Modern organizations need granular, context-aware access to business-critical applications hosted outside their network. They must also ensure that attackers protect their internal systems from lateral movement. They need a ZTNA solution that provides secure remote access and CASB/DLP without exposing internal infrastructure to threats. This solution can replace a VPN while providing continuous authentication, identity verification, and security monitoring for users/devices connecting over the bare internet.

Enhanced Compliance

In contrast to VPNs, which treat all users and devices the same regardless of identity, ZTNA solutions verify a user’s identity, context, and device security posture over a secure channel before allowing them access to private applications. This approach reduces risk by minimizing the impact of account compromise and stopping lateral movement in a breach. To further enhance compliance, a ZTNA solution supports the principle of least privilege by only granting access to applications based on what is needed to complete work. In addition, it helps prevent third-party threats by enforcing stricter company policies with contractors and suppliers that are vetted for compliance and security posture and by avoiding connections from unpatched or malware-infected devices. Choosing the best zero-trust network access provider requires considering a vendor’s identity and access management (IAM), networking and application security capabilities, deployment models, integrations, and pricing. It is also essential to consider how the product or service will be able to support an enterprise’s current and future needs, including the need for control and customization.

Increased Security

When ZTNA is paired with reliable endpoint detection and response (EDR), it can ensure that only valid users and healthy devices can access business-critical apps. This reduces the attack surface and enables the organization to support BYOD and remote work initiatives without exposing sensitive assets to risk. With ZTNA, users connect to a secure encrypted tunnel that checks their identity and granular access control policies. This process considers factors such as device security posture, user location, and even the timing of the request. The tunnel then connects the user to an application or service, hiding all other IP addresses on the network. Because of this, attackers cannot scan the organization’s internal networks for other services they may be able to gain visibility into. This micro-segmentation can also limit lateral movement in the event of a breach and protect against rogue employees. Additionally, because of how ZTNA works, users can only access applications and services for as long as their connection is active. This significantly decreases the risk of data exfiltration.

Improved Performance

A ZTNA solution offers granular, context-aware access to business-critical applications, even when they do not reside on the network. This makes them more accessible to remote or hybrid workers without exposing other services to possible attackers. Unlike traditional solutions, a ZTNA framework eliminates the need for legacy remote access VPN appliances and supports a seamless user experience with fast direct connections to applications. This allows companies to improve performance, reduce networking complexity and costs, and minimize latency. The ZTNA platform, which can run on-premises or in a public cloud, uses a software-defined perimeter (SDP) to grant users scalable and secure access to private apps. Application access privileges can dynamically adjust based on identity, device posture, location, time of day, etc. This approach also helps organizations to reduce risk and prevent the spread of malware to other assets, as traffic is never backhauled through the data center.

Increased Flexibility

Zero Trust Network Access enables users to access applications on a need-to-know basis, regardless of device or location. Unlike VPNs, ZTNA does not require device software or hardware to connect. Instead, a cloud-based solution sits at the edge of the environment, and brokers secure connections based on a combination of factors, including user identity, device risk posture, location, and more. This provides a much more agile and secure approach to remote working. It also helps to limit business exposure on the public internet, reduce data leakage risk and prevent lateral movement in the event of a breach. In addition, a cloud-native, agent-based ZTNA solution can incorporate the security context of an endpoint (device) into its access decisions, which can be done by running agents on the device or inspecting network traffic to and from it. This makes it ideally suited for securing access to private apps for third parties such as contractors, suppliers, and supply chain partners.

Reduced Costs

Many traditional remote access VPN systems require organizations to construct their network infrastructure to manage them. This is often an impractical option for large companies if they have the time, budget, and IT capabilities to support them. With ZTNA, organizations can get all the benefits of a traditional VPN system without the need to deploy and maintain their network hardware. Instead, it uses secure Internet connections to connect users to applications, data, and services accessed through small encrypted tunnels. This removes the need for organizations to open inbound firewall ports for app access, protecting them from DDoS attacks and malware. In addition, the security framework behind ZTNA enables companies to use micro-segmentation to protect internal networks and reduce attack surfaces. This, combined with the principle of least privilege and continuous monitoring of user and device behavior, enables security teams to detect and prevent insider threats. To make the most of these benefits, it is recommended that you choose a ZTNA solution that also provides an integrated suite of network and security services such as SD-WAN, NGFW, SWG and anti-malware, and unified threat management (UTM). These are all included in our zero trust network access as a service (ZTNAaaS) offering.

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