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What Is Zero Trust Network Access? How Does It Work?

Zero Trust Network Access

For companies with employees who work from home, having safe, reliable access to internet-based apps, services, and data from any device, at any time, is essential for getting work done. However, because of implicit trust and a lot of holes, the internet can make IP numbers public and pose security risks. And this is where ZTNA (zero-trust network access) comes in. 

 What is ZTNA?

 Zero trust network access (ZTNA) is a service or product that sets up a logical access boundary around an application or group of apps based on identity and context. The apps can't be found, and only a certain group of named organizations can get to them through a trusted broker. The middleman checks that the people listed are who they say they are, what they're doing, and that they're following the rules before letting them in. They also stop people from moving laterally in the network. This keeps program assets from being seen by the public, which makes them much harder to attack. 

 How Does ZTNA Work? 

The Zero Trust security model is based on a set of core ideas that are meant to make it easy to figure out who is using a system and what they are trying to do. The ideas of zero trust are: 

 Attackers Are Everywhere 

If you think that hackers are everywhere, inside and outside the network, then you can't trust any computers or users. 

Endpoints Are Untrusted 

Endpoint management will check to see if a device has enough security settings. Endpoint security should also cover the authenticator to make sure that only authorized devices are used and that secret key information is kept safe. 

Users Should Receive Least-Privilege Access 

You can keep users from getting too close to sensitive parts of the network by only giving them the access they need. This goes against the "trust everyone inside" or "trust but verify" ideas. 

Use Micro-Segmentation. 

With micro-segmentation, security rules are split up into smaller areas on different parts of the network that are based on how the data is classified and have their access. This keeps people from getting into different zones without first proving who they are. 

Access Control Minimizes The Network Attack Surface 

An organization reduces the number of ways that someone can attack its network by strictly controlling who can access it and what devices they can use. You should keep an eye on how devices connect to the network to make sure they are all allowed to. Key systems should be kept safe by access control that only gives people the rights they need to do their job. 

Multi-Factor Authentication Or MFA, Is A Must. 

Before a user can get in, they have to pass strong security steps. Two-factor authentication (2FA) isn't as strong as multifactor authentication (MFA), and it can break Zero Trust by incorrectly authenticating users. 

Strong Authentication Requires Three Key Elements 

First, it shouldn't just use shared secrets or symmetric keys, like passwords, codes, and return questions. Second, it should use hardware to stop hacking and impersonation attempts that use credentials. Third, it should be easy to use and have room for growth. Not everything that says "multi-factor authentication" meets all three of these requirements. 

Top 2 ZTNA Use Cases 

Authentication and Access 

The main reason to use ZTNA is to give users very specific access based on who they are. Once authorized, IP-based VPN access gives you broad access to a network. ZTNA, on the other hand, only lets you access certain apps and services. With location- or device-specific access control policies, ZTNA can add more layers of security. These policies can stop unwanted or hacked devices from using the company's resources. 

Holistic control and visibility

Since ZTNA doesn't look at user data after authentication, it could be a problem if an employee who isn't supposed to be there does something bad with their access or if a user loses or steals their credentials. By adding ZTNA to a secure access service edge (SASE) solution, a company can get the security, scalability, and network features it needs for safe remote access. 

 Benefits of ZTNA 

 When it comes to security, Zero Trust Network Access is a huge step ahead of standard VPN solutions. 

 • A better user experience. ZTNA gives users safe, quick, and seamless access to private and cloud-based apps from anywhere and on any device. It's better than VPNs for users. 

 • It's easier to run. ZTNA lets teams work together on a single solution instead of a bunch of different VPNs, filters, and virtual desktop technologies. 

 • Having more power. ZTNA has fine-grained access rules and policies that change based on the situation, which helps IT teams improve security. 

 • Safety. ZTNA solutions make it much less likely for attackers who have already gotten into an IT system to move laterally. 

 • Scalability without any work. As businesses grow, zero-trust network access solutions can quickly add more people to meet their needs. 

 • Easy to set up. Putting in place standard network security solutions could take weeks or months, but ZTNA only needs a few days. 

 Implementing Zero Trust 

 A zero-trust system helps organizations run safely and efficiently, even when users and data are spread out in different places and settings. However, there isn't a single way to apply the framework. That's why most companies will start planning the adoption process by dividing it into three main steps. 

Visualize The Organization 

A company should first make a picture of all its parts and how they connect as the first step in setting up a zero-trust security model. To do this, the organization's resources, how they are used, and the risks that come with them need to be carefully looked at. 

This process of visualizing and evaluating should go on all the time because as an organization grows, its resources and its needs to use those resources will change. In the same way, these parts will become less important and carry more danger. So, companies that want to set up a zero-trust network should start with what they think will be the most important and most exposed as the framework is adopted. 

Mitigate Risks And Concerns 

Possible security holes, possible risks that could be them, and the ways an attacker could get in were all found in the previous step. Now, the mitigation phase takes care of those issues in the order of importance. 

In this step, a company sets up the procedures and tools that will help it find new security holes and threats automatically. Also, there should be ways for threats to be stopped automatically, or if that's not possible, ways to lessen the damage that will probably happen. 

Optimize Execution 

Setting the Zero Trust framework into place, companies will work to make their processes and policies cover all IT areas. How quickly this is rolled out will depend on how complicated the company is and how many resources it puts into the process. 

The most important thing is that as the framework is expanded to cover more of the organization's infrastructure, it is regularly checked to make sure it works and is easy to use. When adopting security frameworks like Zero Trust, organizations that don't put the user experience first will end up with noncompliance and lower productivity on a large scale. 

CubixTech is the top IT company that helps its clients protect their IT environments and make digital growth and change possible. At CubixTech, we understand the importance of efficient and secure managed services. That's why we take a dynamic approach to managing your IT infrastructure.


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