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Identity & Access Management and ZTNA – Best Buddies

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Posted on September 1, 2021

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I love Gartner’s Quick Answers reports. As the name implies, they are a quick read – typically about five pages in length – and cover a topic that has been the subject of numerous recent client Inquiries into Gartner. When the Inquiries on a subject pile up, get ready for a Quick Answers report so the insights can be shared with a large number of their clients. The most recent subject? How organizations should be thinking about the interactions and dependencies between Identity & Access Management (IAM) and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) as they implement Zero Trust security controls.

As Gartner recently noted, the number of inquiries they have received on ZTNA, which can be thought of as a simpler and more secure next gen VPN, have doubled over the last year. Those that have investigated the advantages of ZTNA quickly discover that to get the most out of the solution, they need to have a solid IAM solution in place. To get the maximum benefit out of ZTNA, an organization wants to be able to set granular access policies that limit each individual user’s access to only the specific applications, data, and IT resources they truly need to do their jobs. As a result, a successful ZTNA program initially starts with an accurate assessment of Identity and a solid IAM tool.

The Quick Answer: How Do Access Management and Zero Trust Network Access Tools Work Together? highlights the inextricable link between the two technologies (IAM and ZTNA). Knowing how important a robust IAM solution (e.g. one that includes multi-factor authentication – MFA) was to a secure ZTNA deployment, we made the strategic product design decision to include it as a core part of our ZTEdge Zero Trust Security platform. That’s right – ZTEdge customers do not need to invest in a separate costly identity solution like Okta or Ping Identity to get a fully IAM-enabled ZTNA solution.

ZTEdge IAM serves as the core authentication platform for the ZTEdge platform and can also act as an organization’s universal directory. Of course, if a company has invested in another SAML-supported directory or uses Active Directory, ZTEdge can broker authentication requests with those solutions. Additionally, ZTEdge IAM enables SSO for SaaS applications.

The ZTEdge ZTNA solution includes a unique patent-pending technology called Automatic Policy Builder that leverages ZTEdge IAM (or 3rd party IAM services). As the name implies, Automatic Policy Builder allows IT Admins to build granular per-user access policies, automatically. This unique capability frees up IT staff development time and makes policies easy to create, maintain, and monitor. AI-enabled analysis and alerts are available to support ongoing tuning of policies to improve an organization’s network security posture.
It is hard to think of two capabilities that are needed more by each other than IAM and ZTNA. Building Identity directly into the ZTEdge platform was one of many great calls made by our ZTEdge Product organization. We’ve been hearing this loud and clear from our customers and partners, and I am sure this will continue to be a consistent theme going forward.

Read more about ZTNA, and how it is a significant upgrade from VPN-based technologies, here.


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About Gerry Grealish

Gerry Grealish, ZTEdge CMO, is a security industry veteran, bringing over 20 years of marketing and product experience in cybersecurity, cloud, analytics, and related technologies. Responsible for marketing and business development, Gerry previously was at Symantec, where he led the product marketing and go-to-market activities for the company’s broad Network Security portfolio. Prior to Symantec, Gerry was at Blue Coat, which he joined as part of Blue Coat’s acquisition of venture-backed Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) innovator, Perspecsys, where he was Chief Marketing Officer.

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