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Zero trust network access: what does it mean for your business?

The cybersecurity landscape is continually changing. Top of mind for cybersecurity teams is the expanding attack surface they need to consider as more businesses adopt a hybrid work model. Preventing unauthorised access to critical systems and data is paramount to business success. 

This is where zero trust network access is an important cybersecurity strategy to implement. With zero trust solutions, organisations can take into account their remote workforce and their shift to cloud computing to accommodate more flexible and agile work environments. 

What is zero trust?

The zero trust security model was created in response to the growing threat of cyberattacks faced by organisations in the 21st century. 

Traditional approaches to security rely on the assumption that if a user has been granted access, they are not a threat. This is also referred to as “the principle of least privilege”. Zero trust takes the opposite stance, never trust, always verify any request for access to networks. 

Zero trust network access (ZTNA) is a security solution for secure remote access to an organization’s applications, data and services. Based on specifically defined policies, ZTNA only allows access to predefined applications or services, instead of the entire business network, as happens with a virtual private network (VPN). 

As more users are accessing business resources from remote locations, ZTNA helps to cover any vulnerability gaps that can exist when using other methods of remote access security.  In the cloud and with remote workers, it is harder to implement traditional network access controls because you do not have physical control over the devices being used to access your network.

Remote workers also come from different locations and may have different risk profiles compared to your in-office employees. Zero trust networks allow you to take these factors into account and implement network access controls accordingly.

network security

What does zero trust access mean for your business?

These days, security is at the apex of importance. Zero trust policies provide better protection against cyber-attacks while not impeding productivity and data transfer speeds. 

Improved security posture 

The security policies in zero trust networks are usually defined by role, instead of location, which means the risk of data being leaked is greatly reduced since only authorised employees can access company information. If there is an attempted breach of these controls, it can be quickly detected as soon as it happens, and appropriate action can be taken.

By using advanced tools that identify and track employee access, it becomes easier to audit who has accessed what information, and when it was accessed, allowing data to be monitored closely, and if necessary, restricted or removed if it is no longer required. Forrester research found that companies adopting Microsoft security solutions as part of their zero trust strategy cut the risk of a data breach by half and as a result, reduced the chance of regulatory violations. 

Reduced cost

Starting the zero trust journey necessitates transformation for your organisation’s entire security strategy, which leads to opportunities for cost savings throughout the entire business. Removing legacy systems and increasing visibility into network traffic with ZTNA solutions can reduce the costs of network security and lead to a more efficient approach to cybersecurity. 

Improved productivity

A zero trust network access policy limits what an employee is allowed to do based on their level of trust within the system. Employees know when they log in that the system has been configured properly so it doesn’t allow them to accidentally view sensitive data but grants them only the resources and information they need for their job and no more. Secure access to the network ensures remote users and employees on-site feel safe and productive as they go about their tasks. 

Greater business agility

Zero trust architecture simplifies security and improves business agility, providing organisations with the ability to quickly pursue opportunities and support remote work while managing risk. Aside from data protection, it allows your business to be more confident in creating new business models and customer experiences. 

Secure your business network 

The more access to a network an employee has, the greater your risk of data breaches. Zero trust is an essential part of your security strategy in the current hybrid work environment. A zero trust network access policy can help reduce the risk of unauthorised access to your critical business data by providing strict verification and limited access to company resources. 

Speak to the cybersecurity specialists at INTELLIWORX today about implementing zero trust network access management solutions and taking your business data protection to the next level. 

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