Installing network connectivity at a new branch office used to be a time-consuming process. It might take weeks, or even months, to establish multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) pathways, and a network professional would need to be on-site to ensure that all devices were correctly configured. Today, network virtualization has streamlined gaining connectivity at the branch office, and security is getting a new approach, thanks to Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).
Virtualization Expanded Through SD-WAN
A major step forward for enterprises with multiple locations occurred with the introduction of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). This virtualized approach to connectivity made it easier for companies to add a branch office to configure devices and provision resources from headquarters. A branch office could be brought online by simply plugging in an SD-WAN device, and all troubleshooting could be handled by a network team utilizing a centralized dashboard for improved visibility and control.
This approach has been popular because it offers the ability to choose from various delivery options, including broadband Internet and other more cost-effective pathways than MPLS. SD-WAN also allows for traffic optimization policies to be put in place, as well as better bandwidth management.
The drawback of SD-WAN is that it, like all cloud technologies, significantly broadens the security plane of any organization utilizing it. With the network perimeter all but vanishing, companies need a new approach to security.
The Benefits of ZTNA
ZTNA is not a specific solution, nor is it a concrete set of policies. It is more of a security approach that can be applied across your organization. While the traditional security mindset has been to assume that devices and users are trustworthy until proven otherwise, ZTNA takes the opposite angle and assumes all users and devices are suspect.
ZTNA uses a combination of elements to secure the network while providing a consistent work experience from wherever your employees choose to access network resources. It begins with multi-factor authentication, requiring each user to produce not just a password but at least a two-step authentication that may include a code being sent to their smartphone or a biometric passcode.
ZTNA also uses the philosophy of role-based access, providing the least access necessary to each employee. They are able to utilize the resources to complete their tasks and nothing more.
ZTNA also combines a number of technologies, including Secure Web Gateway, next-generation firewall, cloud access security broker, and SD-WAN, to create a comprehensive security policy. It is often used as part of a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution to carry security to the edge, where data collection, computing, and processing are concentrated.
Contact us at ITBroker.com to learn more about connectivity at the branch office and how ZTNA might be the right security approach for your business moving forward.