What Are ZTNA Solutions?
ZTNA Solutions Defined
Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solutions enable organizations to adopt a Zero Trust approach when allowing users to connect remotely to IT resources. The Zero Trust security framework assumes that everything requesting access to IT resources may be a threat – even users, devices and applications already within the network.
By requiring every user and every device to re-authenticate on every request, Zero Trust environments prevent attackers who have breached one part of a network from accessing assets and applications. ZTNA solutions apply a Zero Trust approach to remote connections, requiring users and devices to continuously validate as they request access to the network and its applications.
Why ZTNA Solutions Matter
With the rise of cloud computing and hybrid workforces, Zero Trust Network Access solutions have emerged as a critical technology for securing highly distributed IT environments.
IT teams formerly relied on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to provide secure access for remote users. VPNs offer a secure “tunnel” between a device and a network, protecting communication by encrypting traffic and obscuring the device’s originating IP address.
While VPNs offer value in specific scenarios, they are no match for the security needs of modern IT environments and the threats they face. Limitations of VPN technology include:
- Overly broad permissions. After initial authentication, VPNs provide full access to network resources for any user with valid login keys. This allows attackers who have stolen credentials, for example, to move freely within an IT environment.
- Poor user performance. VPNs must backhaul traffic from user connections through a centralized hub, creating latency and slowing performance. When using VPNs, users may experience long loading times and poor quality for video calls.
- Inadequate Identity Access Management (IAM). VPNs are not suited for the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend, as these unmanaged endpoints can quickly increase the risk of malware and data breaches.
- Lack of control and visibility. Because VPNs are controlled at the network level, they provide no visibility into activity at the application layer. As a result, IT teams can’t track users and data interacting with applications.
- Management burden. Some VPNs require software installed on endpoint devices, creating an enormous management burden for IT teams and making it virtually impossible to scale the technology quickly.
ZTNA solutions overcome the limitations of VPN technology to deliver more robust security for organizations and better performance for users. ZTNA technology also simplifies network security for IT teams by providing greater visibility, control and simplicity when managing remote connections to the network.
How ZTNA Solutions Work
ZTNA solutions use various technologies from ZTNA and network access control vendors to apply Zero Trust principles to remote network connectivity.
- Zero Trust by default. In contrast to traditional network security, ZTNA solutions do not automatically trust users, devices or applications inside or outside the network. By requiring authentication and continuous validation for every request for resources, ZTNA technology dramatically reduces the attack surface and prevents attacks based on lateral movement within an environment.
- Least-privilege access. When granting access, ZTNA solutions provide users and applications with only the minimum permission level required to complete a task. This further minimizes access to sensitive network resources.
- Microsegmentation. Rather than protecting the traditional network perimeter, ZTNA solutions rely on microsegmentation to create security perimeters around much smaller network parts, including individual workloads and applications. Each segment is protected by granular security policies that strictly limit access.
- Continuous monitoring. IT teams working with a Zero Trust approach assume that threats are already inside the network and take a proactive approach as they search for and mitigate attacks. This more assertive security posture enables teams to find threats earlier and limit the damage they can cause.
- Device control. When granting Zero Trust remote access, security teams monitor traffic to devices on the network to ensure that each device is authorized and has not been compromised.
As a result of these practices, ZTNA solutions decouple network access from application access – users and applications that have been granted access to the network cannot automatically access applications and resources on it. Zero Trust Network Access technology also prevents devices from seeing network infrastructure or IP addresses other than the applications and services they are using.
For users, ZTNA solutions provide secure, fast and uninterrupted access with direct connections to private applications and cloud resources. With no hardware to manage and no software to install on endpoint devices, ZTNA solutions can deploy quickly and scale effortlessly. IT teams benefit from complete real-time visibility into user and application activity. ZTNA systems dramatically reduce IT teams’ time and effort to manage secure remote connectivity.
Types of ZTNA Solutions
ZTNA can be deployed as agent-based or agentless solutions.
With an agent-based solution, a software agent installed on an endpoint device communicates with a ZTNA controller, sending information about the device’s security context, such as location, date, time and security status. The controller prompts the user for authentication. After the user and system have been authenticated, the controller connects the device to network resources through a gateway that shields applications from unauthorized users.
An agentless solution uses browser-initiated sessions to connect and authenticate devices. When access is requested, a connector within the same network as the application establishes an outbound connection to the provider’s cloud. After service in the cloud authenticates the user and device, traffic passes through the provider’s cloud to isolate applications from direct access from unauthorized users. Because no agent is required on a user’s device, agentless ZTNA solutions often provide access to unmanaged devices.
ZTNA Solutions from Forcepoint
As a leading user and data security company, Forcepoint simplifies security for global businesses and governments. Forcepoint’s all-in-one, cloud-native platform makes adopting and managing Zero Trust solutions easy.
Forcepoint ZTNA delivers all the capabilities IT teams need to secure remote connections and monitor user and device activity. With Forcepoint ZTNA, organizations can:
- Manage access with pinpoint control. Forcepoint ZTNA integrates easily with existing identity and access management solutions and IdPs. Administrators can provide secure access to private Zero Trust network apps with fast, pinpoint control, basing authentication on identity, group membership, device type and location, and requiring multifactor authentication when login attempts look suspicious.
- Provide secure access for any device. Users can safely and conveniently connect to web apps from unmanaged and BYOD devices over the internet without software agents. Forcepoint ONE also offers a unified agent that secures access to private non-web apps and remote desktops from managed PCs or Macs
- Prevent data leaks and loss. A full range of DLP capabilities automatically enforces remediation actions for sensitive data in transit.
- Protect against malware and zero-day threats. Malware-scanning engines run in the public cloud, requiring no endpoint AV installations. Forcepoint deploys advanced detection that leverages behavior-based techniques to identify zero-day threats.
- Gain greater visibility and control. Administrators can manage access, monitor activity, and enforce Zero Trust security policies from a single dashboard.
- Deliver an exceptional user experience. Forcepoint provides users surprising speed by pushing enforcement as close to the edge as possible. Uptime of 99.99% ensures reliable access and high availability.
- Streamlined security. Forcepoint ONE is an all-in-one platform that combines solutions for SASE, ZTNA, CASB, SWG and other Zero Trust, data security and network security technologies.