Skip to main content

In today’s remote work and learning era, an increasing number of devices are connecting to private networks, both within and beyond their perimeters. This has made networks more vulnerable to cyberattacks than ever before. The Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) model has emerged to address this issue, and many companies in the UAE are now transitioning towards it.

ZTNA is a solution that establishes a logical access boundary around an application or a group of applications based on identity and context. These applications are kept hidden from discovery, and access is granted only through a trusted broker to a specific group of authorised entities. The broker verifies the identity, context, and adherence to policies of the participants before allowing access and restricts any lateral movement within the network. Doing so reduces the surface area for potential attacks, thus improving overall network security.

How does Zero Trust Network Access work?

Users cannot trust internal network connections if there is the absence of a Zero Trust Network security perimeter. Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solutions grant identity- and context-based access. These solutions obscure resources from being detected and enable access through authentication to a trusted broker. The broker serves as an intermediary between specific applications and authorised users.

The ZTNA approach separates access to resources from access to the network, given that the internet is an untrusted entry point. The trust broker provides centralised control and management to IT teams, and they can deploy it in data centres as software or an appliance or as a managed service in a cloud environment. By decoupling access to resources from the network, ZTNA solutions offer a robust security posture to organisations.

How to implement Zero Trust Network Access?

Following the selection of a Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) product or service, most companies opt for a phased implementation approach.

The first phase involves running the product or service in discovery mode to locate all flows and formulate access policies that align with current usage. Additionally, this phase entails identifying any anomalies.

A pilot use case is implemented in the subsequent phase with a well-defined and limited subset of users and services. This phase aims to refine the onboarding processes for both users and services. Successful completion of the pilot gradually extends the security provided by Zero Trust.

Types of Zero Trust Network Solutions

Endpoint-Initiated Zero Trust Network Access

The proposed solution involves installing agent software on end-user devices to gather security-related data and transmit it to a central controller. The controller then prompts the device for authentication and provides a list of authorised applications. Following successful authentication, the controller grants access to the requested application through a gateway. This process ensures a secure and controlled connection between the end-user device and the authorised application.

Service-Initiated Zero Trust Network Access

This solution differs from Endpoint-initiated Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) as this does not necessitate the installation of an agent on the device. Instead, applications utilise a connector to establish outbound connections. Access to the application requires authentication with the ZTNA provider, which authenticates users using the Identity Access Management mechanism. If the authentication process is successful, traffic is allowed to pass through the provider. This approach is particularly advantageous for devices where agent installation may be challenging.

Benefits of Zero Trust Network Security

  • Continually monitors the identity of users and endpoints to determine the level of risk and restrict access if necessary.
  • Context-aware access policies at both the user as well as the device level.
  • Protect legacy applications with cloud-based solutions.
  • The risk of lateral movement and attacks within an infrastructure, whether by malicious insiders or bad external actors, is reduced.
  • A single product or service that simplifies application and network access.

Use cases of Zero Trust Network Access

With the increasing risks of breaches and compromise, especially due to ransomware, enterprise security is rapidly shifting to zero-trust approaches.

Network access control replacement: ZTNA clients perform Health checks to confirm a node’s trustworthiness. Also, they help enforce network policy regarding what a node can do.

Private WAN replacement: ZTNA over bare internet can replace private connections when a private network primarily serves to secure user access to internal resources.

Terminal services: VDI and terminal services can be replaced by ZTNA when providing identity-based access control to resources instead of delivering LAN-equivalent access.

The Bottom Line

Zero trust security mandates verification for anyone attempting to access network resources, even for those inside the network perimeter, based on the principle of default distrust towards all. Green Method provides numerous high-quality cyber security solutions. Whether in data centres, public clouds, or hybrid environments, our ZTNA solution ensures a secure and seamless connection to your applications while mitigating the risk of data exposure. Our solution continuously monitors user and endpoint identities and dynamically controls access based on assessed risk levels. Get in touch with Green Method to know more about the ZTNA.

Leave a Reply