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Fortinet's global 2023 State of Zero Trust report has revealed the current state of zero-trust security efforts and the progress made by IT teams in securing remote workers during the pandemic. Nearly half of the survey respondents faced significant challenges in integrating zero-trust solutions deployed on-premises and in the cloud, according to John Maddison, EVP Products and CMO at Fortinet. He emphasized the need for solutions that converge networking and security, such as Fortinet Universal ZTNA and Universal SASE, to effectively implement zero trust. The report also highlights the ongoing challenges organizations face in securing a hybrid workforce.

Key findings from the report include the increasing number of organizations implementing zero-trust strategies, with 66% of respondents currently in the process of implementation. However, challenges persist, with 48% of respondents citing a lack of integration between on-premises and cloud-based zero-trust solutions as the most significant issue. Other challenges reported include end-to-end policy enforcement, application latency and a lack of reliable information for selecting and designing zero-trust solutions.

The report also highlighted the importance of covering both on-premises and remote users with a consistent application access policy. Interestingly, 40% of respondents still host more than half of their applications on-premises, and relying solely on cloud-based zero-trust network access (ZTNA) has led to issues for 75% of respondents.

The consolidation of vendors and solution interoperability emerged as crucial factors, as deploying solutions from multiple vendors can introduce security gaps and increase operational costs. Larger companies, in particular, are seeking to consolidate solutions to simplify operations and reduce overhead.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions were identified as a priority, with 58% of respondents ranking "security effectiveness" as the most significant aspect. Furthermore, 89% of respondents deemed SASE integration with on-premises solutions either very or extremely important.

Contrary to the notion that everything is moving to the cloud, most organizations still maintain a hybrid application and data strategy. Respondents highlighted the need for a hybrid zero-trust network access strategy that covers various areas, including web applications, on-premises users, remote users, on-premises applications and SaaS applications.

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