Remote working and a positive work experience have always been seen as mutually exclusive. It is a common misconception that you have to sacrifice work to keep company resources secure and vice versa. For many organizations, the rapid adaptation of remote work has only emphasized this idea and has left many IT leaders in the middle of a tug of war between security and user productivity. As a result, many are assessing current legacy solutions and are now considering a transition to zero trust principles. But what is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and how does it impact your organization?
What is ZTNA?
At a very high level, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) – also commonly known as a Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) – is designed to create direct connections between a user’s device and the specific resource or application they need to use. These 1-1 contextual connections limit the vulnerability of your corporate network by allowing the user access to the application requested and that application alone. This only happens after the user has adequately proved their identity and that their requests are risk-free. Unlike its predecessor (the VPN), the zero trust architecture also blacks out resources that weren’t requested, which reduces the risk of lateral freedom across the network.
The need for both a VPN and ZTNA
The massive shift to remote working has exposed the traditional VPN’s ability to provide a safe, encrypted connection to corporate resources on a mass scale. Even with multifactor authentication (MFA), the structure of legacy VPNs, which grants full access to anyone holding the correct credentials, simply puts organizations at greater risk of attacks.
Now, it might seem obvious that organizations should drop the VPN and transition to the new and shiny SDP solution entirely. Some might even claim that “the VPN is dead” to instill fear during this remote working revolution. But these claims and assumptions are just not true. According to Spiceworks , 98% of organizations in 2019 still have on-premise servers in place. While a NetMotion survey done in June 2020 backs this finding, revealing that 75% of organizations had at least four on-premise applications in place. Alongside the continued need to encrypt traffic from a security or compliance perspective, there remains a number of reasons that IT leaders must accept that many organizations are simply not ready to fully adopt a fully zero-trust architecture overnight.
Instead, IT leaders should look into a solution that can provide a single, cohesive platform that hosts both solutions, enabling a seamless transition in approach in the organization’s remote access journey.
NetMotion is the only solution to provide both an SDP and VPN in a single platform, providing organizations with a pathway to evolve towards zero trust without needing to re-engineer their entire network security strategy overnight. Unlike traditional solutions, NetMotion can be implemented inside and alongside established infrastructures, providing granular policy controls, network visibility and experience monitoring. This allows full visibility and control over any work device, on any network.
But what does this mean for users?
Despite the traction that can be associated with the term “zero trust”, this process is done contextually and instantaneously. In fact, users will frictionlessly feel like they have full access to their resources in the moment that they need it – security and identity assessment should always be done in a way that is invisible to the end user.
Some ZTNA solutions also provide IT leaders with much more detailed visibility into any device activity, even when they are being used remotely (ie. outside the traditional office and off the corporate network). This means that your IT team can proactively react to problems by monitoring activity, see who’s having a great experience, and identify tractions before the user even realizes it. But when problems do occur, this visibility layer allows teams to easily identify and drill into problems whether its a networking issue or a device issue. Allowing your users to be more focused on their work, and in turn be more productive.
If you’d like to learn more about the NetMotion approach to ZTNA and how we’ve been helping organizations everywhere adapt to this new remote working world, visit our SDP hub . Or, check out more information on why your organization needs both a VPN and an SDP solution here.
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