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2022-09-07

What is ZTNA? Ultimate Guide to Zero Trust Network Access

NetworkInformation SecuritySASE

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ZTNA Overview: Principals, Benefits & Solution

Over the past two years, insider attacks are becoming more frequent. Since the rising trend of remote work and bring your own device (BYOD) has led to a significant uptick in cybersecurity incidents involving insider threats, it is high time for every cyber-mindful organization to start adopting the Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution. We will introduce the most important ZTNA concepts and best practices to protect your business applications, data and services.

What is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)?

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is a set of advanced preventive technologies aiming to verify the identity and context of the user and device on a need-to basis.

Applying the Zero Trust approach means trust levels are explicitly and continuously calculated and adapted to allow access to a business’s IT resources. Seamlessly coped with the modern and complex enterprise network infrastructure, ZTNA brings an inevitable evolution of security thinking and security architecture.

Built upon the concept of “least privilege”, ZTNA only offers users the minimal level of access to perform required functions. By requiring users to re-authenticate and verify their credentials every time they access a specific application, ZTNA helps organizations to detect anomalies as early as possible and investigate leads before assets, data, or personnel are compromised.

ZTNA is also one of the key components of the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), serving as the technical framework that supports identity verification and security connection to internal resources. The combination of SASE and ZTNA can also help businesses mitigate the risk of data breaches and shrink the attack surface, businesses can hence establish a hardened cybersecurity perimeter that is difficult for malicious actors to penetrate.

ZTNA VS VPN: Which is the Best for Enterprise Security?

To put it simply, VPN is intended for the traditional perimeter-based security strategy, whoever connects to a VPN can access the organization’s network and resources fully, on the other hand, ZTNA takes a Zero Trust approach to security, meaning it only gives very limited access to the organization's resources and requires special clearances for users to access them.

Other than sharing some basic cybersecurity functions in common with its forebearer, ZTNA offers extra features to safeguard enterprises in today’s modern computing environment. With the ability to coordinate several applications and networks, ZTNA is widely recognized as more effective in eliminating the risk of malicious connections while giving enterprises an impeccable work experience.

ZTNA for More Effective Cybersecurity

Migrating to Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) offers multiple benefits to enterprises, including:

1. Tighter Security Controls

With ZTNA, the level of access is granted based on the location and device used. It tightens up network security on a case-by-case basis that allows effective implementation of least privilege access controls, establishing a strong and resilient security posture for organizations.

2. Streamline User Experience

ZTNA provides consistent security with optimized performance by shifting away from the perimeter-centric security model. Enterprises can easily manage user access in the cloud given that ZTNA allows access to multi-cloud and hybrid applications or resources by performing centralized control of access policies.

3. Continuous Security Inspection

The combination of regular trust verification and ongoing security inspection makes ZTNA a powerful model for defending the organizations against cyber threats. ZTNA performs deep and continuous monitoring of all traffic, so that any stolen credentials and even the most sophisticated attacks such as zero-day threats can be identified promptly.

4. Invisible Security Infrastructure

ZTNA is able to minimize the attack surface while improving the network safety via cloaking networks and applications, which means that all resources secured with ZTNA are basically unreachable to hackers and only visible to authenticated and authorized trusted users, providing an additional layer of security to organizations.


Technology Behind Zero Trust Architecture

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is backed by 3 prominent technologies, which are:

Software Defined Perimeter

Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) only grants access to users who have successfully gone through a multi-stage process, which involves Robust User Authentication, Device Authentication, Zero Trust Enforcement and Secure Access to Resources.

Enhanced Identity Governance

ZTNA applies the identity management technology which requires numerous authentication factors to be verified and re-verified each time a network resource is requested. It relies on a group of contextual factors, such as usernames, device type, IP address as well as physical location.

Micro-segmentation

Micro-segmentation allows ZTNA to assign specific application access to specific users. Instead of granting access based on implicit trust, ZTNA creates end-to-end encrypted micro-tunnels and segmentizes every application, device and user according to the individual workload level.


Core Principles of the Zero Trust Framework

Verify Every User and Device

To keep attackers away from organization’s crucial digital assets, rigorous verification takes place on a per-session basis to individual applications. This process applies whether or not the device or user is already within the network perimeter since ZTNA has no trusted contexts, otherwise, the entire network could be put at risk.

Least Privilege

ZTNA adheres to the principle of "Least Privilege" to only grant access to what is needed, which makes it the definite solution to complex access control scenarios as users and devices will only be given as much right as needed to access the requested resource under the appropriate circumstances.


Guide to Implement Zero Trust Security Measures

Step 1: Discovery & Navigation

In the rapid shift to accelerate and expand remote connectivity, organizations must first identify data and information that need to be protected the most, so it will be possible to make quick and measurable progress towards Zero Trust Network Access.

Enterprises can begin with examining how traffic flows within the network and other related networks, followed by consolidating which traffic flows are crucial to business operations, while other flows can be blocked or mitigated.

Step 2: Visualization & Validation

The next step is to visualize the access points, resources and relevant risks. Organizations should develop a clear understanding of every component and dependency across any circumstances by outlining detailed flow maps, enhancing clarity while reducing confusion into application architecture.

Before the full implementation of the new security regime, it is highly recommended to carry out validation tests in order to make sure the system meets certain standards, else, it might lead to network blackouts or access issues. Adopting the ZTNA model throughout an entire organization is complicated, thus changes need to be incorporated carefully, and automation should be approached even more cautiously.

Step 3: Setup & Fine Tuning

Very often, internal infrastructure changes might result in new threats and issues. Enterprises should therefore monitor the network configuration and performance on a constant and ongoing basis.

As the ZTNA implementation details can vary significantly, it is of utmost importance to investigate the unique usage patterns of each device at regular intervals so as to provide another layer of visibility into the security context of the network, calibrating the strategy and lowering the probability of disappointment or access issues for approved substances.


TrueCONNECT™ SASE - Supports Your Journey to Zero Trust

Designed from the ground up to cater the evolving needs of modern enterprises, TrueCONNECT™ SASE is the cutting-edge paradigm to distributed infrastructure, relocating security to the software-defined perimeter and simultaneously eliminating performance bottlenecks.

Positioned as the comprehensive networking and security stack for today’s distributed enterprises, TrueCONNECT™ SASE ensures your enterprise digital assets, users’ devices and business continuity are fully covered at all points of access. The service can also seamlessly integrate with TrueCONNECT™ Hybrid, a fully-managed SD-WAN connectivity solution, to enable a truly secure SD-WAN topology.

Click here to download the product leaflet or drop us an enquiry.




Related Blog:

What is ZTNA? Ultimate Guide to Zero Trust Network Access

Network Construction: Beyond “Eastern Data and Western Computing”

What is ZTNA? Ultimate Guide to Zero Trust Network Access

TrueCONNECT™ SASE: Realizing Comprehensive Network Protection

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