18.09.2023

Zero Trust Network Access: Its Time Is Now

18.09.2023

How businesses view Zero Trust Network Access has changed a lot in the last year and a half. Despite its superior security benefits, back in early 2022 it was largely seen as a VPN replacement and not a whole lot more. Now, however, ZTNA is becoming a more commonly deployed tool for businesses. This in turn means planning and recommendations have gone beyond focusing on pilot programs to strategies for integrating ZTNA as part of an organization’s maturing Zero Trust security strategy.

You can observe this shift in the 2023 Gartner® Market Guide for Zero Trust Network Access, which names Perimeter 81 as a Representative Vendor. Take, for example, this quote, “Favor vendors that can meet broad security requirements for managed devices, maximize attack surface reduction, and provide a path to unify highly dynamic, adaptive access control policies in support of your organization’s adoption of zero trust principles. Avoid focusing on vendors suitable only for replacing remote access VPNs on a narrow, like-for-like basis.”

We’d argue this statement recognizes something that we’ve been noticing for a while. Sure, a ZTNA solution can replace a legacy VPN, but it’s so much more than that. Zero Trust Network Access is a true revolutionary shift in the way that businesses provide secure access. And it’s one that every business with on-prem servers or cloud resources should adopt sooner rather than later.

Why ZTNA is More Than a VPN Replacement

With a legacy VPN, users are allowed to access the network typically with a basic username and password. Then once inside the network they have much more permissive access to applications and other data. 

Contrast that with ZTNA, which starts with a secure, encrypted connection using known protocols just like a VPN. That’s pretty much where the similarities end, however–especially with Perimeter 81. A legacy VPN requires employees to connect to the corporate network typically at one or two connection points worldwide and then connect back out to cloud resources. 

Perimeter 81’s ZTNA, by comparison, puts the connections close to where your people and resources are, and then connects those two points over our global backbone network. This allows for more direct, secure connections between your people and the data and applications they need over a high-performance network. That means improved productivity for your workforce with fewer worries about a sluggish connection.

That is already a huge change, but it goes beyond that. Perimeter 81’s ZTNA doesn’t just check that someone has the right credentials. It also checks that their device is meeting the company’s pre-defined security standards such as ensuring an antivirus suite is running, or that a specific operating system version is installed. Device Posture Check helps ensure that company devices are maintaining required security standards, and it reduces the chances of an unauthorized device accessing the network.

ZTNA also has a solution for BYOD devices that doesn’t require exposing applications in a DMZ. Instead, there’s Agentless ZTNA, which hides the IP address of the application and the application is accessed via a web portal with contextual checks that include allowing access at a specific time of day or disallowing access from certain countries. 

When you combine secure access via an encrypted tunnel with a high-performance network,  granular permissions on a per-application basis, device posture check, and Agentless ZTNA you get a holistic approach to network security. One that caters to the needs of modern businesses, and not the corporate network architecture of the past.

To learn more about Zero Trust Network Access, and what businesses should look for in a provider, download a complimentary copy of the Gartner Market Guide for Zero Trust Network Access.

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