3 Tips for Getting Your ZTNA Project Funded

Most IT experts embrace the idea of ​​the zero trust security model. Almost everyone agrees that the zero-trust principles of continuously verifying users and devices, creating small zones of control, and granting minimal access to users and devices improve the security of an organization.

In fact, a recent fortnite survey confirmed that organizations understand the benefits of zero trust. Respondents rated “security across the digital attack surface,” closely followed by “improved user experience for remote work (vpn)” as the two most significant benefits of zero trust.

Access to the Zero Trust network (ZTNA) is the evolution of VPN remote access, bringing the zero-trust model to application access. Simplifies secure remote connectivity with seamless application access no matter where the user or application is located.

Zero trust sounds great, so why isn’t everyone doing it? Not surprisingly, the biggest factors slowing ZTNA adoption come down to money, internal politics, and time.

Budget constraints often delay the adoption of new technologies. In this case, an organization could roll back ZTNA because their current VPN solutions are “good enough.” If what you have is working to some degree, it makes it easier to put off funding a new remote access option, no matter how better it is.

Organizational hierarchies, politics, and silos can be another reason why ZTNA implementation falls by the wayside. Many of the perceived benefits of ZTNA fall on the security operations center (SOC) side of the organization, while remote access and VPN ownership are typically on the network side. Depending on your organization chart, the VP of Infrastructure may be in charge of implementing a ZTNA project, although the CISO is the person who cares most about the security and risk reduction benefits that ZTNA brings. We have seen this same difficulty with the implementation of insurance SD WAN solution, where the network team cares about the networking benefits that SD-WAN brings to the table, but implementing the solution requires a very deep look at your security infrastructure and strategy to support it.

The ZTNA implementation itself can also be a hurdle. Depending on the solution, the requirements to enable ZTNA can be significant. Some cloud-based ZTNA solutions require significant changes to how the organization is structured and how applications are presented. TO firewall-based The customer-initiated ZTNA solution, on the other hand, works whether users access cloud-based or on-premises resources, so the ZTNA experience is seamless. Users launch the application they want to access, and a client-based agent works in the background to connect securely. From an IT standpoint, firewall-based solutions simplify ZTNA implementation because changes can be incorporated incrementally without disrupting users.

Get your project financed

Although all of these problems may seem overwhelming, they are not insurmountable. The trick is how ZTNA is presented. Here are three tips to improve the chances of your ZTNA project being funded.

1. Address concerns early

In sales, there is a tendency to assume that everyone makes purchasing decisions based on cost and that the lowest price always wins. But that’s not necessarily the case with technology. Many decisions come down to one fundamental question: “Can we implement it successfully?” Understaffed organizations that are already overwhelmed with projects may despairingly look to ZTNA as another thing they have to do to work within an already complex network environment. In fact, in the Fortinet Zero Trust Survey, more than 80% of respondents felt that implementing a zero-trust strategy across an extended network was not going to be easy. The majority (60%) reported that it would be moderate or very difficult, and another 21% said it would be extremely hard.

These concerns are certainly valid. The first step is to research and find a solution that is integrated by design, so that it is easier to implement, configure, and maintain. Taking a piecemeal approach to zero trust can leave security gaps and can be costly and cumbersome to manage. But with tightly integrated products, it’s easier to identify and classify all users and devices seeking network and application access, assess their compliance status with internal security policies, automatically assign them to control zones, and monitor them continuously. both on and off the grid.

The user experience with ZTNA is also better than with a VPN. Explaining that ZTNA can actually save staff time and make remote users more productive can go a long way toward getting the project funded.

2. Focus on hybrid work

If your organization is looking to have a hybrid workforce that spends part of their time in the office and part of it working remotely, this is the perfect justification for ZTNA. By design, ZTNA provides the same security no matter where someone is, making “work from anywhere” a reality.

IT departments struggling for funding can get around budget shortfalls by pitching ZTNA as a solution for the new hybrid workforce scenario. Because hybrid work is a recognized need for organizations, they can take advantage of that program as a means of securing ZTNA funding.

3. Plan the transition

The move to ZTNA must be done carefully and deliberately, so that it does not jeopardize employee productivity or innovation. The solution you select can have a big impact on your deployment, so choose wisely. Some ZTNA agents are completely separate from the existing solution, such as a VPN. It’s much easier if you have the same agent for both VPN and ZTNA because it simplifies deployment. The organization can use its existing VPN technology and transition to ZTNA in a very controlled and measured way by doing it one application or one part of the organization at a time.

partner for success

With any IT project, you never want to take services offline and upset users who can’t do their jobs, so your solution options are critical. Working with the right provider helps you justify financing and ensure the success of your ZTNA project. The old saying that you have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run applies here. Ideally, you want a solution that allows you to implement and deploy ZTNA in a secure and controlled manner so that the organization can continue to operate at full capacity during the transition.

Find out how Fortinet Zero Trust Access framework allows organizations to identify, authenticate and monitor users and devices inside and outside the network.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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