Goodbye VPNs – Hello Zero Trust Network Access

December 3, 2020

Virtual private networks (VPN) are very standard these days. But they are riddled with vulnerabilities – and subject to a “man in the middle attack.” They have wreaked havoc in 2020 in a work-from-home environment.

Enter zero trust network access (ZTNA).

An October 2020 Forrester study (commissioned by Cloudflare) offered some key findings. 

Working from home compelled firms to transform how they operated in the cloud. However, 80% of the IT decision-makers interviewed said their companies were unprepared to make the transformation. Existing IT practices made it difficult to support employee productivity without security compromises.

As a result, 76% of the decision-makers said their firms intend to accelerate their shift to the Zero Trust security framework. More than three-quarters (76%) of decision-makers polled said their companies’ security practices were “antiquated” and needed to shift towards Zero Trust Network Access.

The report found that 82% of the firms said they were “committed” to migrating to a Zero Trust security architecture. To achieve this goal, close to half (49%) of the firms elevated the role of CISO to board visibility while 39% had a Zero Trust oriented pilot for 2020.

The migration towards Zero Trust faces various challenges, with 76% of the firms identifying Identity and Access Management (IAM) as the major challenge.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Zero Trust security model, it allows remote workers to access applications through a secure web-based gateway. The solution implements least-privilege principles and supports multi-factor authentication (MFA) and device security checks. Unlike a VPN infrastructure, Zero Trust is highly scalable, more affordable, and easily integrates with various single sign-on (SSO) platforms already available in the marketplace. It also permits the configuration of access control policies to manage permissions based on users’ privileges and devices.

More than half of all businesses have experienced data breaches (58%) or increased phishing attempts (55%) during COVID-19. Ransomware attacks affected 29% of the respondents.

Infrastructure outages and VPN connection latency issues disconnected 33% and 46% of workers, respectively.

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