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Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) – Evaluation Guide

Zero Trust Network Access
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Secure connections have become a necessity for all of us, and security has forced businesses to incur a huge cost in buying firewall and antivirus solutions that enhance security. Perhaps it helps the organization secure their data. Now that companies have gone beyond the offices and have allowed employees to work from home or anywhere, this flexibility also brings a risk, as anyone working from home may not have a secure connection. And the VPN also fails to provide a high level of security for business data. To resolve this issue, here comes ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access).

ZTNA is a modern solution to a modern problem. It is a strong feature that has provided strong security to businesses. In this article, we will learn about zero-trust network access and how it is different from a virtual private network.

About Zero Trust Network Access

Zero trust is a term defined by John Kindervag. It was defined by him when he was an analyst at Forrester Research. Zero Trust is a security architecture that removes basic trust, and it requires strong identity-based authentication to grant access to the users regardless of whether they are inside or outside an organization. Zero Trust means that it trusts nobody, and it allows one to access it only when they have cleared identity-based authentication. ZTNA varies from VPN, and the major difference is that ZTNA allows access to specific apps or services, whereas VPN offers access to the whole network.

ZTNA is the best security model because it allows teams to work remotely without worrying about data breaches. Zero Trust functions under the assumption that it should have no or zero trust in any user until they have been allowed to access the network. This is not the only principle that is included, but there are also other principles that form a strong security network, and those principles are:

  • Multi- Factor authentication

Security is just not enough with a username and password. Rather, applications are protected more than this, and to have access to something, additional verification is required, like receiving a PIN code on your smartphone through an application, or it could be in the form of biometrics like fingerprints, a face ID, or voice recognition. All these verification factors enhance security, and it is a better way too. Because traditional security is more prone to cyberattacks.

  • Specific user privilege

This principle allows a user to have a limited privilege; it means giving the user as much access as they require to accomplish their job responsibilities. Suppose only IT administrators have access to change anything bizarre in the network, whereas an HR department may not have access to it. Thus, it helps to decrease the chances of cyberattacks, and it will stop malware from entering the network.

  • Access controls

This principle grants access to the user on the basis of location or device used. This helps to enforce security and allows users to access less when using a device with low security. And the same happens when a user logs in from an unusual location.

How Zero Trust Network Access Works?

As discussed above, Zero Trust Network Access works on strict policies and principles. It verifies all users who try to access the network, no matter whether they are inside or outside an organization. Zero Trust Network Access follows three steps when granting access to the users, and those three steps are:

  • Verify users.
  • Authenticate devices.
  • Provision an encrypted tunnel.

It verifies user identity with the help of multi-factor authentication, which verifies a user other than passwords, and it requires a PIN that has been received on a phone, or it needs a fingerprint or face ID of yours.

To authenticate devices, it uses access control to ensure a user identity matches the device identity. And once a user gets verified, a lower level of access is provided to them. After this, the ZTNA service includes an encrypted tunnel, which provides an additional level of security to the organization’s data.

This is how ZTNA works and goes the extra mile to protect organizations from data breaches.

Benefits of Zero Trust Network Access

With this answer, you will get clarification on whether this security framework should be included in your network or not. Let us discuss some major benefits of it:

Improves data security:

Zero Trust always makes sure that the data is protected in storage and transport. It also automatically backs up the data with encryption.

Strong user authentication:

Zero trust makes a network more secure by providing strong user authentication. It uses multi-factor authentication, which goes beyond managing a password and a username. Besides, it requires a PIN or the fingerprint of the user. Furthermore, it uses a user classification, which allows only specific users to use specific data for their job responsibilities.

Data categorization:fend

In a zero-trust network, not everyone can access all the data. All the categories are divided on the basis of their types, sensitivity, and usage results. Therefore, delicate information is secured, and this decreases the risk of cyberattacks.

Improves the user experience:

With ZTNA, users do not have to wait to get access quickly; rather, they get fast access and direct access to the applications.

Fast deployment:

Other solutions take weeks or months to deploy, whereas ZTNA can be installed from anywhere within a few days.

ZTNA Use Cases:

  1. Decreases business and organizational risks:

ZTNA stops the members from communicating until they are verified. ZTNA requires authentication before it allows someone to have access to the organization’s data. Therefore, zero trust decreases the risks and provides all the information related to the networks. And it also informs how the assets are communicating.

  1. Decreases the risk of data breach:

In a zero-trust network, not everyone is allowed access to all the files and documents. Each piece of data is categorized, and only some of the users are allowed to share and see the files. And this is done according to one’s job responsibilities. Thus, this helps to ensure that the organization’s data is protected from unknown threats.

  1. Secures multi cloud access:

Every business these days runs on a cloud to improve its efficiency and productivity. And among them, 37% of the organizations are switching to ZTNA for better security and access to manage their multi-cloud strategies.

  1. Substitute of VPN:

Many companies have considered VPNs poor as they provide less security and are very slow for users. According to research, it is predicted that by 2023, 60% of the organization will replace VPN with ZTNA.

Models of ZTNA

ZTNA has the potential to protect all the important aspects of your business, and it is the most flexible solution available. There are three different models of ZTNA.

  1. ZTNA for user protection:

This is the model where ZTNA ensures that a user is directly forwarded to the application without connecting them with the internet or other harmful threats. All this is done when a user confirms the authentication criteria.

  1. ZTNA for workload protection:

It is believed that security is being ignored during the application building process. Maintaining the level of security during the workload is the responsibility of ZTNA. It secures business by cancelling the threats and the situation of data breaches. thus protecting your applications from the ground.

  1. ZTNA for device protection:

As businesses move ahead in providing convenience to their employees with the concept of a Bring Your Own Device, it also brings a risk factor. And companies can ensure the security of the data with the advanced framework of ZTNA. With this, one is able to ensure that the data is being transferred to and from the devices that are protected. Therefore, reducing the risks of threats

Zero Trust Network Access VS Virtual Private Network

Often, VPNs are used by organizations to connect employees who work remotely. VPN can’t protect a network efficiently as cyberthreats are evolving and becoming more complex to solve. Therefore, businesses need a more sophisticated solution, which is Zero Trust Network Access. They are the most powerful and have the capability to secure a business with more strict rules and regulations.

ZTNA differs from VPN in three different ways:

  1. Access Control

The ZTNA model uses advanced authentication methods, whereas in VPN, an IP address is required, and it is the only basic requirement for VPN models. With ZTNA, companies have the option to customize security policies that have the capability to disallow users based on location or device type.

  1. Application discovery

To save an organization from cyberattacks, the ZTNA architecture does not provide access to private applications on the network or internet. This is done to protect organizational data from hackers. Instead, it manages network access with the help of a trust agent who verifies before allowing him to have access to the network.

  1. Access Privileges

ZTNA provides limited access to all users, and whether you are a new or an old user, ZTNA will verify and grant access according to the rules and regulations of their own policies only.

Features VPN Zero Trust Network Access
Security Low security High security
Use cases Restricted Multiple
Deployment Hard Simple
Implementation Huge and heavy Fast and simple

 

So, this is the main difference between VPN and ZTNA; it becomes really crucial for organizations to develop a strategy that will defend against attacks in a modern way.

FAQs related to Zero Trust Network Access

Q1. What are the main components of Zero Trust?

The three main components of a zero-trust network are:

  • User Authentication
  • Device Authentication
  • Trust

Q2. Is Zero Trust Network Access better than VPN?

Yes, Zero Trust Network Access is better than VPN as it provides more security to the organization’s data, and before allowing access, it uses more advanced techniques for verifying a user.

Q3. Who created Zero Trust?

The term zero trust was defined by John Kindervag in 2010 at Forrester Research.

Q4. Why is zero trust the future?

Zero Trust is a future of cybersecurity as it provides end-to-end protection to the organization’s data with the help of three major principles, i.e., multiple authentications, specific user privileges, and access control.

To conclude, ZTNA is far better than VPN, and increasing threats have alarmed organizations to adopt a strong security framework. Thus, to deal with the harmful threats, ZTNA is the best solution to implement.

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