Orchestrating Zero Trust with Chef Desktop

Business needs are evolving continuously, and the growing challenges in IT management have led to the development and proliferation of newer software technologies. These technologies, designed to add speed and consistency, improve the overall productivity of various IT teams.  

One key aspect of concern as a business organization is often security. Failure to comply with policies and regimes usually has severe repercussions. For example, data breaches within endpoint devices can cause massive downtimes, loss of data, or other forms of service disruption and revenue loss, if not monitored continuously. As a result, “Zero Trust” is gaining rapid adoption among organizations to prevent data breaches and minimize security risks. 

What is Zero Trust? 

Users cannot be trusted, neither can the network!  

Source: Verizon DBIR Reports 2021

Zero Trust is a security practice that enforces a technological and cultural belief of “never trust, always verify” for people and devices within organizations. It allows IT admins to overcome the challenges of keeping endpoints secure and compliant while still allowing frictionless freedom for employees to access everything they need from anywhere within the network securely. By continuously monitoring endpoints and verifying all users accessing different applications within the network, Zero Trust helps replace traditional manual security management techniques through rule-based security management. A rule-based, automated, don’t-assume-but-verify approach maintains security at all times and offers flexibility to apply customized rules for different endpoints or users.  

Challenges with Traditional Security Practices 

The traditional security architecture has its own set of challenges.  These challenges can be hard to address in a complex and evolving IT ecosystem and often can cause business service disruption when unnoticed. Some challenges associated with traditional architectures are: 


  • Restrictive on-premises identity providers 
  • No SSO is present between cloud and on-premises apps  
  • Visibility into identity risk is minimal 


  • Devices are domain-joined and managed with solutions like Group Policy Object or Config Manager  
  • Devices are required to be on the network to access data 


  • Permissions are managed manually across environments  
  • Hard to manage configurations of VMs and Network servers with high workloads 


  • On-premises apps are accessed through physical networks or VPN  
  • Critical cloud apps are accessible to all/ many users with no restrictions  


  • Few network security perimeters and flat open network  
  • Minimal threat protection and static traffic filtering  
  • Internal traffic is not often encrypted 


  • Access is governed by perimeter control, not data sensitivity  
  • Sensitivity labels are applied manually, with inconsistent data classification

How Zero Trust Helps 

The Zero Trust concept comes with three guiding principles in addition to “never trust”:  

  • All resources must be accessible securely from a secure machine, regardless of location. 
  • Access control is on a “need to know” basis correlated to a user’s identity and what that user is authorized to access and device context. 
  • Organizations must inspect and log all traffic to verify users are always doing the right things to maintain security. 

Zero Trust with Chef Desktop 

Chef Desktop allows organizations to extend the capabilities of Zero Trust from a simple practice to a more meaningful application of security and compliance policies through the Rule Engine.  

Chef Desktop automates Configuration Management by allowing codification of Infrastructure Configurations through policy files. This makes applying and maintaining configuration changes across a large fleet of machines faster and provides visibility into their real-time status. Besides automating configurations, Chef Desktop uses compliance-as-code principles to automate continuous security and compliance checks for endpoints to detect and remediate issues.  

Through Chef Desktop, your Zero Trust Rules Engine now has significantly more security insights about system hardening status and device compliance to make decisions regarding the accessibility of various resources to different nodes or users. Customizable templates allow flexibility to add and modify configurations to accommodate the unique requirements of specific users, endpoints, or apps. A unified dashboard to track the current status of nodes in terms of configuration, health, and compliance makes it furthermore easier to track security and configuration management data across the entire IT resource fleet. 

As business downtimes and revenue loss continue to increase due to security breaches and reputation loss, organizations are rapidly adopting robust security management practices to prevent and mitigate the impacts of data breaches. While multiple technologies enable the Zero Trust approach to security, Chef Desktop ensures that Security Management is not just limited to rule-based authentication for secure access but also includes continuous configuration and compliance management. What’s more, Chef Desktop ensures security and compliance across all endpoints in the fleet, across operating systems – all with complete real-time observability.  

Join Our Webinar to Learn More 

All this is just a sneak peek into what we have in store for you. Register now for our webinar on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 10:00 AM PT.   

Your hosts, Sudeep Charles, Senior Manager, Product Marketing and Nischal Reddy, Senior Product Manager at Chef, will showcase current trends, challenges and orchestrating zero trust with Chef Desktop. Don’t forget to get your questions ready for the Q&A session. 

Book your spot now! 


Sudeep Charles

Sudeep Charles is a Senior Manager, Product Marketing at Progress. Over a career spanning close to two decades, Sudeep has held various roles in product development, product marketing, and business development for Cybersecurity, Fintech, and Telecom enterprises. Sudeep holds a Bachelors degree in Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration.