Home Security The Difference Between Zero Trust, ZTA, and ZTNA

The Difference Between Zero Trust, ZTA, and ZTNA

In the initial stages of IT development, organizations used to share all network details with their employees and all the people involved in the company’s assets. However, with hacking becoming a norm, a Zero Trust policy was adopted with the view to provide restricted access to new employees or partners.

Through the Zero Trust policy, organizations are able to remove implicit trust from all computing infrastructure. Instead, trust levels are continuously calculated to allow access to a business’s IT resources. 

What is Zero Trust?

In order to compare the three, we must first go over the Zero Trust definition. Zero Trust is a policy in the IT industry whose main purpose is to protect the company’s information. The employees at any company are restricted to a certain area where they can work. Zero Trust allows organizations to recruit people from all regions and walks of life without opening themselves to any implicit or explicit security threats. 

A Zero Trust model implies that all the users and devices must be verified before working on an organization’s network. It is a combination of infrastructure, application access, and user identification to ensure a completely safe environment.

Why Use the Zero Trust Model?

Zero Trust models various benefits for its users. The following uses have been enumerated for you:

  • Visibility

As you work through a Zero Trust model, your activities remain hidden. Even if a person if a company is working with multiple organizations or networks, its identity will remain hidden. 

  • User verification

Since people keep moving from one job to another in the age of the pandemic, the Zero Trust model provides the best option for user identification. 

  • Traffic encryption

No matter how many sites a person accesses in a single day, the traffic will be encrypted over the internet. The Zero Trust model will make sure that all the activities are kept veiled as a company or organization carries out its daily tasks.

  • Network segmentation

The Zero Trust model divided the main network into smaller networks called network segmentation. It allows an organization to reduce its visibility and the traffic over each network is focused allowing the navigation of each user. 

Zero Trust Architecture

Zero Trust architecture is the security system based on the Zero Trust model. The Zero Trust architecture includes the following components:

  • End Points

The devices using an organization’s data are called endpoints. Each person trying to access the company’s network is properly analyzed before they are given access.

  • Data

The data streaming through a Zero Trust network is checked at each point. All the data is encrypted and verified through secure channels.

  • Apps

Real-time analytics is used to check the authenticity of app permissions and all the actions are closely monitored. 

  • Infrastructure 

Infrastructure means using tools such as telemetry to record the activities of employees to avoid a security breach. 

  • Network

All the devices and users are properly verified before entering the private cloud or the organization’s network. Microsegmentation and security threats are detected before allowing a user to enter a private network.

Why Use a ZTA?

Network security based on ZTA offers a protection model that combines security at every level. With a default “deny” setup, the possibility of a security breach is significantly reduced. The main security functions it offers include:

  • Use-based access

Network discovery is limited by making access contingent on user behaviour and risk exposure. This limits the potential for unknown users to gain entry into a private network.    

  • Insight into user activity

The diligent security setup of ZTA does not automatically approve any user. Each user and access point needs approval. This provides insight into all user activities and behaviours. 

  • Better break-out time

Minimizing risk exposure is only one facet of ZTA. The other is damage control and mitigation. ZTA minimizes damage by offering a greater break-out time that allows the shift to a secure network in the face of a possible breach.

  • Data segmentation

ZTA does not group data or networks together to limit exposure. Subdivisions help secure sensitive data farthest away from the attack surface. 

Zero Trust Network Access

Zero Trust Network Access is a safety protocol used to safeguard information through cloud-based networks.  It verifies all the user names and user devices before providing them a safe passage through a secure tunnel. 

  • Public cloud

A public cloud is a service that offers access to multiple companies at a time. Managed user devices can access the public cloud. The client’s information is saved in the managed device, and the client gains access to the device through a secure network by ZTNA and then provides access to the public cloud. Unmanaged devices cannot access public clouds.

  • Private cloud 

A private cloud offers network access to one company. It keeps the network safe from online attacks. Unmanaged device users are given access to the private cloud through an identification process and a safe tunnel provided by ZTNA to a data center or a private cloud.

  • Managed device user

For managed device users, the client is attached to the users’ device. The client then takes the information and transfers it to a ZTNA service. The Information is then routed to a public cloud through a secure tunnel provided by the ZTNA. Thus, a managed device is completely controlled by the client.

  • Unmanaged device user

For unmanaged devices, the ZTNA sends an authentication to access or application access through a browser. Once the unmanaged user has authentication access. A reverse proxy is used to send data for identity verification through an identity provider or SSO. Then the user is linked to the data center or the private cloud. An unmanaged device offers restricted access to browsers other than HTTP, SSH, RDP, and VNC. 

Why Use A ZTNA?

ZTNA offers granular security services for all types of companies. It protects a company’s as well as the employees’ information from malware. This is important as most organizations work for multiple companies using public clouds and software applications over a wide browser range. Its security structure includes: 

  • VPN alternative 

ZTNA offers a more secure alternative to VPN. While more traditionally used, VPNs allow full access past the network perimeter. ZTNA takes security one step further by restricting application access without authentication at every stage.

  • Access control

Cloud-based networks leave greater risk for a security breach. ZTNA bypasses this risk by tying security to the identity of cloud assets rather than the point of access.   

  • Remote access security

In the changing work environment, with remote work being the norm, network security by traditional methods has become more difficult. ZTNA provides secure access by extending security beyond the network.

  • Integration

Even without cloud-based networks, ZTNA offers integrative security. Rather than implementing separate security protocols for each private network, ZTNA can integrate them under a single system.


The main difference between Zero Trust, ZTA, and ZTNA is based on their role in the security process. Zero Trust is the main concept behind the security policies of an organization and refers to their way of thinking on not trusting anyone with the company’s data. ZTA or Zero Trust Architecture identifies the people and devices trying to get access to the data.

 ZTNA or Zero Text Network Access is the final practical application of the Zero Trust policy. It works on providing application access to the people using the company’s information. It provides a private space like a virtual private network but with better protection and viability. 

Albert Smithhttps://www.hiddenbrains.com/
Albert Smith is a digital marketing manager with Hidden Brains, a leading enterprise mobile & web development company in USA specializing in mobile & web applications, IoT, cloud and big data services. He provides innovative ways to help tech companies, startups and large enterprises build their brand.
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