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Key Criteria for Evaluating Zero-Trust Network Access Solutionsv1.0

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

Virtual private networks (VPNs) have traditionally been the default method of secure remote access. They provided an alternative to exposing internal systems’ remote access protocols, like SSH and RDP, to the internet where anyone could attempt a connection. With VPNs, organizations could restrict who could gain access to these remote access protocols.

VPNs, however, are limited in the level of control they provide. Typically, they are provisioned in a way that gives authorized users too much access to internal networks and resources. Moreover, VPNs cannot consider the context in which legitimate users are accessing resources over the VPN.

This is where zero-trust network access (ZTNA) jumps in to take on these challenges. Though the two technologies can appear similar, upon close inspection, it’s easy to discover ZTNA’s advantages. For example, ZTNA is built on a zero-trust model, meaning that trust isn’t established once and never reviewed. Under ZTNA, a system establishes a trusted relationship with a user every time a connection is requested.

ZTNA considers both the user’s identity and the context of the connection request. This is a powerful capability that mitigates many risks not handled by VPNs.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report and its companion Radar provide an overview of ZTNA, identify capabilities (table stakes and key criteria) and evaluation metrics for selecting a ZTNA solution, and detail vendors and products that excel. These reports will give prospective buyers an overview of the top ZTNA solutions in the market and help them evaluate platforms 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.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.