Zero trust network access is an approach to network security that assumes every device, application or system that connects to your network potentially could be compromised.
Zero trust security brings together advanced networking and authentication technologies, thorough and clear security policies and effective IT/security governance. Rather than immediately granting access to a device or application trying to connect to your network, this multi-faceted approach involves granting authorized users access only to the applications they need to perform their jobs. It isolates specific applications, devices and systems to certain parts of your network and doesn't make your internal network visible to the internet, which could otherwise make it easier for hackers to infiltrate. Zero trust network access, if implemented correctly, can be an effective alternative to the traditional approach to network security, which typically involves using a virtual private network (VPN) to connect workers from remote locations and implicitly trusting these connections.
With remote work still a norm in workplaces across the country, many companies are managing a wider attack surface than ever before. Potential pitfalls include:
- Weak password security
- Stolen or shared user credentials
- Unsecured home Wi-Fi networks
- Employees using their personal devices for work
- Sharing unencrypted files
- Unintentionally clicking a phishing link
- Downloading an unauthorized application and then connecting to your network
These all pose great risk in the era of remote and hybrid work. At the same time, your company likely doesn't have unlimited resources to address every single attack vector or protect your business from every single threat. A zero trust security approach can bolster endpoint, network and remote work security by minimizing your company's exposure. With this model, dozens or potentially hundreds of devices, applications and users would not have wide-ranging access to your network or your company's sensitive data—they can only access the systems and information to which they are authorized.