The Case for Adopting Zero Trust in Cybersecurity

As data breaches and cyber-attacks become increasingly common, organizations need to rethink their approach to securing sensitive data and assets. The traditional castle-and-moat model focused on perimeter defense has proven inadequate. No matter how tall the walls around a network, if the perimeter is breached the unprotected assets inside become vulnerable. This is the reason why Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) represents the future of cybersecurity.

What is Zero Trust Network Access?

The experts over at Hillstone Network tell us that Zero Trust is centered on the concept that no user or device should inherently be trusted. ZTNA builds on this idea by controlling access to applications and data based on dynamic policy enforcement. This assumes breach and verifies each request to connect to applications and data as though the user/device is already compromised. Access decisions utilize contextual data like user identity, device health, behavior analytics, IP address reputation, and even biometrics. The depth of criteria considered is infinitely wider than legacy VPNs or firewall rules. 

Evolving from VPNs and ACLs

Many organizations currently use VPNs or access control lists for connectivity. VPNs grant wide network access to trusted devices/users to enable access to applications and data wherever they are located inside the network perimeter. Nonetheless, with ZTNA, access to individual applications and data is controlled at a granular level versus blanket access to an entire network. Similarly, access control lists that statically allow connections based on IP addresses and ports do not provide adequate protection or context. ZTNA strengthens security by using modern identity, device, and even risk scoring factors before allowing access.

Key Capabilities and Benefits

Some of the key benefits ZTNA provides over legacy network security models include:

  • Highly granular access control policies – Context-based decisions enable precise allow/deny control over each access request rather than broad unilateral network access.
  • Severely limit lateral movement – Access is restricted to only the specific resources explicitly granted per policy, blocking pivots through the network.  
  • Greatly reduce the attack surface – No open inbound ports listening for connections, no IP addresses exposed externally to attackers to target.
  • Secure unified access anywhere – Consistent identity and context based control of access no matter whether users/devices connect from corporate networks, home networks, or the public internet.  
  • Improved user experience – Fast, secure application access without traditional VPN complexity, bottlenecks, or availability issues.
  • Consolidation and simplification – Converging disparate security controls into a unified ZTNA platform enables centralized policies, reduces tool sprawl, and strengthens context with shared telemetry.
  • Continuous compliance readiness – Granular logging of all access requests granted or denied enables efficient auditing and incident investigation.  

Implementing a Zero Trust Strategy

Transitioning to a Zero Trust security model using ZTNA may seem intimidating initially. However, it does not require a wholesale rip-and-replace of all legacy architectures right away. Organizations can adopt ZTNA incrementally by starting with an application migration approach focused on protecting access to the most sensitive business applications and data first. As proofs-of-concept demonstrate quantifiable value, usage can systematically expand until Zero Trust controls all access.


No organization can ignore the realities of today’s escalating threat landscape. Networks focusing solely on the perimeter inevitably leave unacceptable gaps that attackers will find and exploit. Zero Trust Network Access closes these gaps by assuming breach and verifying all requests to connect to applications and data. While changes may be required to policies, processes, technologies and even staff skill sets, the significantly upgraded security posture ZTNA delivers far outweighs the transitional costs and effort. The time is now for cybersecurity leaders to confidently move towards a Zero Trust future.

Similar Articles

Trending Post

.td-module-comments{ display:none; }