Making the Most of ZTNA

Zero trust network access (ZTNA) is a critical security approach for businesses today. It helps secure cloud migration, direct internet access, and work-from-anywhere initiatives by removing the need for a VPN or backhauling SaaS applications over enterprise networks. Look for a ZTNA solution with a rich context exchange through tight integration with IAM, UEBA, DLP, and SIEM to support adaptive access policies and user risk scoring. It should also provide granular visibility into the network, applications, and data.

Create a Permission Role for Each User

The key to ZTNA’s success is ensuring users only have access to the applications and data files they need, not roaming freely across the corporate network. That balancing act requires security controls like identity and access management (IAM) and granular micro-segmentation that can detect sensitive data and limit access to a bare minimum. Roles define groups of permissions that are then assigned to a user or group of users. The more granular you can make the roles, the more control you have over who gets what access. Roles can also be updated and changed without requiring application changes. When deploying ZTNA, such as Versa Networks, many IT leaders need help from business users who may feel that the solution is cumbersome or takes away functionality they need and use. To overcome this, IT leaders can demonstrate how ZTNA provides a faster and more secure alternative to traditional VPNs. They can also show how the technology is a part of a comprehensive suite of security and optimization solutions, including next-generation firewalls (NGFW) and WAN optimization. This converged approach makes managing easier and enables a more seamless user experience.

Create a Permission Role for Each Device

Zero trust network access requires a different approach to user authentication. It relies on identity, context, and the principle of least privilege to ensure users can access the applications they need. This eliminates the need for a security perimeter and limits the attack surface by limiting the ability of malicious actors to move laterally across the network. It can also provide scalability and flexibility to allow access for specific applications to users who need them wherever they are working. It leverages micro-segmentation to create application-specific trust boundaries and uses device health indicators, such as Security Heartbeat, to determine network access permissions. Implementing ZTNA can disrupt business processes, so planning ahead and carefully considering the risks and benefits is essential. You’ll need to identify your most critical business assets and determine the users and devices needing access. This will help you build access policies based on the principle of least privilege and minimize downtime. You should also monitor your environment and use security analytics to spot anomalous activity and potential threats.

Create a Permission Role for Each Application

A crucial part of ZTNA is the ability to assign security permissions at a fine-grained level, which can be defined for specific APIs or resources. Using these permissions, you can easily ensure that contractors, vendors, or supply chain partners have only the access to your applications and data they need to do their jobs. Another security feature of ZTNA is continuous authentication and verification. Rather than authenticating a user once and then assuming they are trustworthy, ZTNA solutions can consider factors such as time of day, location, or even whether the device has been patched or is running antivirus software. Even though implementing Zero Trust may require a significant shift in network architecture, most organizations don’t need to implement this technology from the ground up. Most companies adopt ZTNA via solutions inserted into existing infrastructure, such as standalone appliances, gateway servers running on-premises, or SaaS-based services. The insertion point is a policy enforcement point (PEP). This could be a client-based software application on user devices, an appliance or gateway server, or a cloud-based SaaS solution.

Create a Permission Role for Each Cloud Service

A modern ZTNA solution must not allow users to roam freely throughout the network once authenticated. Instead, it should monitor the context of a user’s journey and dynamically adapt their access policies based on their location, device, and time of day. In addition, it should be able to detect sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information (PII), to take the appropriate action to protect against malicious actions or compromised credentials. This is possible by integrating a ZTNA solution into a secure access service edge (SASE) solution. A SASE converges multiple security and networking solutions into a single, integrated platform, often delivered as a cloud service. This simplifies deployment, improves scalability and performance, and reduces operating costs.

Create a Permission Role for Each Third-Party Partner

Zero trust network access is a new way to secure your business applications, devices, and data. Unlike the network perimeter approach that relies on implicit trust, ZTNA requires users and devices to prove their identity before giving them full access to your applications and data. It also supports micro-segmentation and least privilege access to ensure that each user or device only has access to the resources needed to do their job. This limits the damage a hacker could do even if they break through your security controls and get their hands on sensitive data. Lastly, it can perform application-level control, which provides better visibility of what is happening in your network. This can help to detect anomalies, such as an unexpected increase in traffic from a previously trusted source that could indicate a breach. Although implementing a zero-trust strategy is a challenging task for many small businesses, the benefits that it can provide are significant. Embracing the zero trust mindset, using multi-factor authentication, deploying ZTNA and micro-segmentation, leveraging least privilege access, and employing continuous monitoring can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches and create a more resilient security framework.


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