9.16.2022 Blog

What is Zero Trust Network Access and do I need it?

Nobody wants to be a victim of a cyber-attack. The cost of an average cyber-attack is somewhere around $200,000 - something most companies can’t afford to pay to replace their network.

With today’s ever-changing technology advancements, there come new ways for criminals to gain access to your network. To combat these advancements, there are constantly new ways to protect your network.

Zero trust is another way that you can ensure your network is safe and helps you avoid becoming a victim of a pricey cyber-attack.

Coeo wants to make sure that you have all of the information you need on network security and are educated on all of the tools that can help secure your network. We want to make sure you make the best decision possible when it comes to securing your network.

By the end of this article, you will know what zero trust network access is, how it can be incorporated with SASE, as well as if zero trust is a good or bad fit for you.

What is Zero Trust Network Access?

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is a security method that requires verification from anyone looking to access resources on a network. This method is a reaction that fixes some of the shortcomings of the perimeter-based network security model.

Firewalls protect the edge of your network and differentiate between trust and untrust to protect your network. Inside of your firewall is known as trust and outside of your firewall is known as untrust.

The firewall separates trusted networks from untrusted networks as a technique used to protect your network. This is a great technique to protect your network but what happens when a trusted network is compromised?

If your network is compromised, it is no longer trusted. To combat this, ZTNA takes a different approach to secure your network.

When it comes to ZTNA, there is no trusted network because if someone compromises a device that is on your trusted network, your trusted network is now untrusted.

ZTNA takes the angle that every network is untrusted.

ZTNA pushes the trust boundary out to the endpoint and then up the application stack to try to authenticate and secure access to resources across the network.

ZTNA does not really secure the network. It assumes that the network is a fundamentally insecure place and uses principles like Role Based Access Control (RBAC), Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM).

Trusting endpoints is how ZTNA secures the network instead of segregating the world into things that you can trust and things that you can’t trust.

Endpoints are the devices that communicate back and forth with a network that it is connected to. These devices can be anything from laptops and desktops to phones and tablets.

If you need to have access to a network resource, ZTNA can use location and devices as part of a model to authenticate access or identify actions. However, it typically uses RBAC controls and authentication with MFA to grant access to the network.

If you are attempting access to the printer in your office, for example, you can access it off of your work computer if it is verified.

If you attempt to access the printer from your phone or another device that is not verified on the network, chances are you will not be able to access the printer.

Additionally, if you are attempting to access the printer from home or a different location, you also will be denied access. These are all scenarios that would be present with traditional security models.

However, with SASE, a cybersecurity network solution, and ZTNA, access is not controlled by what machine you are logged into and what network you happen to be on.

How ZTNA can be incorporated with SASE

Secure Access Service Edge or SASE is a cybersecurity network that combines a WAN or wide area network and a security system into one cloud-based system. SASE is an emerging cybersecurity concept surfacing back in 2019.

SASE is a new concept that came about due to the recognition that controlling access to resources is not the same as it used to be.

Existing network approaches and technologies like firewalls, no longer provide the needed levels of security in today’s network services. Using only a firewall to secure your still makes your network vulnerable in some ways.

Since ZTNA has the philosophy of trusting no one and verifying everything, no user or device attempting access to a network will ever be trusted until they are verified. Devices are verified entirely based on established identity and access control policies.

SASE uses this ZTNA policy as part of its service since the SASE client runs directly on the devices within a network and verifies access from the endpoints.

SASE determines from there who should have access and what they should have access to within your network.

Reasons why ZTNA is a good or bad fit for you

To summarize, ZTNA trusts nothing and by default, considers your entire network as not secure. This will in turn allow your network to be more secure and safe from cyber-attacks.

However, there are a few reasons why ZTNA may be a good or bad fit for you:

Good fit

●      Remote Workers

If your organization has many remote or hybrid remote workers who work from home, you might benefit from ZTNA.

Because the security of ZTNA runs on the computer instead of the firewall, as long as the devices and locations are verified, your remote workers will always be secure.

●      Collaborations

If your organization collaborates with a partner company and you constantly have the need to send data back and forth, you could use ZTNA to ensure better control over data access.

With the help of access controls, ZTNA allows you to grant certain audiences access to specific data and information. This ensures that only your intended audience will have the data and information and will not be intercepted by a cyber-criminal.

Bad fit

●      Outdated or unfit products and services

ZTNA is a very new concept. With this in mind, it may not play well with older products or services that you may have already integrated into your network.

If you have outdated products and services, ZTNA may not be the best fit for you unless you have the funds to upgrade your network.

●      Lack of resources

The ZTNA model is really resource-intensive. It operates on the assumption that your network is constantly compromised, that you are always in incident response mode, and someone or some service is constantly working against those threats.

This can become overwhelming if you do not have a dedicated security response team, or if you can't justify the price of an outsourced managed security operations center.

●      Smaller companies

Almost anyone can benefit from ZTNA however if you are a smaller organization then you may not need ZTNA. ZTNA is designed for companies with a lot of users and a lot of connections.

Next steps to securing your network

Now that you know what ZTNA is as well as the reasons you would be a good or bad fit for the service, you can make an educated conscious decision on if ZTNA is a good fit for you.

With the frequency of cyber-attacks and the growth of cyber criminals, it is important to ensure your network is as secure as possible so that your data and information are safe. Reading this article on ZTNA will help you make a better decision on how to secure your network.

Coeo has improved the network security of thousands of customers and knows how important a secure network is in today’s age.

We know how frustrating it can be to fall victim to a cyber-attack and want you to have as much information as possible on cyber security so that doesn't happen to you.

After reading this article, you will have a better understanding of if ZTNA is a good fit for your organization. If you feel you are a good fit, you can contact our sales team to talk about SASE and how it incorporates ZTNA.

If you have come to the conclusion that you are not a good fit for ZTNA, you can check out these articles to look for other security options that could be a better fit:

After you have read these articles, you will be better educated on network security.

If you have any additional questions on network security, you can schedule an appointment to talk with our team of experts.

Get in touch at 844.300.2636(COEO)

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