Zero trust network access or ZTNA is a category of technologies that provides secure remote access to applications and services. It is a security model that assumes that any untrusted entity, such as a user, process, or device, should be treated as hostile. unlike VPNs, ZTNA provides secure access on a per-application basis automatically setting up and tearing down tunnels as necessary.
ZTNA is a component or subgroup of the zero trust security model. This model provides philosophy on how we should approach network security. This foundation is essential in understanding the components and methodologies in how we accomplish ZTNA.
What is Zero Trust Security Model?
This model or framework adheres to the philosophy that no one outside or inside the network is to be trusted unless their identification has been thoroughly checked.
The assumption is that anyone can be compromised, so it doesn’t matter if you’re on the same network or across a globe, everyone must be verified. In other words, access to applications and resources are not accepted based on location. In fact, location is irrelevant. This means that users inside and outside the network is not to be trusted by default
In the Zero Trust security model, trust is never assumed by default. Instead, users, regardless of location, are to be verified and given only the minimum amount of access that they need.
This means that a user request for application “A” will be verified and authorized only for that specific application. Access to other applications will not be granted on the notion that they’ve been verified once before instead, each application service is verified independently.
Unlike traditional security systems which follow the ‘Trust but verify’ approach, Zero Trust models follow a ‘Never Trust, always verify’ approach, using strict access control policies and constant monitoring to secure enterprise networks from malware and other security threats. Zero Trust ensures that each and every user and their devices are validated and given the least required access on a “need to know” basis.
How to Implement a Zero Trust Security Model
- The first step is to implement a core identity provider that can securely manage and connect users to all of their IT resources from one centralized location.
- The second step is to enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) at both the system and application layer, which ensures that resources remain secure even if the user identity has been compromised.
- The third is to ensure that system-to-system communication is handled securely and is properly authenticated.
- Lastly, you need to have a system in place that can revoke access to a given resource at any time and from anywhere.
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Benefits of Zero Trust Security
Negligible Attack Surface
Zero Trust Application Access uses application specific tunnelling and software Defined Perimeters to separate access control and data planes. This means that the entire network is rendered invisible to external factors, and users can only access applications that they are allowed to see.
Adopting a Zero Trust Security Model can improve reporting, auditing, and better compliance to security policies, using micro segmentation and a centralised control of devices, users, and applications.
Secure Business Innovation
Zero Trust Security facilitates easier adoption of innovative business processes, which include an easier transition from on-premise based employees to home based employees, and easier and secured outsourcing of business functions to 3rd parties.
Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)
Each user is granted access after multiple layers of authentication. Application-level access is completely secured due to device binding & location verification.