How to Build IAM with Zero Trust

This year, the business community was forced to adapt to a new era of distributed work—and cyber threats have adapted right along with them. Between unsecured home WiFi networks and the rise in personal devices accessing company resources, the opportunities for data theft have risen as teams have dispersed.

Implementing robust identity and access management (IAM) solutions is proving to be a vital method for reasserting control over who has access to your company’s digital resources. This approach is key for mitigating the security risks associated with distributed work. With effective IAM, you can contextually assess risk, grant permissions on a granular level, and fully integrate third-party services without compromising user experience. But it’s not just a matter of flipping a switch. 

How One AI-Driven Media Platform Cut EBS Costs for AWS ASGs by 48%

How One AI-Driven Media Platform Cut EBS Costs for AWS ASGs by 48%

Reaching IAM maturity as we embrace remote work requires a staged approach—one that starts with implementing basic identity features to support your remote workforce, and ends with a robust Zero Trust framework in place. 

In this post, we’ll take a look at the final stage of our distributed work IAM maturity curve, and how you can begin to implement Zero Trust.

When your distributed business is ready for Zero Trust

Distributed work is safest when organizations operate within the architecture of Zero Trust, essentially, treating every user, device, and IP address as a threat—until proven otherwise.

To begin your journey towards never trusting, and always verifying, it can be helpful to identify how far your company has already come along the path to Zero Trust. Before they begin actively implementing Zero Trust, many companies have already deployed some of the framework’s foundational elements, including single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) solutions that protect access and minimize vulnerability. 

At this stage, companies have often enhanced the productivity of their workforce by automating security processes related to onboarding and offboarding, extended access controls to on-prem apps or IaaS, and implemented the right authentication policies and factors for their business. From there, they can take various steps to ensure that they have achieved Zero Trust access across applications, servers, and APIs, rooting policies and decisions in each user’s identity.

The stages of Zero Trust

A Zero Trust security architecture, supported at its core by IAM, involves the following stages and considerations:

  • Stage 0: Fragmented Identity. Organizations at the beginning of their Zero Trust journey often find themselves operating a mix of on-premises and cloud applications that are not integrated together, forcing IT to manage disparate identities across a number of systems.
  • Stage 1: Unified Identity and Access Management. To resolve the security gaps caused by fragmented identities, companies in Stage 1 of Zero Trust consolidate identities under one IAM system. Alongside modern SSO and MFA, unified access policies across applications and servers brings IAM together into one secure, manageable place for IT across on-prem and cloud environments.
  • Stage 2: Contextual access. Companies in Stage 2 of the maturity curve add context-based access policies to their IAM system. This means gathering rich signals about the user’s context, application context, device context, location, and network, and applying access policies based on that information. These contextual policies are also supplemented by multiple MFA factors, and automated processes, across the user lifecycle. 
  • Stage 3: Adaptive workforce. In the final stage of Zero Trust, organizations extend their focus on authenticating and authorizing access. Authentication no longer occurs just at the front gate, but continuously through an adaptive, risk-based assessment to identify potential threats. 

By moving your organization from awareness into context-based policies and processes, you ensure that your distributed workforce is protected and you’ve closed the door to dangerous and costly breaches. 

Supporting a truly adaptive workforce with Zero Trust

Distributed teams are working hard to get things done, without the convenience of having their colleagues in an adjacent office or down the hall. Their new work environment should feel as seamless as possible, while still being secured.

To better equip their distributed teams, businesses should consider key pieces of the Zero Trust puzzle, including: 

  • Risk-based access policies
  • Continuous and adaptive authentication and authorization
  • Frictionless access

The goal isn’t to authenticate workers once and then step back. Instead, each user’s digital activities need to be continuously evaluated for risks based on the contextual signals they’re sharing. If the signals change, they may be re-prompted for one or more authentication factors.

Building out Zero Trust with IAM Solutions

Today, IT administrators have choices when setting policies and prompting for authentication factors. If the risk level is low, they can prompt users for non-password factors, like push notifications to the user’s mobile phone. Plus, they can reduce their reliance on VPNs by connecting to a Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) tool like Zscaler or Akamai.

IAM vendors continually roll out features that increase the strength and simplicity of access management. Today, it’s also possible to go beyond the discrete contextual access policies and achieve an even higher standard of security. An organization can specify its level of risk tolerance and let modern technologies weigh data-based considerations in a way that humans just can’t. A good example is the recent capabilities added to Okta:

  • ThreatInsight leverages data from the Okta customer network, admins, and end users to protect customers from identity attacks, such as brute force or password spraying.
  • Risk-based authentication generates a risk score that can be evaluated against policy based on signals from IP, user, and device state.


Zero Trust is no longer an abstract goal. It’s an achievable security standard for a newly distributed, adaptive workforce—and we’re here to help. 

Contact us to start your Zero Trust journey today, and finish it quicker than you imagine.

Latest Articles

On-Demand Webinar: CISO’s Roadmap to Cloud Security Excellence

Today’s CISOs face a daunting array of security threats. From ransomware and cloud misconfigurations to zero-day exploits and code vulnerabilities, the stakes have never been higher. Join our cloud security expert engineers for an enlightening webinar that delves deep into the state of cloud security in 2023. Learn about the best tools and practices that […]

Ganesh The Awesome Senior Pre & Post-Sales Engineer at GlobalDots
18th June, 2023
The fastest Zero Trust browsing & app access service

Welcome to our Solution Brief on Zero Trust, the future of cybersecurity. Our expert team at GlobalDots has prepared this to help you understand the key components of Zero Trust, and its role in securing modern business applications and data. Our Zero Trust solution covers all the critical components of ZTNA, including VPN replacement and […]

Ganesh The Awesome Senior Pre & Post-Sales Engineer at GlobalDots
9th March, 2023
Remote work & WFH Policies: FAQs Answered

We were recently approached by the press to provide some policy guidelines for companies adopting the hybrid or 100%-remote model. Truth be told, GlobalDots’ legacy of remote work dates back to the surge of Skype. Yes, we’ve been working remotely for quite a while, so for us, the Pandemic didn’t change much. How One AI-Driven […]

Shalom Carmel Chief Information Officer at GlobalDots
20th April, 2022
How to Keep Hackers Out of Your Distributed Environment

New normal, new challenges One of the outcomes of COVID-19 has been our newfound openness to remote work. According to a recent PwC survey, 41% of workers would now prefer their workdays to be fully remote, compared with 29% in January 2021, signaling the desire to work remotely is only ramping up. For cybersecurity teams, this new reality brings […]

Shalom Carmel Chief Information Officer at GlobalDots
19th December, 2021

Unlock Your Cloud Potential

Schedule a call with our experts. Discover new technology and get recommendations to improve your performance.

    GlobalDots' industry expertise proactively addressed structural inefficiencies that would have otherwise hindered our success. Their laser focus is why I would recommend them as a partner to other companies

    Marco Kaiser
    Marco Kaiser


    Legal Services

    GlobalDots has helped us to scale up our innovative capabilities, and in significantly improving our service provided to our clients

    Antonio Ostuni
    Antonio Ostuni


    IT Services

    It's common for 3rd parties to work with a limited number of vendors - GlobalDots and its multi-vendor approach is different. Thanks to GlobalDots vendors umbrella, the hybrid-cloud migration was exceedingly smooth

    Motti Shpirer
    Motti Shpirer

    VP of Infrastructure & Technology

    Advertising Services