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GigaOm Key Criteria for Evaluating Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA) Solutionsv3.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. ZTNA Sector Brief
  3. Decision Criteria Analysis
  4. Analyst’s Outlook
  5. About Chris Ray

1. Executive Summary

Secure remote access provides numerous benefits to organizations, making it an essential component of their business operations. One of the primary advantages is that it enables employees to work from home or any location outside the office while maintaining secure access to company resources.

This feature has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially with the rise of telecommuting and flexible work arrangements. Moreover, secure remote access ensures that employees have continuous access to critical data and applications needed for their work, even outside of regular working hours. This feature guarantees that employees can respond promptly to urgent requests and work on important projects without being constrained by geographical or time limitations.

In the past, virtual private networks (VPNs) have been the conventional means of achieving secure remote access. VPNs offered an alternative to exposing internal systems’ remote access protocols, such as SSH and RDP, to the internet, where unauthorized individuals could attempt to establish a connection. By implementing a VPN, organizations gained greater control over who could access these remote access protocols.

However, VPNs have limitations on the degree of control they offer because they often grant authorized users excessive access to internal networks and resources. Furthermore, VPNs do not account for the context in which legitimate users access resources through the VPN.

Zero-trust network access (ZTNA) addresses the limitations of VPNs by implementing an access model based on both the user’s identity and the context of the connection request. For example, each time a connection is requested, the system establishes a trusted relationship with the user, unlike VPNs, which establish trust once and do not review it again. This approach ensures that access to internal networks and resources is restricted to only authorized users in specific contexts—such as location, time of day, and device type—providing enhanced security and control. By taking into account these contextual factors, ZTNA can effectively mitigate many risks that are left unaddressed by VPNs.

Business Imperative
The modern enterprise must navigate an evolving cyber threat landscape and a dynamic digital environment. With remote work and cloud-based applications, the traditional network perimeter has dissolved, exposing organizations to new risks. Therefore, secure access to corporate resources is now imperative. ZTNA solutions offer a modern security approach, addressing the limitations of traditional castle-and-moat security.

By adopting a zero-trust access policy, organizations ensure authorized users and devices gain conditional access to specific applications and resources. This fine-grained control protects against data breaches and unauthorized access, reducing risks. ZTNA enables businesses to embrace digital transformation and cloud technologies while maintaining a robust security posture and protecting sensitive data, which is essential for maintaining customer trust.

CxOs will appreciate ZTNA’s ability to provide a strong security foundation supporting digital initiatives and strategic goals. It enables secure remote work, facilitates cloud migration, and ensures compliance, future-proofing the organization’s security infrastructure. With centralized visibility and control over access policies, ZTNA also streamlines security management, thereby reducing complexity. In summary, ZTNA is a strategic enabler, providing necessary security to support digital transformation and protect the organization’s most valuable assets.

Sector Adoption Score
To help executives and decision-makers assess the potential impact and value of a ZTNA solution deployment to the business, this GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a structured assessment of the sector across five factors: benefit, maturity, urgency, impact, and effort. By scoring each factor based on how strongly it compels or deters adoption of a ZTNA solution, we provide an overall Sector Adoption Score (Figure 1) of 4 out of 5, with 5 indicating the strongest possible recommendation to adopt. This indicates that a ZTNA solution is a strong candidate for deployment and worthy of thoughtful consideration.

The factors contributing to the Sector Adoption Score for ZTNA are explained in more detail in the Sector Brief section that follows.

Key Criteria for Evaluating ZTNA Solutions

Sector Adoption Score







Figure 1. Sector Adoption Score for ZTNA

This is the third year that GigaOm has reported on the ZTNA space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report highlights the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and nonfunctional requirements (business criteria) for selecting an effective ZTNA solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those decision criteria. Together, these reports provide an overview of the market, identify leading ZTNA offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.


The GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a detailed decision framework for IT and executive leadership assessing enterprise technologies. Each report defines relevant functional and nonfunctional aspects of solutions in a sector. The Key Criteria report informs the GigaOm Radar report, which provides a forward-looking assessment of vendor solutions in the sector.