given that nearly all companies transitioned to remote work this year, leading to a dramatic increase in cloud adoption, with 31 percent of IT professionals stating that their increased investment in cloud was a direct result of COVID-19. Managing and securing AD and AAD with a dynamic zero-trust approach is critical to success, and can help businesses improve their overall security posture to address the reality, as evidenced in other studies, that show 80 percent of breaches involve compromised or weak administrative credentials.

Though the shift to remote work highlighted a number of security challenges for businesses, it also brought renewed confidence to IT practitioners, with the majority of respondents stating they are more confident in their organization’s identity management program, and in the security and management of privileged accounts, as a result of COVID-19.

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“With 95 percent of global Fortune 1000 companies relying on Active Directory to manage their users’ access, and the swift move toward Azure and cloud adoption, it becomes a natural starting point for businesses looking to implement a zero-trust security model,” said Bhagwat Swaroop, president and general manager, One Identity. “Yet, AD by itself is not equipped to meet the standards of zero-trust architecture, and it lacks the ability to store, issue and manage privileged credentials as seen in traditional privileged access management (PAM) solutions. To simplify AD’s challenges, companies need to invoke zero-standing-privileges by combining a strong PAM strategy and technology with their AD management and workflow program in order to create the zero-trust model they critically need.”

Industry practices recognize that migration delays stand in the way of adopting an AD-centric zero trust security framework. Companies must plan for AD and AAD as they adopt zero trust and should integrate their AD and PAM solutions, such as One Identity’s Safeguard and Active Roles to truly achieve zero-trust. One Identity’s Safeguard and Active Roles helps organizations tackle their biggest challenges when it comes to protecting against internal and external AD-based security threats and providing visibility and control over privileged access while also satisfying the need to improve Active Directory administrative efficiency and reducing errors. In the event of security incidents, this combined One Identity solution can tell what happened, fix what happened, and prevent it from happening again.

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