Protect Your Castle with Zero Trust Network Access

All too often, bad actors access sensitive data through unsecured VPNs. Learn how Zero Trust Network Access can help.

In a legacy ‘castle and moat’ security architecture, where a network (the moat) protects the office and datacenter (the castle), a traditional virtual private network (VPN) essentially acts as the drawbridge that grants entry to remote workers with a simple passcode. That passcode becomes the proverbial “key to the castle,” allowing a user access to all kinds of sensitive data found inside your network. Complicating matters further, networks are often not well segmented, so users have the freedom to move laterally once inside, increasing their ability to access multiple sensitive data sources.

All is well when an authorized user can access the network and use required data to be productive in their role. But what about when a bad actor uses a VPN to gain unfettered access to a corporate network? VPN hacks are becoming more frequent, exploiting vulnerabilities attackers use to gain access to sensitive data.¹ This can let them essentially walk a trojan horse right into your castle by taking advantage of these vulnerabilities.

So, how do you protect against unauthorized access? Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) helps mitigate the risks associated with outdated security models that use VPNs to connect remote users to data sources within a network. ZTNA is a modern remote access solution built on the principles of Zero Trust, providing users direct access to private applications hosted in cloud environments and datacenters. Instead of getting the “key to the castle” with a VPN passcode, authenticated users are given direct access to applications they are specifically authorized to use without ever needing to get on a corporate network.

Let’s dig a little deeper here and talk about the top five benefits of adopting Zero Trust Network Access:

    1. Minimizes Your Attack Surface

In a traditional security architecture, many factors can increase your attack surface, including VPNs, networks that lack segmentation and access points to the public internet and your network. When you implement ZTNA, users won’t need to utilize VPNs or enter your network to use the apps, limiting their access to data to just what they require for their role and, in the process, reducing the attack surface.

    1. Improves User Experience

With VPN login protocols and the time it takes to relay (or “hairpin”) remote user traffic back through a network, the user experience is often slow and cumbersome. With Zero Trust Network Access, you can bypass complex network routing and replace it with fast, frictionless connectivity to applications, improving the experience for your users and resulting in higher productivity.

    1. Protects Sensitive Data

With Zero Trust Network Access, all user traffic and data-in-motion between users and applications are passed through a security private cloud network that provides you full visibility to traffic. You can now use your access policies to manage traffic in real time, protecting against data loss and mitigating malware and threats.

    1. Reduces Insider Risk

With Netskope’s User Entity and Behavior Analytics (EUBA), you can pinpoint users with suspicious data usage, activities and behavior anomalies so you can identify and protect against insider bad actors. Also, with Netskope’s robust data loss prevention engine, you can detect sensitive data exfiltration and implement policy to better protect your organization from data breaches.

    1. Simplifies Operations

ZTNA eliminates the need for the complex management of VPN networking, while also supporting your organization’s digital transformation to hybrid cloud by delivering seamless access to multiple private cloud environments. And in company mergers and acquisitions, ZTNA can help you provide new users day-one access to the internal resources without the complexity of combining networks.

As data breaches related to VPN and network vulnerabilities increase, the adoption of Zero Trust Network Access is projected to see incredible growth in the coming years. According to Security Magazine, “ZTNA is forecast to grow 36% in 2022 and 31% in 2023, driven by the increased demand for zero trust protection for remote workers and organizations’ reducing dependence on VPNs for secure access. As organizations become familiar with ZTNA, there is a growing trend to use it not only for remote working use cases, but also for workers in the office.”²

Dell SafeData, powered by Netskope, offers a leading ZTNA solution. For more information, view our datasheet and speak with your Dell sales rep for a free test drive.

Dell and Netskope’s platform offers simplicity of management with an on-client agent, one policy engine and a single management console, also tying in other critical Security Service Edge (SSE) solutions, such as Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Secure Web Gateway (SWG) and Cloud Firewall. To learn more about other Security Service Edge (SSE) solutions, view our recent blog to see how they may help improve your organization’s security posture.

1 Wired Magazine, April 25, 2021, VPN Hacks Are a Slow-motion Disaster.

2 Security Magazine, October 19, 2022, Zero Trust, Remote Work and Cloud Lead to Higher Cybersecurity Spending.

Jocelynn Thompson

About the Author: Jocelynn Thompson

Jocelynn Thompson is a Product Manager at Dell Technologies supporting Security and Manageability, focusing on cloud security and unified endpoint management solutions. Her mission is to deliver best-in-class Security Service Edge products to better protect businesses from increasingly sophisticated data breaches by enabling Zero Trust security principles. Prior to this role, Jocelynn served as a Strategic Programs Manager focused on cybersecurity solutions from Dell partners such as VMware, Secureworks, Absolute and Netskope. Jocelynn originally joined Dell Technologies in 2009.