Dell Builds a Zero Trust Ecosystem Designed to Help Streamline the Customer Path to Zero Trust
by Krista Macomber | May 3, 2023

The News: Dell announced the formation of its Zero Trust ecosystem, launching with more than 30 technology and security companies including Corsha, Gigamon, Intel, Juniper Networks, MISI, Nomad GCS, NVIDIA, Palo Alto Networks, VMware. Additionally, via the Zero Trust Center of Excellence that the company launched in October 2022 in collaboration with the Maryland Innovation Security Institute (MISI), it is replicating the Department of Defense-approved architecture into a commercial, private cloud solution for Zero Trust. Additional detail on Dell’s Zero Trust ecosystem is available from Dell here.

Dell Builds a Zero Trust Ecosystem Designed to Help Streamline the Customer Path to Zero Trust

Analyst Take: I have written previously about the impetus for Zero Trust and the role that data protection plays within this stack. The Dell announcement highlights that, just like any security-related strategy these days, Zero Trust is a team sport.

At the core of Zero Trust is an emphasis on both mandatory and pervasive authentication, moving beyond perimeter-based, network-centric approaches. Applications, data, devices, and users all need to be authenticated for “least privileged” access, with conflict in policies between various tools avoided. Additionally, it calls for lateral movement between various applications, infrastructures, and services to be eradicated.

Not unlike the challenges regarding the introduction of new technologies into existing data protection stacks, integrating the various piece parts necessitated by Zero Trust is a significant challenge for IT Operations. In fact, Dell cited the government referenced architecture it is replicating for use in commercial sectors spans more than 150 security controls and approximately 20 software tools. This can make the end goal of Zero Trust seem, in many cases, more like a pipe dream than a realistic end state. For its part, however, this is the challenge that Dell aims to address.

Dell’s Strengths Play a Role in Addressing the Challenges to Realizing Zero Trust

The problem that Dell is targeting is a real one, and aside from ongoing staffing shortages and skills gaps plaguing IT organizations, is one of the biggest roadblocks to realizing Zero Trust. Though far from the only data protection provider cultivating a partner- and ecosystem-supported approach, Dell has two key, long-term strengths to utilize.

The first is its historically close relationship with customers – in effect, serving as the IT shop for some of its mid-market customers. Zero trust necessitates a paradigm shift spanning processes just as much as it does technology, and customers will need help. That’s where Dell can excel by stepping in and not only providing a holistic solution stack, but it also has the opportunity to provide a level of strategic guidance, especially to its core IT Operations audience.

The second strength that Dell can utilize is its ability to manage close relationships with third-party ISV partners, with Microsoft being the key example. Dell’s vision — a turnkey Zero Trust solution stack — is a tall order, but this background will help Dell to execute on value-add technology integration with this diverse variety of partners.

For IT Operations, especially those working in IT shops with large existing investments in Dell Technologies, the forthcoming private cloud solution bundle bears watching to streamline the path to Zero Trust.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other insights from The Futurum Group:

Zero Trust – Why Does It Matter, And What Is Data Protection’s Role?

Dell CloudIQ: Using AIOps to Make Digital Transformation and Multicloud Journeys Smarter

Dell Shows Why AI and Sustainability Can Make for an Enduring Couple

About the Author

Krista covers data protection and management, with a focus on multi-cloud environments, for The Futurum Group. She brings approximately a decade of experience providing research and advisory services and creating thought leadership content, with a focus on IT infrastructure and data management and protection. Her vantage point spans technology and vendor portfolio developments; customer buying behavior trends; vendor ecosystems, go-to-market positioning, and business models. Her work has appeared in major publications, including eWeek, TechTarget, and The Register.