Key Criteria for Evaluating Zero-Trust Network Access Solutionsv2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. ZTNA Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Chris Ray

1. 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 after 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 in the control they offer, as 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 the user’s identity and also 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 only to 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 behind by VPNs.

The GigaOm Key Criteria and Radar reports provide an overview of the ZTNA market, identify capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technologies) and non-functional requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting a ZTNA solution, and detail vendors and products that excel. These reports give prospective buyers an overview of the top vendors in this sector and help decision-makers evaluate solutions and decide where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

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