The rapidly expanding threat landscape

2021 marked the fifth consecutive year of record-breaking security attacks. Zero-Day attacks skyrocketed, with 66 exploits found to be in use, more than any other year on record and almost double 2020’s figure. Meanwhile, a staggering 66% of organizations have suffered at least one ransomware attack in the last year, with the average ransom payment soaring by 63% to $1.79 million (USD).

However, in today’s multi-cloud environment, it’s clear that the traditional castle-and-moat approach to security is no longer fit for purpose. Now, security measures must meet users and applications where they are, which is often outside the perimeter. Failure to do so can result in allowing malicious threat actors inside the perimeter wall. And they’ll therefore have full access to your most valuable assets.

ZTNA Solutions: never trust, always verify

Now, forward-thinking Infrastructure & Operations (I&O) leaders are taking a different approach to security, one of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), where every machine, user, IP address, and server is untrusted until proven otherwise.

As part of a broader network security, ZTNA solutions are based on identity verification over the lifetime of the connection. This architecture presumes no perimeter and that every user and device is equally untrusted. It is configured to deliver ‘policy at the point of need’, where users can only access applications and services they need, based on how and where they’re accessing the network. The solution then consistently monitors user behavior, and traffic flows to protect the network.

With ZTNA solutions, attackers can no longer exploit weaknesses in your perimeter and then exploit your sensitive data and applications because they made it inside the moat. Because now there is no moat. There are simply applications and users, each of which must mutually authenticate and verify authorization before access can occur.

How can ZTNA solutions go wrong?

For ZTNA solutions to succeed, I&O leaders must think about security differently: taking a user- and application-centric approach. This involves carefully considering the business processes and policies it supports.

Having worked with countless businesses to help them adopt ZTNA solutions, we’ve often found that there are three key areas where things often go wrong:

1 – Leading with technology

Adopting a ZTNA solution requires a shift in thinking. Where many businesses fail is that they think about the technology first, whereas, they need to develop the strategy first. It’s all about process and mindset. This must be approached from ‘inside the network out’ vs. ‘outside in’.

2 – Dealing with legacy systems

Achieving ZTNA is not straightforward and won’t be an overnight accomplishment. This is especially true if a business has legacy security systems in place as they often don’t transition well to new architectures.​

3 – Ongoing effort required

Organizations need to understand upfront that ZTNA will require an ongoing effort and that certain aspects may prove more challenging than others.

For example, in a modern network environment, changes are happening daily. And they need to be appropriately configured with changing IP address data and updated policies to ensure there’s no interruption in service access for employees or corporate transactions. Otherwise, businesses are at risk of serious downtime.

Failure to get these things right could mean you end up with:

  • Systems that aren’t set up correctly, leaving holes in your cyber defense
  • Users unable to access applications to be able to do their jobs, impacting mobility
  • Users opening corporate assets to security risks in order to access systems, leaving data and systems exposed
  • Additional complexity from adding extra layers of technology
  • Deploying technology that doesn’t integrate with current or planned infrastructure

The impact of the IT Skills Shortage and rising security workload

The challenges of implementing ZTNA are compounded further by the widely acknowledged cybersecurity skills gap. This has resulted in many organizations finding it increasingly difficult to recruit talent. And that’s not to mention The Great Resignation – which 8 in 10 digital leaders report is making retention even more difficult.

Without the required people resource, and experience businesses can set themselves up for failure before they even get started. Even if they have the best technologies in place.

How can Teneo help?

Teneo’s Zero Trust Network Access service is designed for I&O teams that want to ensure their Zero Trust Network Access solution is deployed and consistently managed to best practice throughout its lifecycle.

The service provides monitoring and regular reviews of policy usage and effectiveness, network changes and new applications. With the visibility gained through full logging and behavioral analytics, we’re able to report on those insights. And we’ll provide recommendations for change to help you stay ahead of modern-day hackers and threats.

In partnering with Teneo, you’ll benefit from a highly sophisticated set of Zero Trust Network Access controls. All without the need for heavy investment in internal resources or ongoing training. And you’ll reduce the risk from attack while delivering applications to users whenever and wherever they need them – securely.

Find out more about Teneo’s WFA: Zero Trust Network Access service.