12th January, 2023 4 Min read
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Properly implemented, a zero trust architecture provides much more granular and effective security than legacy security models. However, this is only true if a zero trust initiative is supported with the right tools. Legacy solutions, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), lack the capabilities necessary to implement a zero trust security strategy.
Castle-and-moat security models were common in the past, but they are ineffective at protecting the modern network. Some of the primary limitations of perimeter-focused security models include:
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The zero trust security model was designed to address the limitations of these legacy security models. Under the zero trust model, all access requests are evaluated independently against least privilege access controls. If a user successfully authenticates, their session is monitored for suspicious or risky activity, enabling potential threats to be shut down early.
94% of companies are in the process of implementing zero trust, making it one of the most common cybersecurity initiatives. Some of the drivers of zero-trust include:
Zero trust overcomes the problems of legacy, perimeter-focused security models. As corporate IT environments expand, cyber threats mature, and regulatory requirements become stricter, it will be a vital part of a mature security policy.
The rise of remote and hybrid work has made secure remote access a vital capability for many organizations. VPNs are a well-established remote access solution, and many organizations turned to them to support their remote employees.
However, while VPNs offer employees secure remote access to the corporate network, they fail to provide crucial capabilities for a zero trust deployment. Some of the ways in which VPNs fall short include:
Two of the foundational concepts of zero trust security are access control and monitoring for security issues during an authenticated user’s session. VPNs provide neither of these key capabilities, and their performance and scalability limitations mean that users may attempt to evade or bypass defenses to improve performance and productivity. While zero trust is rapidly becoming essential for corporate cybersecurity, VPNs are ill-suited to implementing a zero trust architecture.
These two essential capabilities of zero trust — access control and session security monitoring — are the reason why Security Service Edge (SSE) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) are ideal for implementing a corporate zero trust program. SASE solutions include zero trust network access (ZTNA) functionality, which provides the ability to enforce least privilege access controls across the corporate WAN.
Alongside ZTNA, SSE and SASE solutions also offer a range of key security functions, including Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), an intrusion prevention system (IPS), a secure web gateway (SWG), and a cloud access security broker (CASB). Converging security functions with access control makes SASE an all-in-one solution for zero trust.
SASE’s design can also eliminate the network performance impacts of security. Deployed as a cloud-native solution on a global network of points of presence (PoPs), SASE can inspect traffic at the nearest PoP before optimally routing it to its destination. Cloud-native design ensures that converged security has the resources required to perform vital security functions without incurring latency.
To learn more about how a cutting-edge SASE solution can support your organization’s zero trust security goals, sign up for a free demo.
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