Five Reasons Why ZTNA Adoption Will Grow in 2024

Just a few years ago Gartner introduced the concept of Zero Trust Network Access, but it is now clearly the preferred model for network security. And there’s no mystery why: ZTNA provides the ideal defense against evolving cyber threats while delivering an improved user experience.

The dramatic shift to remote work during the pandemic thrust ZTNA into the spotlight. But IT and security leaders recognize that it continues to be the right approach for network protection in a post-pandemic world – and will remain so well into the future.

With this brief background in mind, let’s look at five reasons why we will continue to see growing adoption of ZTNA in 2024.

1. Scalability and adaptability to changing business needs

Half of all organizations have adopted hybrid or remote working and ZTNA is the perfect model for protecting their networks and users. By providing secure access to applications without the need for users to connect via legacy hardware, it reduces the exposure of corporate resources to potential threats.

ZTNA’s versatility aligns very well with cloud-first infrastructures where users require access from anywhere, at any time, with any device. As new users and applications are added, whether permanently or temporarily, administrators can easily provision access and establish connections from a cloud-based centralized management platform.

2. Increasing cyber threats

Let’s face it, security tools and processes have had a hard time keeping pace with attackers. Sophisticated cyber threats have exposed the limitations of traditional security and the need for better access control mechanisms. Attempting to lock down network access using a legacy VPN is no longer adequate.

ZTNA minimizes the attack surface by restricting access to applications and resources based on user need, continuously verifying users and devices, and adapting as conditions change. It delivers robust security by ensuring that all users and devices – whether connecting from inside or outside the network – are authenticated, authorized, and continuously validated for security configuration and posture before being granted or maintaining access to applications and data.

3. Advancements in technology

ZTNA as a model continues to evolve, as do the solutions available on the market. Products initially focused on only remote workers, meaning there was a separate policy for on-site employees. But enhancements to ZTNA now make it suitable for hybrid scenarios – delivering one security policy that applies across locations and devices.

ZTNA solutions also continue to benefit from advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify and prevent unauthorized activity, integrate threat intel, inspect network traffic, and much more. As organizations continue to demand better protection for their networks, ZTNA is well positioned to meet advanced security requirements.

4. Cost-effectiveness

The widespread shift from on-prem to cloud-based computing has been underway for at least 15 years and ZTNA allows organizations to proceed full speed ahead while enjoying numerous cost saving opportunities. IT leaders can say goodbye to expenses associated with maintaining and operating servers, with the confidence that access to their cloud resources is secure.

ZTNA also means eliminating the costs of using traditional VPN solutions. Those tools require ongoing maintenance and updates, and typically require expensive high-capacity network links. That’s not to mention the cost of lost productivity due to traffic backhauling.

5. User experience and productivity

We have plenty of evidence that ZTNA enhances security but, unlike other protection schemes, it does not come at the cost of user experience. Instead of introducing obstacles and awkward processes, ZTNA enables seamless and secure connections to the cloud-based applications users need, with traffic often given preferential treatment.

While tools like VPNs are often cumbersome and impact user productivity, ZTNA takes a user-centric approach focused on providing secure access without unnecessary friction, making employees more efficient and the network more secure.

Bonus reason: Meeting compliance requirements

While compliance may not be a central consideration for organizations adopting ZTNA, there are some clear benefits. Regulatory standards such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and others require organizations to monitor and restrict access to sensitive information. The consequences of failing a compliance audit or suffering a data breach include substantial fines and reputational damage.

ZTNA helps organizations meet compliance requirements by enforcing strong access controls, monitoring user activity, and ensuring that sensitive data is accessed only by authorized personnel. This allows organizations to check the audit boxes while mitigating the risk of data breaches and regulatory fines.

Overall, the combination of evolving threat landscapes and work models, the continued adoption of the cloud, the need for better user experiences – plus ongoing compliance requirements, mean that ZTNA adoption will increase in 2024 and beyond.