Making Zero Trust security a frictionless experience for the users

The user experience, or friction, is an essential consideration in Zero Trust security.

PCQ Bureau
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There is a classic contrast in security. Organizations must make data and services available to the public, but a data breach can occur if they are too publicly accessible or too open. On the other hand, controls are marginalized and ignored if data and services are too constrained. Organizations strive to strike a balance between risk and advanced controls. Whichever strategy is used impacts the user experience, and both can result in less-than-ideal outcomes if done incorrectly.

Enhance customer experience  

When adopting a new security protocol, I've asked many IT professionals if they think about the end-user. Surprisingly, the answer is usually no. My motivation for asking this question is straightforward, to ensure frictionless implementation if you know more about the users performing it.

The user experience, or friction, is an essential consideration in security. IT firms must understand and create with their customers' motivations and behaviors to achieve the intended security outcome. As a result, the intended request will be received with less resistance and higher adoption, enhancing overall security.

Why You Still Need SSO

First and foremost, Single sign-on (SSO) is still a requirement in a business infrastructure stack.

For each access point, an end-user will not enter in their credentials. However, SSO in its current state, with 2FA or MFA as part of the access flow, falls short of Zero Trust requirements. And this construct connects to what I mentioned earlier. Organizations must strike a balance between risk and advanced controls.


Zero Trust is a proactive security strategy that regularly verifies users, devices, and services before trusting them. "Never trust, always verify" is a frequent summary of this strategy. In essence, Zero Trust considers that anything connected to a system is a possible danger that needs to be validated before it can be trusted. However, to do so, security teams must have as much information as possible about the person's identity using the resources. Security is more hope-based than fact-based without this fundamental knowledge of identity, thus impacting the effectiveness of a Zero Trust architecture.

On its own, Zero Trust appears to increase friction during user access, resulting in a bad user experience. That, however, does not have to be the case. Many of the access types occur due to improper password creation by end-users, and these credentials are vulnerable to being hacked or phished. As a result, moving to a Zero Trust architecture can allow enterprises to improve the user experience while also implementing technologies that increase security and user experience.

What is the best way to accomplish this? With the concept of identity. What role does identity play in Zero Trust architecture? It's a cornerstone of the Zero Trust architecture since it allows you to proactively verify users' identities at each point of access before a breach occurs. This is consistent with Zero Trust's core philosophy of "never trust, always verify." However, to securely authenticate a person, an indisputable identity proving mechanism must first be implemented. The triangulation of a user claim with biometrics is required for an indisputably proofed ID. Every access attempt will be associated with a trusted and confirmed identity if this part of identity management is implemented.


As a result, a safe access infrastructure based on verified identities linked to biometrics is created. This way, rather than using passwords and attempting to safeguard them with extra authentication methods, the user's identity is the access method.

Zero Trust Can Improve User Experience

Companies should implement a platform that uses an identity-based approach to authentication to ensure that people are who they say they are. Identity is brought to the forefront of security, allowing enterprises using a Zero Trust infrastructure to know who is accessing IT assets and internet services.

Businesses should provide users with a convenient and straightforward option to authenticate their identification using government, telecommunications, and banking credentials. Then, after being verified, employees, citizens, and customers use their digital identities to log in or approve transactions. This identity pre-proofing gives the Zero Trust solution a level of trust and offers users a frictionless experience. Organizations will use Zero Trust with a significantly improved user experience for access and a high level of identity assurance, knowing who's on the other side of the digital connection.

The article is authored by Robert MacDonald, VP- Product Marketing, 1Kosmos 

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