Establishing Direct Access as a ZTNA Alternative

ZTNA Alternative

Any enterprise interested in reaping the benefits of a cloud (or hybrid) deployment should examine all available security models carefully. Almost everyone agrees that the cloud will continue to play an important role in our digital future. It enables seamless scaling, cost-effective management of resources, and provides access to business resources from almost anywhere.

Anyone who isn’t seriously considering installing any Line-of-Business (LOB) applications in the cloud is falling behind their competitors. One of the key challenges that your organization will have to overcome when moving to a hybrid deployment model is ensuring your data and network stays secure at all times.

Although most security analysts will tell you that there’s no such thing as a single solution to address all of your concerns, many will agree that a framework using the Zero Trust Access Model (ZTNA) is the best way to go. With this approach, companies can secure data and limit the risk of a specific breach from spreading to the entire network.

ZTNA has been around for years and works for most hybrid environments, including those where remote access is a critical part of business continuity. In this blog, we’ll look at what a ZTNA framework entails and where it works well. We’ll also give you some considerations for improved cloud security and how you can establish direct access as a ZTNA alternative to help ensure you protect your LOB application data.

What is a ZTNA Security Framework?

Cloud security is receiving a lot of attention lately due to some high-level data breaches over the last few years. In fact, if you’ve moved a hybrid deployment in the last two years and haven’t experienced a breach, you’ll be in the minority. One of the buzzwords flying around in the industry and often toted as a best-in-class solution is ZTNA. What this means is the company adopted a zero-trust access model for all their applications using a set of technologies and policies.

Using the most granular set of permissions and policies, companies can secure any internet-facing application on the user layer. Security professionals define ZTNA as a Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) because it creates a well-secured barrier between the company’s networks and each application housed in their environment.

How Does the ZTNA Model Work?

Most companies are used to network-centric security solutions like a Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Firewalls (FWs). ZTNA takes a fundamentally different approach to system security. The primary difference is by separating the IT environment’s network security from remote access requests. Protecting the entire network expands the security perimeter while having to deal with a wide variety of possible vulnerabilities. What makes ZTNA different is it creates a case-by-case access control framework for every application deployed in the environment.

To achieve this, ZTNA champions the following four principles:

  • Isolating application access from network access – ZTNA only grants access to specific applications based on the user’s exact credentials and applying granular permissions to every access request.
  • Hides the network from unauthorized users – By granting out-bound only connections, no unauthorized user will even know the network exists or have the ability to exploit it beyond the application involved. 
  • Requires native app segmentation – Grants access on a one-to-one basis, where only one user-to-application connection keeps the rest of the IT system secure and credentials allow access to only the application required.
  • Deemphasizes network security in lieu of application security – ZTNA leverages encrypted micro tunnels between the user and specific application, and as such doesn’t allow any compromised device to infect the rest of the network.

These four principles help create a secure, software barrier between the company’s networks and individual applications. If an employee uses a compromised device to access company systems, the infection cannot spread unless a hacker engineered it to overcome the software layer of protection.

Challenges Arising from ZTNA Security Models

Zero trust means just that, you don’t trust anything in your IT system. It includes people, devices, data, networks, and workloads. One of the key drawbacks to this approach is the level of effort required. To establish a ZTNA security framework, you’ll need to increase the control you exercise on every single application within your environment.

Some of the primary challenges with ZTNA includes:

  • Increased time and effort – Establishing a ZTNA model requires building the security framework from the ground up. There’s no such thing as group control or application pool security, so you’ll have to define every application’s access model and pair it with a specific user.
  • Managing more devices – Similarly, users may want to access their applications from any device, meaning security professionals need to adapt their solutions to accommodate these different types of access requests.
  • User and application-level control mean additional admin – To ensure only authorized users have access, the application landscape needs to be as granular as possible and managed at that level. Companies need to consider the workloads it will add to their security resources.
  • May require specialized skills – To ensure you are managing the security of every application, the organization may need to adopt a solution like containerization to achieve ZTNA. With containerization, every application is contained within its own bucket and data exchanges happen only on the server-side of the software.

Benefits of ZTNA Trust Models

Because ZTNA is a fundamentally different approach to the way most organizations deal with application security, it requires a shift in the mind-sets from your security professionals. That said, it does bring additional benefits to the company when implemented correctly.

With the smart segmentation of application layer data, you can reduce exposure to vulnerabilities, improve your security orchestration, and manage application access policies effectively. While the benefits of ZTNA are plenty, the additional effort required to implement, administer, and maintain ZTNA should be part of your assessment before opting to go with this framework.

For most organizations looking to speed up their hybrid and cloud adoption, a ZTNA alternative like Triofox could provide better results.

Enabling Secure Remote Access using Triofox Instead

Triofox streamlines your access model for both cloud and on-premises deployments. Whether you want a hybrid application implementation or just need to provide remote access to your own data center, Triofox is one of the few ZTNA and VPN alternatives available.

The way Triofox works doesn’t require a fundamental change to your security posture while enabling remote access to your LOB applications. You can maintain your current security frameworks and extend these to networks that your staff needs to access over the internet.

How Triofox Works and How It Compares to ZTNA Models

Triofox extends your existing security infrastructure whenever it routes a remote access request to an application within your system. The Triofox server integrates with your corporate network and current Active Directory (AD) configuration.

With integration to your current AD, you can also maintain your existing NTFS permissions. No additional configuration or extra admin effort will be required. Your security resources can go about their daily tasks while staff has the necessary remote access (at the right granular levels) to stay productive.

The key difference between Triofox and ZTNA models is that your current AD remains the central control panel for all your remote access needs. Once a user requests access, Triofox issues an authentication token based on the permissions you’ve previously defined in your AD. End-to-end encryption keeps your data secure in transit and staff do not have to deal with additional complexity when accessing LOB applications.

Consider a ZTNA Alternative with Triofox Secure Remote Access

Every organization can benefit from a cloud or hybrid deployment. The only thing holding you back is your security considerations. With Triofox, you don’t have to rebuild the wheel when it comes to network and application security. You can safely deploy your file servers on-premises or in the cloud and simply extend your existing security and establish direct access as a ZTNA alternative

To see how Triofox can provide you with elevated security while speeding up your cloud adoption, sign up for a free trial today.

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