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In the recent overview by Forrester on The Zero Trust Platforms Landscape, Q2 2023, Cisco is recognized as one of the notable vendors. Forrester’s Market Landscape overview highlights the value proposition, vendor or provider segments, and individual vendors or providers operating in a marketplace and is based on data submitted by vendors.

Zero trust market maturity

Forrester analyst John Kindervag is credited with coining the phrase ‘zero trust’ in 2010.  Since then, it has evolved well beyond its original focus on network security and is now considered the gold standard for organizations – from private sector to public and across the globe. Over the years, the market has shifted and consolidated quite a bit – 29 vendors were included in this overview.

Before digging into our takeaways, here’s how Forrester defines a Zero Trust platform in the Landscape report:

“A unified offering of core security technologies that serve as the base upon which other security tooling, applications, or processes can be used to enable the Zero Trust Model of information security. These platforms deliver a variety of functionalities across the seven Zero Trust domains — data, workload, network, user, device, automation and orchestration, and visibility and analytics. Zero Trust platforms include integrated products from a single vendor’s portfolio and third-party vendor technology integrations to form a Zero Trust technology ecosystem.”

Top Three Takeaways

Takeaway #1: Business outcomes feed the appetite for zero trust.

As our customers have experienced, teams pursue a zero trust architecture because it reaps rewards – in improving the user experience and in reducing risk and costs. Forrester has included the following as the top core use cases:

  • Enable and protect hybrid (anywhere) workforce
  • Monitor and secure network traffic across the enterprise
  • Prevent lateral movement of unauthorized activity
  • Enforce least privilege on all entities
  • Centrally manage key security controls

Some of the extended use cases include:

  • Extend and enhance visibility into enterprise assets
  • Enhance segmentation across the distributed enterprise
  • Identify unpatched/misconfigured systems

Clearly, pursuing zero trust security makes good business sense – by solving multiple security challenges with an architectural approach endorsed by CISA, NIST, and other industry standards organizations.

Takeaway #2: Zero trust is a mindset, not a product. Yet, certain product capabilities are critical.

Critical zero trust capabilities are needed to continually verify trust for the use cases that drive business transformation. In its listing of critical zero trust capabilities, Forrester includes an analysis of the functional role that each capability plays in each use case. One example is how access management and single sign-on (SSO) serve a primary function in enabling a hybrid workforce and in enforcing least privilege on all entities, as well as a secondary function for monitoring and securing traffic and preventing lateral movement. By combining these capabilities into a user-friendly solution that’s easy to implement, Cisco Duo offers teams a quick start to their zero trust programs. Enforcing segmentation at the network via Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) and application layers via Cisco Secure Workload (e.g., microsegmentation) are additional critical capabilities.

Takeaway #3: Extend and integrate vs. rip and replace.

Organizations of all sizes have invested significant time, energy, and cost into their security ecosystems. As they pursue zero trust security, these teams seek multi-functional, easy-to-integrate solutions to preserve the value of their investment, ease adoption, and reduce complexity. From the Forrester overview: “Buyers are looking for vendors that can deliver multiple Zero Trust functionalities and integrate with their currently deployed technologies… without the need for rip-and-replace of current investments.”

We believe that Cisco is well-positioned to provide value to our customers pursuing zero trust by delivering:

  • A flexible, extensible platform that can be used to accommodate today’s and tomorrow’s use cases – without the hassle of rip-and-replace or steep learning curves
  • Ease of integration with: Identity Providers (IdPs) and MDMs for access management but also with SIEMs and SOARs for XDR use cases
  • Capabilities across each pillar of zero trust: user, device, network, workload, data, automation and orchestration, and visibility and analytics

If you’d like additional guidance on zero trust strategy or would like to get hands-on access to Cisco’s approach to zero trust implementation, register for a Cisco Zero Trust workshop today.

 


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