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Identity Fabric vs. Zero Trust: Is One a Better Alternative Than The Other?

Identity fabric and zero trust are two different ways of managing business resources, one focusing on identity and the other on data. This blog will help you understand the difference between the two approaches and their benefits for your organization's security strategy.


It’s no secret that identity management has been a challenge for businesses. With the increase in the number of devices and services that need to be accessed, it’s become increasingly difficult to manage user identities and maintain security.

Although there are several options available to address this issue, two competing models are gaining traction: Zero Trust and Identity Fabric.

While these two approaches may seem similar on the surface, they are quite different in their approach to securing your network, and each may be better suited for different environments.

In this article, we'll examine how Zero Trust and Identity Fabric work, and which is right for your organization.

What is Identity Fabric?

An Identity Fabric is a centralized system that allows you to share information about employees and other stakeholders across your organization. It's essentially a way to make sure that the information you use to make decisions is accurate and consistent, but it also means that if that data source gets compromised, all of your applications are vulnerable.

Identity fabrics is designed to offer a new approach to security by providing a more efficient way to protect information at the application layer. It can be applied at several levels, that include:

  • At the edge, where the Identity Fabric sits between the perimeter firewall and your servers or applications, protecting against threats that try to bypass perimeter defenses.
  • In the data center itself, where it sits between your servers or applications and network traffic from outside sources such as customers or partners
  • In addition, identity fabrics are also deployed as part of an overall strategy that also includes other types of controls such as encryption and tokenization.

What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is an approach to security in which every interaction between two parties must be authenticated and authorized. This means no one has access to any data unless they've been granted permission by an administrator—and even then, only the parts of it they're allowed access to.

Zero Trust works well for organizations that want to ensure their sensitive information isn't vulnerable when it leaves their servers—but it can be challenging to implement on a large scale.

By using the Zero Trust strategy, you:

  • Reduce business and organizational risks
  • Gain control over cloud and container environments
  • Reduce the risk of a data breach by creating perimeters around sensitive data
  • Inspect users and devices for authentication, and permissions are assessed before any trust is gained.

What are the Critical Differences Between Identity Fabric and Zero Trust?

Identity Fabric Zero Trust
Identity Fabric is a term used to describe the composition of an individual’s identity, which could be any one or combination of things such as a username, a password, an email address, a phone number, etc. Zero Trust focuses on establishing an explicit trust relationship between two parties by requiring credentials (i.e., credentials are required to access data).
Identity Fabric is used at the application layer within a network, and it can be deployed on top of existing authentication technologies such as Active Directory or LDAP. Zero Trust applies to the entire organization’s infrastructure and can be implemented without modifying existing applications or systems.
Identity Fabric is based on user behavior analytics that uses machine learning techniques to identify anomalies in user behavior which can then be used for authorization decisions. Zero Trust uses adaptive access control policies that are designed by human analysts who evaluate risk factors such as location, device type and other attributes associated with each user session before granting access rights.
Identity Fabric provides automatic user provisioning, so you don't have to manually create and maintain new users on your network. Zero Trust requires manual management of user accounts, which increases the workload of your IT team and may cause security vulnerabilities if not done correctly.
Identity Fabric offers end-to-end encryption at rest and in transit for all data stored within its platform—including sensitive information like SSNs—ensuring that no one can access it without proper authorization (i.e., through an encrypted key). Zero Trust does not offer this type of encryption for all data stored within its platform—only critical data, such as credit card numbers, are encrypted at rest.
Identity Fabric doesn't take that into account when determining how to enforce policies. Zero Trust is designed with the idea that users will be able to access multiple systems on a single device.
Identity Fabric is less secure because the federated model can be compromised by hackers. Zero Trust is more secure than Identity Fabric because every interaction is governed by a policy that establishes what actions are allowed for specific users based on their role within the organization and their location at any given time (on or off premises).


Identity Fabric vs Zero Trust: Which is Better?

The short answer to choosing identity fabrics vs zero trust totally depends on businesses.

Identity Fabric is a platform that manages user identities across multiple cloud services so users can access them with a single username and password. An Identity Fabric architecture helps manage identity-related tasks like authentication, access control, and integration.

Zero Trust is an access control model where users are only granted access when they prove they should have it—and not before. Who you are, where you are coming from, and your permission to access a resource are the basis of a Zero Trust strategy.

Therefore, both identity fabric and zero trust are two different ways of managing business resources, one focusing on identity and the other on data. The debate over which is better has been going on for years, but the reality is that both have strengths and weaknesses, so no single solution is suitable for every organization.


Sudhanshu Agarwal

Written by Sudhanshu Agarwal

Director of consumer Service @ LoginRadius | Technical Support | consumer Success | Leadership | Project Management | Product Implementation

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