ZTNA stands for "Zero Trust Network Access." It is a security model in which access to network resources is granted based on the principle of "never trust, always verify." In a ZTNA system, all network traffic is treated as untrusted and is subject to authentication and authorization checks before being allowed to pass. This approach helps to prevent unauthorized access to resources and mitigate the risk of cyber-attacks.
Why Is Interest in ZTNA Growing?
Interest in ZTNA is growing for a few reasons. One of the main reasons is the shift to remote work and the use of cloud-based services, which has made traditional network perimeter security less effective. With employees accessing corporate resources from a variety of locations and devices, it has become more difficult to protect the network from unauthorized access.
Another reason is the increasing number and sophistication of cyber-attacks. As cybercriminals become more advanced in their methods, traditional security measures such as firewalls and VPNs are no longer sufficient to protect against all types of threats.
ZTNA provides a more comprehensive security model that can help organizations to better protect their resources and data, even in a remote and dynamic environment. It also allows IT teams to have better control of the access and activity of the devices and users on the network.
Additionally, compliance regulations like HIPAA and PCI-DSS are requiring more secure access and management of sensitive data, and ZTNA can help organizations to meet those requirements.
What is the mechanism of ZTNA?
Permission to specific applications or resources is given only when the user is authenticated to the ZTNA service when using ZTNA. Once authenticated, the ZTNA provides the user access to the particular application via a secure, encrypted tunnel, which provides an additional layer of security by covering apps and services from IP addresses that would normally be visible.
ZTNAs function similarly to software defined perimeters (SDPs), depending on the same 'dark cloud' concept to protect users from gaining access to any other apps and services they are not authorized to access. This also protects against lateral attacks, because even if an intruder gets access, they would be unable to scan the system.
ZTNA Use Cases:
Authentication and Authorization - The primary application of ZTNA is to offer a granular authorization function based on the identity of the user. Whereas IP-based VPN access provides broad network access once authorized, ZTNA provides restricted, granular access to specific resources and services. With location- or device-specific access control policies, ZTNA can provide higher levels of protection by avoiding malicious or compromised devices from using the organization's resources. This access differs from some VPNs, which grant staff devices the same access privileges as on-premises administrators.
Control and Visibility Holistically- Because ZTNA doesn't inspect traffic data after verification, there may be a problem if a malicious employee misuses their access, or if a user's credentials are lost or stolen. An organization can benefit from the security, scalability, and network capabilities required for secure remote access by incorporating ZTNA into a secure access service edge (SASE) solution, as well as post-connection monitoring to prevent data loss, malicious action, or compromised user credentials.
Journey to the Cloud- Apps are migrating away from on-premises servers and toward private and public cloud environments. IT has full control over where all these connect with a ZTNA access proxy in location. Apps can be moved to the cloud, between clouds, and back to campus with no disruption to user experience.
Versatile Deployment: Allows ZTNA regulations to be imposed for both virtual and on-campus employees.
Granular Access Control: Specific application access is granted to that particular session.
Ongoing Verification: Before actually allowing permission to use an application, it authenticates the identity of the user, the device's identity, the device's posture, and the user's permission to use an application.
Client-Initiated Model: Gives the IT group more control and insight over the end-point while giving the user a quicker, easier experience.