Zero trust security is essential for enabling remote access to applications, data, and networks while minimizing the impact of internal or external cyberattacks. Securing these connections becomes critical as the remote workforce grows and organizations lean on cloud environments. To achieve this, it would be best to have a solution for verifying users and devices at the network’s edge. This is where ZTNA (zero trust network access) comes in.
Zero Trust Network Access security is often called “never trust; always verify.” It treats users and devices inside the network as untrustworthy by default until they prove otherwise. Once verified, they are granted access to specific applications and prevented from lateral movement within the environment.
This logical boundary protects the organization’s sensitive applications from unauthorized discovery and reduces the attack surface area. Zero Trust requires strong authentication, encryption, dynamic visibility, and other security technologies such as IAM, orchestration, scoring, and device monitoring.
Additionally, it calls for governance policies limiting the privileges given to non-human accounts such as service accounts. Attackers commonly abuse these accounts because they are not monitored and have many more permissions than a standard user account.
As organizations embrace remote work environments and cloud solutions, a Zero Trust solution can replace VPNs while offering a better user experience with greater granular control. The solution authenticates users at the gateway and connects them directly to The application based on need-to-know policies. It also flags risky devices and automatically verifies them continuously. The best zero-trust security solutions provide a passwordless experience, are scalable, easy to deploy, and require no internal infrastructure or maintenance. They are available as either an agent-based or software-as-a-service model.
With Zero Trust, security policies are based on “Never trust, always verify” rather than implicit trust. This approach lowers the risk of data breaches and lateral movement within the network and minimizes the impact if an attack is successful. Encryption is essential to the Zero Trust architecture because it prevents attackers from accessing internal resources by encoding connections before they can enter the network.
Encryption also hides applications from public discovery, which reduces the surface area for attack. Zero Trust network access requires continuous verification of users, devices, and networks — on-demand and in real-time.
This means that each device, whether a corporate-managed or personal device like a laptop, desktop, or mobile phone, must be constantly checked to ensure the user and application meet security parameters. Finding a solution that does not create security fatigue for employees, contractors, or visitors with constant requests for credentials, passwords, and OS patch updates is critical.
Keeping Zero Trust Network Access running smoothly requires constant monitoring and validation. This includes ensuring that user devices and applications are always up-to-date. It also means restricting access to those who have been verified and authenticated – based on the principle of least privilege.
This helps prevent lateral movement by attackers who have already breached the network perimeter and is critical in preventing attacks that target unpatched vulnerabilities. Zero trust solutions use a trusted broker to authorize connections based on identity and context and limit access to specific apps on a need-to-know basis.
This approach removes applications from public visibility, reduces the surface area for attack, and lowers security risk. This is the opposite of traditional perimeter-based security solutions, such as VPNs that allow full network access to users with valid login credentials – exposing sensitive data to compromised accounts and insider threats.
Zero trust security enables a more secure remote workforce by delivering a seamless experience through an encrypted tunnel to specific internal apps. Implementing a Zero Trust strategy may sound complex, but with the right technology partner, it can be done at scale and with immediate returns.
In today’s multi-cloud environments, applications and users can reside outside an organization’s traditional network edge. Zero trust forces every connection to be trusted only once verified at the gateway and requires devices, users, and access privileges to be continuously monitored and re-verified to maintain access.
This continuous verification reduces the risk of attackers using an internal or external threat surface to move laterally inside a network, application, or environment to target sensitive data. It also enables tighter security and data protection through micro-segmentation, substantial authentication factors, and encryption.
A zero-trust solution that uses granular device, user, and access policies will help ensure a productive and secure experience for remote workers. It should also limit any user or device’s connection and visibility privileges.
This limits lateral movement within the organization in case of a breach and prevents service accounts with broad permissions from becoming an entry point for a malicious actor. It’s essential to remember that a zero-trust solution must be easy to deploy and manage.
Otherwise, it could create significant “security fatigue” for employees and slow productivity. For example, if an employee is constantly being asked for passwords or OS patch updates, this can lead to frustration and decrease productivity. This is why it’s critical to find a solution that offers a flexible approach to deployment, supports multiple platforms and devices, and is capable of scaling.
Zero trust is not merely a trend but an essential shift in cybersecurity. By fully understanding its principles of authentication, encryption, permissions, and visibility organizations can effectively secure their remote workforces. It is imperative for businesses to adopt and adapt to this new security model, ensuring a safe and prosperous future in an increasingly interconnected world.