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ZTNA, It’s Not Just a Remote Access Thing Anymore…

Over the past 28 months, two significant events happened which will change the way we build our IT networks.  First, obviously, the pandemic.  March 2020 caused the workers of the world to move their office cubes to their basements, bedrooms or even the family kitchen table.  Remote work became essential for the economy to function.  To facilitate access, we saw mass adoption of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) technologies which do not require heritage based solutions like IPSec VPNs.  This greatly improved network security as the connection became between the end user device and the application directly vs connecting to an entire corporate network which opened the enterprise to cyber threats like ransomware.  

Secondly, was the executive order US President Joe Biden signed on May 21st 2021.  With the stroke of a pen, the Office of Management and Budget mandated federal agencies adopt a ZTNA strategy by the end of fiscal year 2024.  The impact of this order will cascade from government institutions and roll across to the general public as well.  Section 3 of the order specifically calls out organizations which supply the Federal Government to “ to modernize [their] approach to cybersecurity” by accelerating the move to secure cloud services and implementing a Zero Trust architecture.”  

These are seminal events.  Together they will lead to a greater series of changes over the next 5 years for how IT departments build, operate and secure their LANs, WANs, Remote Access Networks as well as Data Center Networks. How?  

ZTNA Anywhere

One area the SSE Forum, of which I am a co-host for, recently discussed was campus networks.  Based on a research article by Gartner Analyst, Andrew Lerner, the SSE Forum debated how Zero Trust and remote work can also change the way we build campus and branch networks.  My co-host, Jaye Tillson, and I recently sat down and did a LinkedIn Live event on this topic.  Together we covered the seven items below:

1. The evolution of the campus networks

2. Technologies created to secure networks

3. Zero Trust and networking 

4. The operational burden of supporting a technology for remote work and a technology for securing the campus network

5. Challenges with returning the workforce to the campus LAN after 28 months

6. How to align your remote work solution with the campus LAN

7. The future of the WAN and Zero Trust

You can watch the recorded event here.

In summary, zero trust will transform how enterprises build networks over the next five years.  Zero Trust will become an essential component for the LAN, the WAN and the Data Center.  Trust must be removed from the side of the firewall which says “Trusted”.  Doing so will require the network engineer to transform the way they architect, design, build and operate their technologies.  It is a time of great opportunity.  So, if you are network engineer, get excited.  This will be your golden hour, your heyday!  

Want to learn more about ZTNA ? Download the Definitive Guide to ZTNA Adoption to get in-depth guidance on how you can move forward with a Modern Day ZTNA solution.

About the Author

John Spiegel
John Spiegel

Director of Strategy

John Spiegel has 25 years of experience running global networks and managing infrastructure. He is an industry pioneer in software defined networking (SDN) and software defined WANs (SD-WAN). John has spoken on the topic network transformation at industry conferences such as Gartner, InterOp, VMWorld, Palo Alto Networks Ignite as well as executive roundtable discussions. He has also been a customer advisor to companies like VMware, Palo Alto Networks and Cisco Systems. Disruptive startups have also leveraged John’s knowledge to bring products to market resulting in successful exits. When not helping companies on their journey to modernize and secure their networks, John can be found cycling on the backroads of Oregon.

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