Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) vs. Zero Trust Application Access (ZTAA)

Zero Trust security has become a huge topic of conversation in the cybersecurity industry. Because zero trust always takes the posture of “never trust, always verify” common to the way many businesses operate, it delivers the opportunity for them to remain both business-focused and data secure. But, what is the best way to enable Zero Trust technology into your business, specifically when it comes to applications? Is Zero Trust Network Access enough, or is there a better solution?

In this blog, we’ll examine the questions above in order to find the best way to protect your vital business applications without sacrificing business agility or security

Securing the Beating Heart of Your Organization

A common misconception across the business world is that networks are the sole path to effective cybersecurity. But securing networks is not enough. Even if networks are secure, bad actors with the right credentials, for example, can target attacks on applications, the vulnerable beating heart of any organization. 

Legacy access schemes such as VPNs can place an increasing number of remote users at the doorstep of internal applications, aggravating risks.  Thus they face the fraught task of delivering needed access to remote employees that they know only serves to expose their organization to a greater risk of a breach.

The problem with accessing multiple applications that live inside of a network or hosted in the cloud is that the security controls businesses have in place may not extend to applications. In fact, they may facilitate their exposure, increasing the available attack surface against bad actors.

What is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)?

To try to reconcile this, some businesses are opting to adopt Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solutions. ZTNA was created as a VPN replacement. With ZTNA, networks and security systems start from a posture of denying access by default and work to incrementally open access to users while continuously evaluating risk. However, ZTNA doesn’t generally extend protections to applications, which, like a VPN leaves them exposed to malicious attacks.  ZTNA solves the network security problem, but still leaves applications relatively exposed to malicious actors.

What is Zero Trust Application Access (ZTAA)?

Zero Trust Application Access (ZTAA) applies zero trust principles to application access, virtually ignoring the complexities and security challenges of the underlying network. With ZTAA, the network is assumed to be compromised and that all users and their devices are untrusted.  Applications are first isolated from users, putting them into the ultimate zero trust posture; no user can get to them.  Access is opened through an access broker that vets user requests and sends them to the application all through a secure connection established over the existing network.

So, what is the safest way to connect users to your private applications, the beating heart of your organization? At Axis Security, we believe that ZTAA represents the simplest and most secure way for your business to protect your applications while also enabling business users to work from anywhere on any device.

Use Cases for ZTAA

3rd-Party Access

Enabling partners is increasingly critical to growing a business, but it shouldn’t put that business at risk.  That is, unfortunately, what legacy VPNs and ZTNA schemes do.

With ZTAA, third-party users are only granted access to the application they need and they are constantly monitored and vetted as they work. This drastically reduces third-party risk by ensuring these external entities can’t access anything not explicitly allowed by policy.

Axis takes that security one step further; as discussed above, users never gain direct access to the corporate network or the application.  Applications are isolated and user requests are brokered through the Access Cloud. As a result, partners gain access but the application and enterprise network remain absolutely protected.

Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

Mergers and acquisitions can be risky both for the business and for IT.   Access to the data and applications is critical to building a newly merged operation. But merging one potentially compromised or infected network with another puts both business entities at risk.  Upgrading of the less secure network is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking that leaves users waiting.

Not only can ZTAA significantly accelerate M&A safely, both pre- and post-acquisition, ZTAA also reduces and simplifies the time and management needed to ensure a successful M&A by giving both companies access to applications without mingling networks. Users gain the access they need without risking the integrity of either network or the applications.

Collaboration Across Workspaces

A good place for businesses to start their ZTAA journey is for them to use this concept to create a secure collaborative environment between multiple users such as employees and partners. A ZTAA environment is able to create a new workspace for these teams that enables them to access the applications they need without having to admit anyone to any private network.

The ZTAA Business Model: The Fastest Way to Build a Zero Trust Enterprise

ZTAA is the fastest and easiest and most secure way to achieve a zero trust posture. Modern businesses are run on people and apps. The Internet and private networks simply provide critical connectivity.  ZTAA creates a solution that leverages that connectivity to simplify and secure application access without the complexities or risks of configuring and securing the underlying network. The result is simple access, elevated security and unprecedented visibility and control you can’t get from a ZTNA solution.

Learn more about how your company can integrate the ZTAA business model into your system by requesting a free demo with Axis Security today!