A ZTNA solution offers the same remote access functionality as a VPN with better security, less management, and improved network speed. Vendors offer various areas of specialization; organizations should look for a solution that can address their specific requirements. Streamline deployment and enrollment for staff working remotely with ZTNA solutions delivered as a service. This allows for more agility and eliminates the need to maintain appliances.

Identity and Access Management

Identity and access management is an essential component of any security framework. It simplifies life for users by eliminating the need to remember multiple username and password combinations while allowing them to connect with different systems securely. It also enables organizations to monitor user privileges and minimize the risk of damaging data breaches. ZTNA solutions allow enterprises to adopt an identity-based approach when connecting to IT resources, such as applications or databases. This prevents attackers who breach one area of the system from being able to move across the network. By requiring every new connection to be authenticated, ZTNA solutions apply the principle of least privilege, which states that an authorized person or entity should have access only to the minimum resources needed to perform a specific task. Unlike VPNs, which give authenticated users complete access to the enterprise network, ZTNA solutions limit remote worker access to only those applications required for the job. This reduces the attack surface without impeding productivity. They also implement granular activity policies enforced at the application level and limit what users can do with an app. A ZTNA solution can be deployed as an appliance or cloud-based. It integrates with the IDP to verify a user’s identity, encrypts connections, and considers each request case-by-case basis. Some ZTNA vendors work only with certain IdPs, while others are IdP-agnostic and can accept an organization’s existing identity database.

Network Access Control

Network Access Control allows organizations to secure the corporate environment from threats by regulating access on a user-specific and device-specific basis. This is a significant improvement over traditional security models that grant users full access to applications regardless of the device used, which can open networks to many attacks. ZTNA solutions verify identity on a request-by-request basis and enforce the principle of least privilege. This ensures that employees only get access to the specific data and applications required for their jobs. This helps organizations protect against common attacks, such as account compromise and privilege escalation. As a zero-trust solution, ZTNA provides a layer of protection that can be easily added to existing firewalls and SD-WAN infrastructure. Organizations can choose from agent-initiated, service-initiated, or combination deployment models. Agent-initiated models involve deploying software agents on endpoint devices to allow the ZTNA provider to collect information for authorization. Service-initiated solutions, such as consultants and partners, do not require end-point agents and are easier to deploy for BYOD devices.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Security information and event management (SIEM) is a powerful tool that provides real-time network security monitoring, threat correlation, and response capabilities. It collects, organizes, and analyzes data from servers, IT environments, network security devices, endpoints, and cloud services to reduce the risk of a data breach. While SIEM solutions can help with various business needs, they don’t replace your IT environment and security team members. They are complex and require experienced staff to implement, manage and fine-tune them. They also come with a hefty price tag and the need to invest in additional hardware, software, and support.SIEM tools improve a CISO’s ability to detect sophisticated threats hiding within plain sight by analyzing real-time data and correlating it to look for abnormal activity. They can also identify and respond quickly to suspicious events that could lead to a data breach. Zero trust network access provides a holistic view of an organization’s cloud applications and networks while ensuring that security policies are surgically implemented. A ZTNA solution can limit access to applications and data based on an individual user’s role, device, or location. It can also inspect post-connection traffic and detect if the user’s account credentials have been compromised or stolen. This control and visibility level is impossible without a remote access VPN solution.

Identity Governance

While Identity Access Management (IAM) focuses on the operational aspects of user identities, governance solutions extend that framework to establish a policy-based framework for governing access privileges and compliance. This includes establishing mechanisms to periodically review and revoke access privileges as needed and safeguarding sensitive information against inappropriate or unnecessary sharing. ZTNA can help businesses safely connect remote or mobile employees to the apps and data they need, even when those assets reside outside their local network — making them a powerful alternative to VPN solutions. Depending on the implementation, ZTNA can be agent-based or service-initiated. The agent-based approach requires deploying software agents on endpoints for access validation. The service-initiated approach does not require these agents but may lack deeper insights into security posture and interactions. The best ZTNA solutions provide advanced capabilities to safeguard and connect users to critical applications, data, and services without entering the organization’s network. These features include granular, context-aware access for business-critical applications, including cloud and on-premises infrastructure. ZTNA also provides a highly secure, low-latency connection to applications that would be difficult or impossible with traditional VPN systems. This is particularly important for OT and industrial applications that run on proprietary protocols. The solution is capable of cloaking these applications with single-packet authorization and direct routing, as well as providing support for specialized networking protocols to ensure the integrity of these sensitive applications.

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