As pandemic-weary workers start to filter back into the office, few of them are making the trip on a daily basis. Instead, companies are embracing hybrid and work-from-anywhere models with employees working at home, at a branch location, or anywhere they can find a reliable internet connection. Zero trust network access (ZTNA) and software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) will ensure they can gain access to a consistent work experience.
What Is Zero Trust Network Access? As a secure gatekeeper for access granted to remote users, this approach limits resources on a per-user and per-session basis. This is in contrast to the general network permissions granted through a traditional virtual private network (VPN). ZTNA provides improved visibility and management for network teams, with constant monitoring to determine whether anomalies are occurring in terms of resource utilization. IT can quickly determine if an area of the network has been compromised or if a user is logging into a solution at an unusual time. This approach is a great option for securing access to particular applications.
SD-WAN for Network Security: What ZTNA lacks is the general connectivity features that provide a consistent, high-performance user experience. This function is made possible through SD-WAN, a solution that many businesses are using to replace traditional WAN edge routers and multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) pathways. When SD-WAN was first introduced, it was valued for its application awareness, multiple pathway options, and WAN optimization.
This first version of SD-WAN did not offer enough security features, allowing for applications, workflows, and data to be exposed. There was some effort at bolting on security features, but these early options were simply not capable of keeping pace with dynamic connections.
The next iteration of SD-WAN added native security features, such as SSL inspection, sandboxing, and web filtering and offered direct connectivity for software as a service (SaaS) applications, application control, and connectivity. Many providers offer SD-WAN built into a secure platform, often called secure SD-WAN.
Zero Trust Network Access Combines With SD-WAN to Support Work From Home: Even that second generation of SD-WAN is not secure enough to meet the needs of the work-from-home model. To solve current challenges, integrated remote access must be included, relying on ZTNA instead of VPNs for an integrated, orchestrated solution. Companies considering SD-WAN should consider the inclusion of zero trust network access as a key differentiator between solutions.
The key with combining the technology is that it supports both the quality of experience and optimal security, adding in visibility that benefits network teams monitoring devices, applications, and users. With the integration into a single solution, it becomes much easier to control device sprawl and reduce overhead related to solution management.
This third generation of SD-WAN offers three key benefits:
· It employs zero trust network access to allow permission only to users who are entitled to access certain applications.
· ZTNA and native security features work to secure the network end to end.
· SD-WAN uses continual monitoring to ensure that connections are being optimized in order to offer high-quality user experiences.
If you would like to prepare your network for work-from-anywhere secure connectivity, contact us at eXemplify about zero trust network access with SD-WAN. Your business will be prepared with improved visibility and security without sacrificing performance.