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Zero Trust is an IT security approach that allows organizations to provide secure access to users inside and outside of their networks through defined access control policies. This security concept is built on the premise that companies must verify anything trying to connect to their systems before granting access permissions. 

Zero Trust provides modern organizations with a new security model to handle the complexity of cloud adoption, remote working and rapid digital transformation. The framework protects people, devices, applications and data no matter where they are. 

Well-designed Zero Trust solutions help you implement access management to reduce your attack surface, limit access to sensitive data and assess risk continuously. It plays a critical role in securing an organization's digital assets and preventing data breaches. 

A Zero Trust solution consists of many components. Selecting the best solution to meet your organization's unique circumstances and requirements can be daunting. 

Here are criteria to consider when choosing a Zero Trust solution. We'll also discuss the four key control points and compare top Zero Trust solutions. 

What to look for in a Zero Trust security solution 

The Zero Trust approach leverages existing technologies and governance processes to secure an enterprise IT environment. It employs techniques like micro-segmentation and granular perimeter enforcement based on users' identities, locations and other criteria to grant a user, machine or application access to a specific part of the network.  

Technologies commonly used in a Zero Trust solution include multifactor authentication (MFA), identity & access management (IAM), orchestration, analytics, encryption, scoring, and file system permissions. Here's what you should look for: 

Key capabilities of a Zero Trust architecture 

The following capabilities form the basis on which you can establish an identity-based access management system: 

  • Identity-based schema: Give digital identities to people and devices in the network, which is the foundation for setting up least-privileged access.
  • Resource secure access: Subject all business access requests to full traffic encryption and mandatory authorization.
  • Continuous trust evaluation: Assess the context environment of access, identify abnormal behaviors and adjust trust evaluation results simultaneously.
  • Adaptive access control: Perform real-time intervention of access rights when risks exist within the context of access.

The basic principles of a Zero Trust architecture 

A Zero Trust solution must support these principles: 

  • The principle of comprehensive identity: Identify all subjects requesting access. These including people, devices and applications.
  • The principle of application-level control: Grant access on the application layer instead of the network layer.
  • The principle of closed-loop security: Determine trust level based on an access subject's attributes, behaviors and context.
  • The principle of business aggregation: Design an architecture for real-life business scenarios and security conditions.
  • The principle of multi-scenario coverage: Support scalability and provide universal security capabilities in various business scenarios.
  • The principle of component interactivity: Ensure that different components can adjust to each other to form a cohesive whole and create a secure closed loop.

Core components of a Zero Trust architecture 

To support the core logic of a Zero Trust architecture, you'll need the following components in a solution: 

  • Trusted proxy: Acts as the first gateway to resource secure access and a policy execution point for adaptive access management on the data plane.
  • Adaptive access control engine: Links with the trusted proxy to authenticate and dynamically authorize all access requests.
  • Trust evaluation engine: Uses log reports from the trusted proxy and the adaptive access control engine to execute trust level assessment, which informs authorization decisions.
  • Identity security infrastructure: Includes the functional components of identity and authority management to support tracking analysis of authorization policies.

Four key control points in a Zero Trust architecture 

Zero Trust is a multi-faceted approach to security. It addresses the confidentiality, integrity and availability of digital assets. A Zero Trust solution must consider these four control points

1. Endpoints  

Select a modern authentication solution to enable trusted app access. It should simplify and centralize access management to all applications, APIs and data no matter where the users or the apps are located. 

2. Network infrastructure  

Use a secure sockets layer (SSL) visibility solution to provide robust encryption and decryption of inbound and outbound traffic. It should offer policy-based orchestration to eliminate blind spots and enable cost-effective visibility across the entire security chain. 

3. Applications  

The application-layer security should provide protection at or near the applications, whether they're in the cloud, on-premises, SaaS-based or fully managed. It should also prevent unauthorized access to user accounts and safeguard the apps against API attacks. 

4. Identity service 

To bridge the identity gap between SaaS, cloud-based and custom applications, you can integrate trusted app access solutions with Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) capabilities to deliver a unified and secure user experience. 

Top Zero Trust solutions comparison 

There are many Zero Trust solutions on the market. Which one is right for you? 

Here are the top options recommended by our Zero Trust experts. Evaluate these solutions by exploring them in our on-demand labs. See how to use these solutions to minimize exploitable footprint, augment or replace traditional remote access scenarios with the Zero Trust approach, and implement granular access controls and real-time access changes. 

Palo Alto GlobalProtect 

GlobalProtect helps organizations implement granular policies to restrict or allow access based on business needs. You can enforce precise access control according to the compliance state of each device and user. 

The solution extends consistent security from Prisma Access and Next Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) to all users and devices, no matter where they are. It allows organizations to effectively manage the complexity, reduce the risk of breach and improve the user experience to support a work-from-anywhere workforce. 

GlobalProtect allows you to extend your security policies to inspect all incoming and outgoing traffic. It enables transparent access to sensitive data and eliminates blind spots in mobile workforce traffic by providing full visibility across all network traffic, applications, ports and protocols. 

You can simplify remote access management with identity-aware authentication and assess devices' security posture before allowing them to connect to the network. GlobalProtect helps implement security controls and inspection across all mobile application traffic, no matter how and from where users are accessing the network. 

Explore our on-demand lab to see GlobalProtect in action

Cisco Duo 

Duo delivers unified access security and MFA through the cloud. It verifies users' identities and devices' health before granting them access to applications. 

The solution integrates with Cisco's network, device and cloud security platforms, allowing existing Cisco customers to easily and securely connect users to any applications via any network device. It offers a comprehensive approach to securing an entire IT ecosystem by ensuring that only the right users and secure devices can access data and applications. 

Duo offers a broad range of capabilities to support secure access. These include MFA, remote access management, device trust assessment, adaptive access policies and single sign-on (SSO.)  

The solution helps streamline the user experience to balance security and productivity. You can enforce user, device or application-specific policies to meet your organization's security requirements. It helps you protect a diverse workforce and support remote work in today's digital business environment. 

Explore our on-demand lab to see Cisco Duo in action


More than 400 of the Forbes Global 2000 companies use Zscaler's Security-as-a-Service delivered through a purpose-built, globally distributed platform. 

Zscaler Private Access (ZPA) is a cloud service that provides seamless Zero Trust access to private applications that run on the public cloud or within a data center. Since the applications aren't exposed to the internet, they remain invisible to unauthorized users. The solution disrupts legacy approaches to remote access by establishing per-service dynamic encryption and trust evaluation. 

Zscaler enables organizations to support the modern digital workplace, modernize IT infrastructure, simplify branch and cloud connectivity, and move from legacy security to a Zero Trust model. Companies can protect their sensitive data, stay compliant with fast-evolving regulations and deliver a streamlined employee experience. 

Based on the principle of least-privileged access, Zscaler provides comprehensive security using context-based identity and policy enforcement. It offers robust API integration with 80 leaders in identity, endpoint security, SD-WAN, and security operations to support fast and reliable deployments and easier ongoing operations. 

Explore our on-demand lab to see Zscaler in action


AppGate (formerly part of Cyxtera Cybersecurity) utilizes a software-defined perimeter (SDP) to apply Zero Trust principles for protecting applications, devices and data.  

This solution differs from many others on the market by providing full identity-based, instead of IP address-based, authentication for traffic with user-definable criteria. It can adjust entitlements dynamically as risk scores change in real-time and offer true least-privilege access with a smaller potential attack surface than most gateway tools. 

You can apply AppGate to protect on-premises, private cloud and/or public cloud resources via a single interface. Its risk-based authentication capabilities allow you to implement an intelligent and data-informed approach to authentication and minimize friction in the user experience. 

AppGate also offers a secure consumer access protection component that helps organizations safeguard user data and protect their reputation without impacting the customer experience. These capabilities include fraud protection, phishing protection, risk orchestration and mobile protection. 

Explore our on-demand lab to see AppGate in action

Implementing Zero Trust security in your organization 

While the Zero Trust approach offers many benefits, be aware of the various challenges you may encounter during the implementation process. 

Taking a piecemeal approach to Zero Trust implementation could lead to security gaps. Meanwhile, you may unintentionally create security lapses as you unwind a legacy solution. Enforcing a Zero Trust approach requires ongoing commitment and administration. You must keep permissions accurate and current as your company evolves. Additionally, you need to have the ability to lock down access without bringing workflows to a grinding halt.  

You can take a gradual approach to introduce Zero Trust, so you can avoid disrupting the continuity of your cybersecurity strategy. For example, you may start by enforcing stricter access controls to the most sensitive data and critical workflows with MFA, least-privileged access and session management.  

To navigate the complexity of implementing Zero Trust security and avoid the pitfalls, work with experts who have extensive experience implementing Zero Trust solutions.

See how WWT can help your company get the most out of Zero Trust.