If you\u2019ve recently attended an industry event or read the daily news digest from your go-to trade publication, there\u2019s no way you haven\u2019t heard about Universal Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). There\u2019s a lot of hype around this offering, so much so that Gartner\u00ae included Universal ZTNA in its recent Hype CycleTM for Zero Trust Networking, 2023 report, which profiles the 19 \u201cmost relevant and hyped\u201d zero-trust technologies, along with recommendations for implementation and obstacles to adoption. \n\nIn my opinion, this report is an extremely helpful resource for organizations interested in how Universal ZTNA and other zero-trust offerings can improve their security. Using the report as a springboard and insights from recent customer conversations, I\u2019ve compiled my recommendations on choosing the best Universal ZTNA solution for your unique needs and tips for success as you deploy and manage this new technology. Consider this your Universal ZTNA evaluation cheat sheet.\n\nUniversal ZTNA is gaining steam\n\nAs a whole, zero-trust strategies, which limit access to only the data relevant to a user\u2019s needs rather than granting comprehensive network access, are gaining popularity because they reduce risk. According to the Fortinet 2023 Zero Trust Report, nearly 70% of business leaders say their enterprises are implementing zero-trust strategies, up from 54% in 2021.\n\nTraditional ZTNA is often used to secure remote worker access to enterprise systems. But as more people return to the office at least part-time and hybrid work gains popularity, it makes less sense to treat workers differently based on their location.\n\nThis is where Universal ZTNA comes in. Instead of having one policy to govern remote employees and another for those working on-premises, Universal ZTNA applies one policy to all users. The identity, device identity, and security posture checks are all conducted before a user gains access to the corporate network. Moving to Universal ZTNA benefits employees and security teams alike: Employees gain a more secure and consistent user experience no matter where they choose to work, and security teams can streamline the deployment and management of access controls and policies across the entire network.\n\nUniversal ZTNA adoption requires planning and preparation\n\nAccording to Gartner, Universal ZTNA is climbing up the \u201cInnovation Trigger,\u201d which is when \u201cearly proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity.\u201d As with any new technology, planning and preparation are always required before procurement and deployment.\n\nGartner notes that organizations with siloed IT and security teams can \u201coverlook the opportunity to unify remote access and campus security using a single tool.\u201d This is a crucial callout: It\u2019s imperative that security and IT teams work together to choose one technology. Choosing two separate tools to implement and enforce access policies for remote and on-premises workers defeats the purpose of Universal ZTNA. Communication, collaboration, and consensus between the teams are essential to success.\n\nOrganizations must also identify users and define their policies before implementing Universal ZTNA. Who are your users, and what level of access should each group have? What assets need to be protected, and who can access them? What adaptive signals are important to your organization that will trigger an identity check?\n\n4 attributes to consider as you\u2019re evaluating Universal ZTNA vendors\n\nOnce the initial planning is done, it\u2019s time to evaluate Universal ZTNA offerings based on their feature sets. Every organization\u2019s needs are different, yet there are several must-have attributes to consider during the evaluation process.\n\nImplementing Universal ZTNA is a significant step in advancing your organization\u2019s zero-trust strategy, giving users flexibility in how and where they work and reducing complexities for your security team. With careful evaluation and planning, implementing Universal ZTNA for all users offers a simple, effective way to enhance security across your entire network. \n\nGartner, Hype Cycle for Zero Trust Networking, 2023, 18 July 2023.\n\nGARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and\/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally, Hype Cycle is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and\/or its affiliates and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.