Why ZTNA Is Gaining Traction for Cyber Security

As companies are pursuing digital transformation, they are increasingly adopting cloud infrastructures. Combined with what is turning out to be a permanently distributed workforce, a new approach to both networking and security is a logical next step. Companies need to be able to apply security across a diverse set of circumstances and locations, in addition to securing internal assets and cloud infrastructures. The answer for many companies is zero trust network access (ZTNA).

The emergence of ZTNA is in response to the continuing erosion of the network perimeter. Traditional, perimeter-based networking is not applicable to new IT environments that are accessing both on-site and cloud-based infrastructures.

What is ZTNA? Zero trust principles shift the focus from a network perimeter to the users, devices, and assets accessing the network. Rather than assume that a user attempting to gain access is safe unless proven otherwise, ZTNA assumes that every user and device is suspect until proven otherwise. ZTNA is a cyber security approach that eliminates implicit trust and grants access based on exactly the level of access needed for verified users and devices.

Many organizations have begun to pursue policies through ZTNA due to needs in the areas of access control and identity management. ZTNA allows for more granular levels of control and improved scalability, flexibility, and reliability.

Why Should You Consider ZTNA? A traditional VPN authenticates users based on a company’s perimeter controls, along with any device within the corporate network. ZTNA takes a different approach, assuming that no user or device is authorized to access company resources unless it is fully authenticated and verified. Even once the user or device is authenticated, access is limited by role or other classification.

Zero trust is also a helpful strategy because VPNs do not tend to be easy to scale, given their manual configuration for individual users and devices. Management of changes with a VPN can become cumbersome and time-consuming. By contrast, ZTNA offers automated control and is not dependent on the location of the device or user to make changes.

ZTNA is focused on matching the user to the appropriate application, rather than granting access to the network. This allows for authentication to be based on identity – but also on the context of the user and the associated device, in addition to the resources being requested. This allows cyber security principles to be applied beyond the traditional network to cloud resources and offers greater scalability.

Because ZTNA is a set of cyber security policies and an overall approach, it is constantly changing. It is not a solution that companies implement, only to find that it does not meet the robust requirements they had for securing the network. Instead, it is a constantly-evolving set of principles that can be applied to adapt with changing corporate needs as digital transformation and cloud migration change the environment.

If your company is in the process of migrating to cloud infrastructure and adapting to a distributed workforce, contact us at One Connect. We can help you navigate the process of implementing ZTNA by leveraging the right solutions to fit your cyber security policy.