What is Zero Trust Network Architecture (ZTNA)?

Zero Trust is a term coined by John Kindervag while he was an analyst at Forrester Research to describe a strategic framework in which nothing on the network is trusted by default – not devices, not end users, not processes. Everything must be authenticated, authorized, verified and continuously monitored.

The traditional approach to security was based on the concept of “trust, but verify.” The weakness of this approach is that once someone was authenticated, they were considered trusted and could move laterally to access sensitive data and systems that should have been off-limits.

Zero Trust principles change this to “never trust, always verify.” A Zero Trust architecture doesn’t aim to make a system trusted or secure, but rather to eliminate the concept of trust altogether. Zero Trust security models assume that an attacker is present in the environment at all times. Trust is never granted unconditionally or permanently, but must be continually evaluated.

The development of a Zero Trust approach is a response to the traditional methods of how enterprise assets, resources and data were accessed over the years. In the early days of computing, companies were able to protect their data through the use of firewalls and other security technologies that set up a “secure perimeter” around the data. Much like a castle wall in medieval times, these technologies helped protect what was inside (for the most part).

But the perimeter soon changed, as employees, contractors, and business partners began working remotely – accessing resources via

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