The Zero Trust model follows the “never trust, always verify” principle – authenticating and authorizing every user, device and application based on multiple data points. This is often paired with micro-segmentation to limit a breach’s “blast radius” if it does occur.
For remote workers, this means avoiding VPNs and connecting directly to applications on a need-to-know basis. This provides granular control that can help protect against many of the most common threats.
What is Zero Trust Network Access?
Secure remote access to programs and data is made possible by a group of technologies called Zero Trust Network Access. It is a substitute for conventional VPNs and can be set up locally, in the cloud, or as a SaaS. Implementing the “never trust, always verify” principle defines ZTNA by enforcing granular, adaptive and context-aware policies. This reduces risk, eliminates the need for a perimeter and prevents lateral movement of threats within the organization’s networks.
It also supports the “least privilege” principle, which limits access to only the minimum functionality required to complete a task. This is important, as attackers often leverage over-privileged service accounts that are not monitored or restricted.
The Zero Trust security model also focuses on monitoring and alerting on activity that may indicate a threat to the network. This includes identifying suspicious behavior, analyzing anomalies and detecting suspicious files. It also involves leveraging advanced threat analytics to identify and stop threats in their tracks.
With hackers constantly targeting corporate assets, it’s critical to understand how Zero Trust can protect your organization. It offers an effective way to secure modern environments and enable digital transformation by deploying strong authentication methods, preventing lateral movement, providing Layer 7 threat prevention and simplifying granular, and least-access policy management. The security architecture also enables continuous user activity monitoring. This is crucial in ensuring that the right people can access the correct data when and where they need it.
What are the Benefits of Zero Trust Network Access?
When organizations implement Zero Trust, they can eliminate the need to maintain complex, overlapping networks. This helps reduce security risk by reducing the surface area for attacks, making it easier to secure and connect remote users.
Zero trust also helps to improve productivity by providing a fast, secure connection to critical applications and resources. It offers granular security across all workloads and environments without requiring changes to network architecture or policy updates. This helps organizations to enable their digital transformation initiatives while protecting business-critical data securely.
A Zero Trust model helps to mitigate the risks of data breaches, loss of customer trust and compliance violations. The approach requires strict identity verification on every device, user and application accessing the network — even when they are already inside the organization’s perimeter. This is a significant improvement over traditional methods that only consider the source of an access request, such as an IP address or location.
Zero trust also helps to simplify the security architecture by eliminating redundant firewalls and web gateways. This can save significant money and complexity in a company’s security infrastructure while improving the end-user experience.
In the past, tighter security has evoked employee visions of added bureaucracy and increased barriers to getting work done. But the new generation of technologies can make it easy to deploy a security solution that supports business-critical apps on any device without causing disruptions to the workforce or creating obstacles to adoption.
What are the Challenges of Zero Trust Network Access?
Zero trust is a fundamental shift in security architecture. Its foundation is identity, and it validates all connections on a need-to-know basis. It also uses micro-segmentation to limit the impact of a breach, making it an effective countermeasure against insider threats and compromised accounts. However, there are several challenges that organizations need to address to implement ZTNA successfully.
One challenge is requiring a unified identity and access management (IAM) system to ensure users are only given access to the resources they need. This is a significant undertaking for some enterprises and can require additional staff or the use of managed services.
Another challenge is that it can be difficult to keep pace with the constant need for verification and monitoring as workloads, users, applications, and networks change constantly. This can lead to a loss of visibility and create manual processes susceptible to human error.
Finally, it can be challenging to integrate with existing legacy systems and applications built with perimeters in mind. This may require a rip-and-replace approach, which can be costly and time-consuming. Fortunately, many vendors offer solutions that help with these challenges and can help to streamline the migration to zero trust. As a result, those who have switched to zero trust report improved efficiency in their SOCs.
What are the Solutions for Zero Trust Network Access?
Zero trust network access solutions are built to meet the needs of modern businesses, especially those with remote and hybrid work environments. Unlike legacy network security approaches like VPNs that provide implicit access to all networks, zero-trust access solutions verify users, their devices and the context of the application they are trying to connect to. This ensures that the least privilege is granted and limits lateral movement of threats should a device be compromised.
A Zero Trust solution will also offer granular, adaptive policies that consider user identity, time of day, service location, type and more. It should also include advanced threat protection capabilities to prevent malware and ransomware from compromising devices and spreading across an organization’s network. Finally, it should be scalable to meet the needs of an evolving business and incorporate options for both agent-based and server- or cloud-based implementation.