ZTA vs ZTAA vs ZTNA: Understanding the Difference

ZTA vs ZTAA vs ZTNA: Understanding the Difference
ZTA vs ZTAA vs ZTNA: Understanding the Difference

Ever since the global pandemic and the remote working environment, the importance and need for secure remote network access have increased than ever before. According to research, data breaches and cybercrimes are up by 600% since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online and cybersecurity attacks spare no website or network—big or small. Even today, in 2022, most of businesses are operating remotely. Hence, you must implement a robust security model to ensure the utmost data security and protect your network against the increasing risks of online attacks and cyber thefts.

The cloud-based assets and Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) lack the enterprise-level network boundary and security perimeter—that’s where a Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) comes into play.

A Zero Trust Model is a security solution that provides remote teams, employees, and contractors with secure remote network access.

The Zero Trust Application security architecture has many security models—including ZTA, ZTNA, and ZTAA. In this article, we’ll see how these security models differ and which one you should opt for your network. Let’s start with understanding each of these models.

What is Zero Trust?

Unlike the traditional security model, Zero Trust doesn't imply trust based on network location. Instead, verify user access based on a transaction basis. Whether your device has a known IP or network location doesn't imply trust in the ZT model. To derive trust, the model uses context and identity-based aspects.

As the name implies, this security model, by default, denies access as it trusts no one. Before granting access, the Zero Trust framework will verify the user's identity based on their derived attributes. Then after successful verification, access will be granted. These attributes can be device location, time and other behavioural contexts.

Not just this, the Zero Trust model works on the least privilege principle. If the users have asked for access to a particular resource or application, then the access will be granted for that resource only, not the entire network. The core of the Zero Trust model is the continuous evaluation of user access. If the user at some point changes the devices or logs in from another network, then the access will be revoked immediately.

Understanding  Zero Trust Access (ZTA)

Zero Trust Access (ZTA) is a security model that offers an end-to-end zero-trust across all systems, data centers, applications, and networks.

It’s solely and completely based on identity-based access—only allowing an appropriate level of access after knowing and identifying who the user is. It encompasses both ZTA and ZTNA but offers pure Zero Trust solutions.

Benefits of Zero Trust Access (ZTA)

Some of the significant benefits of Zero Trust Access are:

  • Complete coverage of protocols and network
  • Instantly block hackers that try to breach any part of the architecture.
  • ZTA doesn’t allow data to leave the network.

Understanding Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

The Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is one of the most popular and widely used models and implementations of the ZTA architecture.

The ZTNA architecture only provides users access to network systems and assets after proper authentication and verification.

Furthermore, it’s based on the isolation and micro-segmentation of the networks. As a result, it’s an excellent VPN replacement—allowing users to access different devices and locations from any remote location without having to depend on corporate networks.

ZTNA is an outstanding solution for IT managers—providing a quick and easy solution for their employees.

ZTNA is the evolution of VPN which removes all the network complexities and offers a better user experience and security to a remote workforce. The ZTNA model hides the application from the internet, preventing all potential attacks.

Benefits of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

ZTNA benefits are listed below:

  • It is an excellent alternative to VPN, especially for a remote workforce.
  • Once in the defined perimeter, ZTNA can block all hackers.
  • Offers secure access compared to other external networks.

Understanding Zero Trust Application Access (ZTAA)

While the ZTNA model provides secure access to the network and leaves applications vulnerable—the Zero Trust Application Access (ZTAA) model provides secure application access.

ZTAA assumes that all the networks are compromised and only offers access to applications after device and user authentication. Hence, ZTAA only provides application access to trusted or authorised users—providing granular visibility of each user activity.

Benefits of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)

ZTAA benefits are as follows:

  • It provides targeted protection to the application against hackers.
  • Further, it provides secure remote access to on-premises and cloud applications.
  • It offers enhanced granular visibility for how the application is being used.
  • ZTAA is an efficient, more targeted replacement for VPN security.


Let us look at some common differences between ZTNA vs ZTA vs ZTAA

Out of the three solutions, if you wish to ensure a secure application and network access for your remote employees, we recommend you opt for the Zero Trust Application Access (ZTAA) security model.

The traditional remote security solutions allow an untrusted user access to your applications —exposing a large attack surface and a greater risk of data exploitation.

On the other hand, ZTAA:

  • Provides better control over the offering and limits user access to critical data and applications.
  • Provides better visibility of the user activity on the network across the entire organisation.
  • Provides advanced authentication solutions and capabilities to make authentication more secure, seamless, and integrated.
  • Provides access to only authorised users.


The shift in the network architecture of organisations requires adopting robust and quick network security solutions and replacing the traditional VPNs that offer network access to everyone, pose greater security attack risks, and provide a poor user experience.

At Instasafe, we provide true and secure InstaSafe Zero Trust security solutions for your systems, applications, and networks with a single click unified access to applications and SSH/RDP servers hosted anywhere in the world.

Our ZTAA solution blackens your IT infrastructure providing granular user activity visibility and easy scalability as you grow. So, check out our services and get in touch with us to ensure guaranteed network and application security across your organisation.

FAQs on Zero Trust

  1. What is the difference between zero Trust vs ZTNA?

Zero Trust is the security framework that allows strong authentication and authorisation before access, while ZTNA is the subset of Zero Trust.

2. What is the difference between ZTNA and VPN?

VPN allows traffic from multiple servers, while ZTNA provides access to authorised applications and services.

3. Can ZTNA replace VPN?

Yes,  ZTNA is a reliable security technique that fills all traditional security gaps compared to VPN.

4. What is the purpose of ZTNA?

ZTNA aims to offer secure access to an organisation’s data, services and applications by following the defined policies.

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