The Secret Recipe for Modern Network Security

Network security is no longer just about protecting boxes inside a well-defined perimeter. Instead, we’ve moved to a hybrid world where lines are blurred. Modern network security has to cover on-prem servers, cloud resources, and SaaS applications. The key tool in this new reality is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), and at the center of ZTNA is identity. 

Being able to identify employees and assign access to specific on-prem or cloud applications is a foundational part of ZTNA. Identity is essentially the substrate that ZTNA runs on–alongside contextual information.

To create the most frictionless experience possible for administrators managing a Zero Trust network it’s highly recommended to implement a single sign-on provider with support for SAML 2.0. 

What Is Modern Network Security?

Cloud-based, converged network security platforms offer essential tools designed to confront today’s security challenges. They include Zero Trust Network Access and Secure Web Gateway (SWG). In addition, you need a network of high performance points-of-presence around the world to ensure that wherever employees are they can obtain fast, secure access to company resources in the cloud or on-prem.

What are ZTNA and SWG?

Perimeter-based network security is based on implicit trust. If someone can enter your network, it’s assumed they’re supposed to be there and can see most (if not all) resources within the network.

Zero Trust Network Access throws this notion out the window and embraces explicit trust. If you need access to a resource to do your job, then you’ve got it. Otherwise, access is blocked.

ZTNA solves numerous network security problems. First, it cuts down on the potential for bad actors to pilfer data from within your organization. In addition, any external malicious actors who happen to steal login credentials will be restricted to what the employee can see. This cuts down on the chances of lateral movement where hackers move freely throughout the network.

In addition to restricting access, ZTNA requires that users meet additional checks before granting access such as Device Posture Check where a device is allowed access only if it meets security requirements such as carrying a custom security certificate, or running a certain antivirus.

The Secure Web Gateway, meanwhile, is about protecting employee web traffic. This includes malware protection and web filtering to prevent access to malicious websites, as well as blocking access to websites that violate company policies, local laws, or compliance requirements. 

Why Identity is Essential for ZTNA 

Without proper identification and authentication mechanisms, implementing ZTNA becomes challenging, if not impossible. Identity serves as the foundation upon which access controls are built. It allows organizations to establish a strong and reliable connection between users, devices, and the resources they are authorized to access. 

By uniquely identifying individuals and validating their permissions, ZTNA enables organizations to enforce the principle of least privilege, granting access only to those who genuinely require it for their specific roles or tasks.

Implementing a robust identity management system, such as an SSO provider with support for SAML 2.0, becomes crucial for organizations seeking to maximize the benefits of ZTNA. 

Implementing SSO simplifies the authentication process by allowing users to access multiple applications and resources with a single set of credentials. This not only enhances user convenience but also strengthens security by reducing the need for multiple passwords and potential vulnerabilities.

Perimeter 81 and JumpCloud: A Network Security Superpower

By combining Perimeter 81’s advanced network security platform and the robust capabilities of JumpCloud’s SSO , organizations can achieve a unified and fortified approach to safeguarding their resources.   

Organizations can quickly and easily integrate JumpCloud’s SSO with Perimeter 81 for a seamless and secure user experience. Users can authenticate themselves through JumpCloud’s SSO portal, and based on their verified identity, Perimeter 81 applies granular access controls to ensure they can only reach the resources they need. 

This integration empowers organizations to enforce fine-grained policies based on user attributes, device posture, and contextual information, enabling a zero-trust approach to network security.

Identity also provides valuable context that helps determine web filtering policies for individual users through Perimeter 81’s Secure Web Gateway. For example, certain users may require access to specific categories of websites or applications based on their job responsibilities (such as social media for the marketing department). Others, meanwhile, may need more restricted access for reasons of general security, compliance, or company policy.

JumpCloud offers additional features that complement ZTNA and strengthen overall security. Its extensive user lifecycle management capabilities allow administrators to easily onboard and offboard employees, ensuring that access privileges are promptly granted or revoked as needed. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access and ensures that only current employees have active accounts and permissions.

Identity is a fundamental component of ZTNA, providing the necessary context and control to enable secure access in today’s hybrid network environments. By leveraging an SSO provider like JumpCloud, organizations can streamline authentication processes, enhance user experience, and strengthen their ZTNA strategies. The combination of Perimeter 81’s ZTNA solution and JumpCloud’s SSO creates a robust security framework that embraces the principles of zero trust. Prioritizing identity and its integration with ZTNA is crucial for maintaining a strong security posture.