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Pulse Secure, the renowned provider of software-defined Secure Access solutions, announced the launch of Pulse Zero Trust Access (PZTA), a cloud-based, multi-tenant secure access service that enables organisations to provide users easy, anywhere access to multi-cloud and data centre applications with Zero Trust assurance.

PZTA simplifies access management with single-pane-of-glass visibility, end-to-end analytics, granular policies, automated provisioning, and advanced threat mitigation that empowers organisations to further optimise their increasingly mobile workforce and hybrid IT resources. As enterprises advance workforce mobility and business digitisation, users require access to on-premises and cloud applications from any device, from any location, and at any time.

Trust and adaptive control

Meanwhile, cyberattacks, data breaches and compliance obligations have grown significantly, making trust and adaptive control critical. PZTA offers users streamlined application access while allowing organisations to govern every request by automatically verifying identity, device and security posture before granting a direct, encrypted connection between that user's device and applications residing in public clouds, private clouds or data centres.

IT leaders are driving business transformation in the hybrid digital era while also defending assets"

“IT leaders are driving business transformation in the hybrid digital era while also defending assets during the ‘age of hyper-converged access’ - for any user, from any device, anywhere to any application, at any time. Pulse Zero Trust Access is designed for the elastic digital workplace, providing a unified, cloud-based service that enables greater accessibility, efficiency and risk reduction,” said Rohini Kasturi, Chief Product Officer at Pulse Secure.

Maximising deployment flexibility

“From inception, Pulse Secure has focused on providing secure access solutions that enhance productivity, visibility and compliance as companies migrate to the cloud and take advantage of utility computing. PZTA exemplifies our on-going commitment to innovate while maximising deployment flexibility, scale, interoperability and investment protection for companies of all sizes.”

PZTA is based on Pulse Secure’s new cloud-native, microservices-based, multi-tenant platform deployed globally in Microsoft Azure Cloud. The PZTA service consists of the Pulse ZTA Controller, which is hosted and managed by Pulse Secure, the virtual Pulse ZTA Gateway that customers deploy on-premises or in the cloud, and the unified Pulse ZTA Client which runs natively on each user’s Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS and iOS, and Google Android device.

Adaptive control advantages

According to the Gartner Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) market guide: “ZTNA improves the flexibility, agility and scalability of application access, enabling digital businesses to thrive without exposing internal applications directly to the internet, reducing risk of attack.” Further, “ZTNA augments traditional VPN technologies for application access, and removes the excessive trust once required to allow employees and partners to connect and collaborate. Security and risk management leaders should pilot ZTNA projects as part of a SASE [Secure Access Service Edge] strategy or to rapidly expand remote access.”

Pulse ZTA Gateways are deployed in the customer’s on-premise and cloud environment

Pulse Zero Trust Access aligns with the Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) architecture of the Cloud Security Alliance, incorporating extensive identity and device authentication, separate control and data planes, centralised granular policy management, and micro-segmentation to thwart unauthorised access and attack propagation.

Threat mitigation actions

While every user device access requires explicit authentication and authorisation by the Pulse Zero Trust Access service, the Pulse ZTA Gateways are deployed in the customer’s on-premise and cloud environment closest to the application or resource. This proximity optimises user experience, reduces latency, and enables hybrid IT deployment at scale. Since encrypted application traffic only flows between the ZTA Clients and ZTA Gateways, customers gain full data privacy and data sovereignty.

PZTA governs each access request and session via a centrally deployed and managed policy. Building upon Gartner’s Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust Assessment (CARTA) framework, PZTA augments contextual and identity-centric policies with built-in User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) whereby attributes for every session are monitored and assessed, applying proprietary risk scoring algorithms to identify non-compliant, malicious and anomalous activity, and take expedited threat mitigation actions.

Cloud-based service

“Our customers trust us to identify and deliver advanced solutions that enable their digital business and protect their valuable resources. Pulse Secure has been our key partner for many years as they offer one of the most versatile, integrated and scalable secure access solutions in the market."

PZTA can co-exist with Pulse Secure’s network access solution portfolio including the Pulse Access Suite

"We jumped at the opportunity to test out their new Zero Trust Access cloud-based service and our teams have been impressed with its simplicity, manageability and overall feature-set”, said Herve Rousseau, the Chief Executive Officer at Openminded. “Pulse Zero Trust Access service does indeed offer users an easier means to access network and cloud applications while providing organisations greater hybrid IT access agility, oversight and management.”

Secure access solution 

PZTA allows enterprises of any size to gain comprehensive Secure Access with a simple, scalable, cloud-native service that can be implemented in a matter of hours. The solution provides deployment flexibility and cohesive policy management for enterprises migrating applications from data centre to cloud, while also offering comprehensive secure access capabilities to those organisations with pure multi-cloud environments.

This allows broad support for legacy applications and popular cloud apps such as those from Amazon, Atlassian, Box, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP and Zoom. PZTA can co-exist with Pulse Secure’s remote, mobile and network access solution portfolio including the Pulse Access Suite.

Multi-factor authentication

Leveraging the unified, multi-tunnel Pulse ZTA Client, users can enjoy transparent, uninterrupted, and simultaneous access to applications and resources from their device of choice regardless of access method - SDP, VPN or NAC. Organisations gain implementation and operational efficiencies, investment protection and tool consolidation to realise lower overall cost of ownership.

Additional features of PZTA include:

  • Extensive identity, endpoint and security posture authentication prior and during each access transaction to negate unauthorised user and vulnerable device access
  • Broad application support, including HTTP, TCP/UDP based applications, multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO) and protected connectivity options
  • User and device resource shielding prior to PZTA Controller authorisation, establishing a Dark Cloud defence to eliminate target visibility for attackers and malware propagation
  • End-to-end analytics to expedite alerting, reporting, auditing, issue triage, and investigation processes

Hybrid IT deployment

According to a 2020 Zero Trust Progress Report, more than half of cyber security decision makers (53%) plan to adopt Zero Trust access capabilities with a hybrid IT deployment. PZTA service is available now at an annual subscription MSRP starting at $180 per user for up to 500 users with volume and multi-year discounts being offered. Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) can take advantage of flexible deployment options with plans to allow MSPs to host the ZTA Controller in their or their customers’ infrastructure, and the ZTA Gateways across any hybrid environment.

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