Insider Threats: Strengthening Security with Extended ZTNA

Insider Threats: Strengthening Security with Extended ZTNAwordpress,insiderthreats,security,ZTNA,extendedZTNA,cybersecurity

Identity & Access: Extending ZTNA to Protect Against Insider Threats

The Growing Cyberthreat Landscape

The pervasiveness, stealth, and severity of cyberthreats are on the rise, with the potential consequences of a breach becoming more severe than ever before. In response to this evolving threat landscape, security teams are embracing the “never trust, always verify” principle, also known as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). ZTNA aims to authenticate and authorize every user and device, regardless of their location, before granting access to the apps and assets they need. By limiting access to only the resources necessary for their jobs, the risk of data theft and exfiltration is minimized.

The Failure of ZTNA

Despite the widespread adoption of ZTNA and the confidence many organizations have in their understanding of it, cyberattacks are still occurring at an alarming rate. According to a 2023 Hybrid Security Trends Report from Netwrix, 68% of organizations experienced a cyberattack last year, despite 94% feeling confident in their understanding of ZTNA. One of the key reasons for this failure is that most ZTNA implementations focus solely on securing remote access, neglecting the threats posed by insiders.

Insider Threats Within the Office

ZTNA‘s “never trust” approach means that users inside the office perimeter cannot be intrinsically trusted. This approach recognizes the presence of potential insider threats within the organization, such as disgruntled employees or IT staffers with malicious intent. Even well-meaning employees are prone to errors. Ignoring these threats and assuming trust based on physical location can lead to significant vulnerabilities in the security posture of an organization.

Challenges of Extending ZTNA to Internal Users

While securing remote access is crucial, extending ZTNA capabilities to users within the office is equally important for comprehensive security. However, there are several challenges in implementing ZTNA within the internal network:

1. Network Infrastructure: Organizations must ensure that their network infrastructure supports the necessary technologies and protocols required for ZTNA. This may involve deploying software-defined perimeter (SDP), virtual private networks (VPNs), or secure access gateways to enforce ZTNA principles within the local network.

2. Network Segmentation: ZTNA relies on proper network segmentation and access controls to limit user access based on identity and device posture. Administrators may need to reconfigure their internal network architecture to implement effective network segmentation.

3. Legacy Devices and Applications: Some legacy devices and applications may be incompatible with agent-based ZTNA solutions. Additionally, internally hosted legacy systems and applications may not seamlessly integrate with ZTNA.

RBAC+ for Extending ZTNA to Internal Users

Role-based access control (RBAC) is a commonly used approach to associate access policies with roles and assign users to specific roles. RBAC+ builds upon this concept by incorporating user attributes, environmental factors, and situational awareness to implement more dynamic and context-aware access control policies. RBAC+ allows organizations to map job roles to access policies within the ZTNA framework, ensuring consistent access control for users regardless of their location. Environmental and contextual factors, such as device posture, user location, and time of day, guide ZTNA access control and enable real-time anomaly detection to prevent privilege abuse.

Enhancing ZTNA with Continuous Monitoring and Advanced DNS Protections

Successfully implementing ZTNA relies on continuous inspection of traffic flows to identify suspicious activities. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms can help detect anomalies and deviations from normal behavior by authenticated users, reducing the risk of successful insider attacks. Additionally, advanced DNS protections play a crucial role in fortifying ZTNA by detecting and blocking malicious DNS activities used by attackers to mine credentials or exfiltrate data.

Comprehensive ZTNA Capabilities for Strengthened Access Control

To effectively mitigate risks associated with insider threats, comprehensive ZTNA must go beyond traditional access control measures. Access control should extend to both in-office and remote users consistently and seamlessly. Continuous monitoring and advanced DNS protections should be employed to detect and mitigate insider threats that bypass authentication and authorization mechanisms. By ensuring comprehensive access control, organizations can better protect against the exploitation of weaknesses in access control and authorization.


Implementing ZTNA is a crucial step for organizations to improve their security posture. However, solely focusing on securing remote access can lead to overlooking the insider threats posed by employees within the office premises. By extending ZTNA to internal users and combining it with RBAC+, organizations can strengthen access control measures and provide consistent and dynamic security policies. Continuous monitoring and advanced DNS protections further enhance ZTNA by detecting and mitigating insider threats in real-time. It is essential for organizations to adopt comprehensive ZTNA capabilities to effectively navigate the evolving cybersecurity landscape and protect their sensitive data and assets.


Insider Threats: Strengthening Security with Extended ZTNA
<< photo by cottonbro studio >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

You might want to read !