What Are ZTNA Vendors?
An Introduction to ZTNA Vendors
Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is a solution that secures connections for remotely accessing IT network assets. ZTNA vendors provide technologies and platforms to help IT teams implement Zero Trust principles more easily.
ZTNA security is built on the Zero Trust security model, a new approach to IT security. In the traditional security paradigm, users and devices granted access to a network are implicitly trusted with all the network's applications, data and other resources. However, this type of trust allows attackers who have broken into the network to have free reign, moving laterally to access sensitive information, take over accounts, steal funds and cause damage.
Zero Trust security takes the opposite approach, trusting nothing and no one inside or outside the network and requiring continuous authentication. Combining this security posture with constant monitoring and minimal permissions, Zero Trust Network Access effectively improves security while delivering a better user experience and greater visibility for IT teams.
ZTNA vendors offer a variety of ZTNA solutions, including agent-based and agentless ZTNA options. ZTNA solutions may include a range of functionality, including identity and access management, segmentation capabilities, data loss prevention and malware protection. Some ZTNA vendors offer more limited products, while others provide all-in-one platforms that combine ZTNA with other Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture elements.
How ZTNA Works
Zero Trust remote access enhances security by adopting the principles of Zero Trust.
- Never trust anything implicitly. Zero Trust systems operate with a philosophy of “Never trust, always verify.” To access applications and resources on a network, users and devices must re-authenticate on every request. By not trusting anything implicitly, Zero Trust systems severely limit the damage that attackers can cause if they gain unauthorized access to a network.
- Always grant least-privilege access. Rather than giving blanket permissions, Zero Trust systems grant the least access possible for a user or device to perform a specific task. This prevents unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data and high-value applications.
- Protect assets with microsegmentation. Traditional security applies policies for access control at the network perimeter. Zero Trust security uses microsegmentation to create security perimeters around much smaller network sections or individual workloads and applications. Zero Trust systems can effectively prevent lateral movement attacks by protecting these assets with granular security policies.
- Assume that attackers are already present. Zero Trust security requires IT teams to continuously monitor the environment, users and devices that access it. Security teams operate on the notion that an attack is always underway, helping them to find and remediate attacks earlier.
To put these principles into practice for remote access, organizations need a variety of technologies and capabilities.
- Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions like multifactor authentication and single sign-on solutions manage the need to constantly authenticate users and devices while minimizing the impact on performance.
- Microsegmentation technology simplifies isolating sensitive data, workloads and containers.
- Threat detection, data loss prevention, malware protection and other technologies help IT teams to detect and block threats as early as possible.
- Visibility and reporting features allow IT teams to monitor the environment for potential threats and unauthorized access constantly.
Many organizations turn to ZTNA vendors who provide point solutions or all-in-one platforms to deploy and manage these technologies efficiently.
Criteria for Evaluating ZTNA Vendors
ZTNA vendors provide the services and solutions that allow security teams to easily adopt a Zero Trust approach to securing remote access. Several criteria are essential when evaluating and selecting a ZTNA vendor.
Integration with Identity and Access Management (IAM) technology
Because most organizations already have IAM technology, IT teams typically want a ZTNA solution that integrates seamlessly with common IAMs and identity providers (IdPs). The ability to automatically onboard users from existing IAMs can save much effort while minimizing errors.
Impact on performance
Constantly authenticating users and devices can introduce latency, so organizations should look for ZTNA vendors who can provide scalable solutions with infrastructure hosted in the public cloud. Superior solutions will be responsive and reliable and demonstrate a verifiable record of consistently high availability.
ZTNA solutions come in two categories: agent-based and agentless solutions. Agentless ZTNA is a cloud-based offering ideal for protecting web-based apps and securing unmanaged devices. Agent-based ZTNA uses an agent installed on an end-user device and can provide secure access to web-based apps and any TCP-based protocol. Solutions that offer both types of ZTNA solutions deliver more flexibility for IT teams.
Some ZTNA vendors offer threat detection capabilities as part of their Zero Trust Network Access offerings. To prevent exposure of sensitive information, a ZTNA platform should ideally provide Data Loss Prevention (DLP) capabilities that support real-time protection against exfiltration. To prevent malware from spreading through remote connections, ZTNA solutions should provide malware protection by scanning files in motion in real time. ZTNA technology can also protect against zero-day threats by using behavior-based techniques and advanced detection engines.
Visibility and reporting
Real-time visibility from a single dashboard gives IT teams the control they need to manage ZTNA deployments effectively. Reporting capabilities should enable teams to demonstrate regulatory compliance and manage security audits efficiently. Dashboards with intuitive drill-downs enable IT teams to identify potential threats more easily, while integration with existing SIEM solutions extends visibility to other areas of the organization.
Advantages of a superior ZTNA Vendor
Working with a ZTNA vendor to deploy Zero Trust Network Access can help IT teams and their organizations to achieve significant benefits.
- Improve security posture. ZTNA solutions increase security by limiting access and segmenting assets, effectively blocking attackers from gaining unauthorized access. Superior solutions can also prevent data leaks and block malware and zero-day attacks.
- Deliver exceptional user experiences. While VPNs introduce latency by backhauling traffic to a central data center for inspection, ZTNA solutions provide users with direct but limited access to applications and resources for a faster user experience.
- Simplify management of remote access security. A ZTNA platform that delivers an all-in-one solution allows IT teams to simplify network security management and ZTNA technology. ZTNA solutions inherently provide much greater visibility of activity on the network than traditional solutions, allowing security teams to identify anomalies, red flags and potential threats quickly.
- Deploy and scale quickly. Solutions from ZTNA vendors can usually be deployed in a matter of days – much faster than the traditional remote access security solutions, which could take weeks or months. ZTNA solutions can scale effortlessly as the number of employees and partners connecting to the organization grows.
Forcepoint: A Leading ZTNA Vendor
Forcepoint is recognized as a leader in cybersecurity by Gartner, NSS Labs, Forrester and others. As a ZTNA vendor, Forcepoint provides a Zero Trust Network Access solution as part of a comprehensive SSE platform that includes a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) and a Secure Web Gateway (SWG).
With Forcepoint ZTNA, organizations and IT teams have access to all the capabilities they need to address remote access security. Forcepoint ZTNA provides:
- Easy integration with existing IAM solutions.
- Detection mechanisms for advanced DLP use cases and a full range of remediation capabilities.
- Cloud-based malware scanning and advanced detection engines to stop zero-day threats.
- Agentless deployment options to secure unmanaged devices without software installation.
- Agent-based options to secure non-web apps.
- Low-latency performance, achieved by pushing enforcement as close to the edge as possible.
- Reliable 99.99% uptime.
- Granular reporting and visibility across both managed and unmanaged user devices.