COVID-19 highlights barriers to zero trust adoption

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With many large enterprises using Active Directory (AD) and Azure Active Directory (AAD) to control user permissions and access, this has become one of first places attackers look for weakness.

Add to this an acceleration of digital transformation projects due to the pandemic and more and more companies are looking to implement zero trust to stay secure. But a new report from One Identity suggests this transition may prove challenging.

A survey of over 1,200 IT security professionals around the world finds rapid changes in Microsoft Active Directory and Azure Active Directory are a significant impact of COVID-19 on identity management teams. 37 percent of IT professionals find rapid changes in their AD/AAD environment the most challenging impact of the pandemic, while 48 percent of respondents report that provisioning and deprovisioning of AD/AAD have become more important over the past 12 months.


20 percent say there has been an increase in priority for provisioning and deprovisioning of AD/AAD as a direct result of COVID-19. Migration is slow too, with just eight percent of companies globally having fully moved to AAD and only nine percent planning to do so in the next year.

There are concerns about the cloud too, with nine out of 10 organizations having concerns about storing access credentials in the cloud, even though 31 percent have increased their cloud investment as a result of COVID-19.

"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," says Bhagwat Swaroop, president and general manager at 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."

The full report is available from the One Identity site.

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