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Since the term “Zero Trust” is a strategy for network security rather than a specific technology, many have generalized it to mean Zero Perimeter or not having a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on their enterprise network for cloud delivery services.

Just like many buzzwords, many people have played so much around Zero Trust that the authentic technical meaning has been taken out through a period of fashionable use, often to impress than apply,

The Concept of Zero Perimeter

The idea behind the perimeter-based approach to network security is that anyone who has been offered access to a secure network is considered ‘trusted’ and has been popularly deployed as a network model security in dominant organizations around the globe for over 20 years.

However, the rise and changes in the sophistication level of hackers and their attacks have exposed the flaws in this network security model.

There is the layered security that accompanies a perimeter-based model. With layered security, IT teams will position security perimeters around individual assets. A concept meant that a potential attacker would have to be authorized on different layers of security to access critical assets.

But once a user has been authorized, they could bypass these security layers since they had accessed the perimeter — a security strategy that was considerable in on-premises and usually Windows-based situations. 

The user would need to authenticate their identity, meaning they would need access to a domain. And after that, the anti-malware check might follow, and applications and data should follow. Finally, the outer layer would be the network perimeter itself with security features such as firewalls, VPNs, and intrusion detection.

Zero Trust Concept

Zero Trust was developed as a model to offer protection for critical assets in an organization. However, unlike the perimeter model, Zero Trust does not inherently permit the use of an inherent trust to any user or device. Hence, a user will need to be repeatedly authorized to gain access to network resources — and this also applies to internal users behind the firewall.

In today’s dynamic system, many people regard this model as the most efficient strategy for avoiding a potential data breach on a network. Even government systems passed for an increase in cybersecurity through different measures, including implementing a Zero Trust security model. 

So, What is Zero Trust?

Zero Trust is a modern cybersecurity model that requires every user — whether within or outside the network to be authorized and authenticated before accessing network resources. Usually, the process of authentication and authorization is continuous and applies to all users and devices, whether they are newly accessing the network or have been previously or repeatedly authorized, and is within the perimeter.

The Zero Trust model doesn’t offer free movement around the network like the perimeter-based model since it believes that an organization’s network is possibly compromised, especially by an insider, or even the perimeter could fail. So instead, every user and device is allowed to prove their authenticity by going through repeated checks.

How Zero Trust Security Works

ZTNA deploys multiple processes and technologies to secure an organization’s assets from attacks and data breaches while helping companies attain compliance with FISMA, HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, and other security and data privacy laws. 

With data activity monitoring being of high priority, hackers are unable to break through the security framework because of data such as intellectual property, personally identifiable data (PII), protected health information (PHI), payment card information (PCI),  and other data of high priority.

But the Zero Trust Framework is So Important Now, And Here is Why!

There are various reasons why companies are considering deploying the Zero Trust model, including that networks are neither Windows-based nor on-premises. In addition, the mobile and remote workforce means that Zero Trust has been embraced.

Implementing the Zero Trust model takes time and a careful planning process. The key goal is to verify everything going into a network. However, you do not want to impact the user’s productivity badly.

  • When implementing Zero Trust, many organizations often combine a wide range of cloud applications and non-integrated on-premises. As a result, they are left with fragmentation that should be addressed by IT.
  • Zero Trust often has context-based policies included in its framework. This implies that low signals are incorporated around each user context, such as device context and location context.
  • This creates room for Identity and Access Management (IAM). It is usually the first step that needs to be concluded. It involves integrating different fragmented identities under a single IAM system across an on-premises and cloud environment. For instance, this could include single sign-on. And there could be a second authentication factor layered on it.
  • A vital aspect of the Zero Trust process is directed toward authorizing and authenticating access requests.

The Benefits

Organizations have a lot of benefits to derive from using a Zero Trust approach. But we’ll consider it in comparison to Virtual Private Network benefits. Zero Trust Network Access vs. VPN benefits: Here are things to know.

1. Zero Trust Increased User Satisfaction

The experience with Zero Trust skyrocketed user satisfaction. Unlike the VPN experience that required backhauling user traffic, harnessing enterprise data centers results in network latency. But ZTNA helps to build direct connections to private applications and increases user satisfaction.

2. Traditional VPN Support Differs from Zero Trust

VPN authenticates users once and then places them on the network. So, regardless of where the user is located, once they have been deemed fit for the company resources, they have unhindered access to everything. But with Zero Trust, devices and users are validated from time to time. And are only allowed to access resources specific to their needs during each session.