Zero Trust is a modern security model founded on the design principle “Never trust, always verify.” It requires all devices and users, regardless of whether they are inside or outside an organization's network, to be authenticated, authorized, and regularly validated before being granted access.
In short, Zero Trust says “Don’t trust anyone until they’ve been verified.”
Zero Trust helps prevent security breaches by eliminating the implicit trust from your system’s architecture. Instead of automatically trusting users inside the network, Zero Trust requires validation at every access point. It protects modern network environments using a multi-layered approach, including:
- Network segmentation
- Layer 7 threat prevention
- Simplified granular user-access control
- Comprehensive security monitoring
- Security system automation
With the rise of remote work, bring your own device (BYOD) , and cloud-based assets that aren’t located within an enterprise-owned network boundary, traditional perimeter security falls short. That’s where Zero Trust comes in. A Zero Trust architecture (ZTA) is designed as if there is no traditional network edge, retiring the old castle-and-moat model of perimeter security.
In essence, Zero Trust security not only acknowledges that threats exist inside and outside of the network, but it assumes that a breach is inevitable (or has likely already occurred). As a result, it constantly monitors for malicious activity and limits user access to only what is required to do the job. This effectively prevents users (including potential bad actors) from moving laterally through the network and accessing any data that hasn’t been limited.
Zero Trust security can be applied in multiple ways depending on your architecture design and approach.
Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) , sometimes referred to as a “software-defined perimeter,” is the most common implementation of the Zero Trust model. Based on micro-segmentation and network isolation, ZTNA replaces the need for a VPN and grants access to the network after verification and authentication .
As Gartner defines it, under a ZTNA model, “access is restricted via a trust broker to a set of named entities. The broker verifies the identity, context and policy adherence of the specified participants before allowing access and prohibits lateral movement elsewhere in the network.” This minimizes the attack surface , significantly reducing security risk.
Zero Trust Application Access (ZTAA) also operates on Zero Trust principles, but unlike ZTNA, it goes a step further to protect not just the network but applications, too. ZTAA assumes all networks are compromised and limits access to applications until after users and devices have been verified. This approach effectively blocks attackers that enter the network and protects the connected applications.
Zero Trust Access is the umbrella model that encompasses both ZTAA and ZTNA, providing end-to-end Zero Trust across your entire architecture—including all networks and applications. It provides identity-based security that considers not just who is on the network, but what is on the network—extending zero trust to the provider itself. This gives organizations unparalleled data privacy in a true Zero Trust environment