Better Security through
the Privacy First Approach :
Why InstaSafe Zero Trust is
a better VPN alternative than
ZScaler Private Access

The Need to Rethink Remote Access Security for your Modern Network

In the new normal, secure access to any corporate resource from anywhere is an indispensable necessity for maintaining the productivity of your workforce. That said, managing remote workforce access is not a simple task, and is further complicated by the presence of corporate assets in hybrid environments. Seemingly trivial tasks such as accessing your mail on an unsecured public network can compromise your entire network. And with obsolete legacy security systems in place, most organizations are often not ready to extend their security setup to the edge. Furthermore, these legacy setups serve to extend more access than necessary, leaving the scope for insider attacks and lateral movement.

InstaSafe Zero Trust Access: A Secure Access Solution for the Modern Workforce

The shift outside the perimeter, coupled with the shift to the cloud, is forcing companies to have a relook at their security setup and assess scalable, cloud-ready alternatives that enable secure access to enterprise resources from anywhere.

Zero Trust is a holistic approach to security that addresses these changes and how organizations work and respond to threats. The Zero Trust model and philosophy incorporate the need for borderless networks. Whether inside or outside of the corporate network – nothing should be trusted automatically. With Zero Trust, this trust is established but is constantly re-evaluated. Hence temporary.

Leveraging the Zero Trust precedent of ‘NEVER TRUST, ALWAYS VERIFY’ set across by Google’s Beyond Corp model, InstaSafe’s Zero Trust solutions provide seamless secure connectivity of on-premise and cloud resources, to workforces situated anywhere in the world. InstaSafe leverages its three-dimensional risk assessment methodology to assess the risk and trust associated with every user, device, and application prior to establishing the connection. For every individual request to assess enterprise resources, the context of the request is assessed, and device and user checks are done using multiple parameters. Once this process of comprehensive authentication is complete, the user is granted access, but only to those applications that he/she is authorized to access, while the entire network remains inaccessible.

InstaSafe works on 4 core principles

  • Innate distrust, default deny: Operationalise a system of continuous authentication and authorization to provide the least privilege, contextual access
  • One Size doesn’t fit all: Complete visibility and control over user activity allows for framing access policies on a granular level and restricting access based on different levels of privilege for different users
  • Align and Integrate: Align to a broader security strategy and allow for easy integration with other security tools for better security posture
  • Security based on Identity: Pull the security perimeter from the network to the individual human users, and grant access based on identity as the single control point, where identity includes the user and the device.

The Privacy First approach: Split Plane Architecture

InstaSafe follows a Privacy First approach. To put it across in simple terms, InstaSafe builds its technologies on the fundamental assertion that the data belonging to the company should be handled by the company itself, and not by any intermediary vendor.

The Zscaler Private Access Platform steers all internet-bound traffic, without segregating or differentiating the traffic, to the ZScaler Cloud for inspection. Now, this essentially increases the risk of supply chain attacks, wherein, when the security provider is compromised, and access to the Zscaler cloud is attained, it results in company data being compromised as well. It can also act as a bottleneck and be a reason for latency. InstaSafe believes that a vendor-managed device should not get visibility to the data consumed by the users of the organization.

InstaSafe Zero Trust Access was designed to create an architecture for positive identification of network connections through single packet inspection prior to accessing sensitive data. And one of the inherent underlying principles in designing InstaSafe Zero Trust Access was the principle of a Split Plane Architecture. A split plane architecture is the separation of the control plane, where trust is established, from the data plane where actual data is transferred. The control plane carries forth the processes of user authentication and authorisation, while the actual data is transferred through the data plane. Separating the control from the data plane renders protected assets “black,” thereby blocking network-based attacks. It also ensures that the customers’ data directly flows from the user device to the application without driving it through to the vendor’s machines. The method helps to avoid network latency as well. The data in question flows to and from the user device and application server owned by the company. While ensuring proper authentication through the control plane, the direct flow of data to the application server ensures data privacy for the company. In addition, this removes the vulnerabilities inherent in TCP and TLS termination as well.

 FeatureInstaSaffe ZTAZscaler Private Access
Application SupportIntranet Web Apps
SaaS Apps
Virtual Apps and RDP
Client Server App
Simplified Deployment and ManagementCentralised Security Management
Choice of Client and Clientless Approach
Choice of Client and Clientless 
Support for Windows
Support for Linux
Support for macOS
Support for iOS
Integrated Management Tool available as bundled offering
Authentication CapabilitiesInbuilt IDP
Inbuilt SSO Capabilities
Support for third party IDP 
Integrated Single Sign On to all 
Web Based Applications
Geo and Temporal Risk 
ML Based Authentication
Integrated MFA with InstaSafe/
Google/Microsoft Authenticator 
Behavioural Biometrics based 
Security CapabilitiesSplit Plane Architecture
Single Packet Authorisation
Segmentation at Application 
Traffic Level
User Activity Monitoring 
Drop All Firewall
Role Based Access Control
Application Access CapabilitiesAccess to L3/L4 protocols and 
Support for RDP/SSH 
Simplified DDoS Protection

Ease of Deployment

InstaSafe Zero Trust believes in offering customers the choice  of a true VPN less, seamless, clientless approach that ensures security without affecting productivity. InstaSafe ZTA’s support for client and clientless deployment enables a  flexible onboarding for the customer, and allows access via  any web browser on any platform without downloading the  Zero Trust Client. This makes sense especially when it comes  to ensuring quick deployment for a large distributed workforce.

Clientless Zero Trust: InstaSafe ZTA provides a choice for agent based and agent less approach for accessing  enterprise applications. Once the security team defines the access policies, the user may access web and SaaS apps using any native browser. This provides a web isolation solution, that launches any web, SaaS or virtual app while also maintaining an air gap between the device and the app.

Client-based Access: When accessing enterprise apps from the lightweight InstaSafe Zero Trust client, InstaSafe launches the requested application after authorisation in a Chromium  browser embedded in the ZT Client. InstaSafe supports iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms and provides a seamless user experience. On the other hand, Zscaler ZApp does not support Linux platform effectively.

Clientless Access: InstaSafe also empowers secure clientless access through any native browser, by executing remote browser isolation, which allows for secure access to web based applications while also securing the network from browser based attacks.

InstaSafe’s Zero Trust Architecture showcasing split plane architecture (Data plane and control plane

                                                InstaSafe’s Zero Trust Architecture showcasing split plane architecture ( Data plane and control plane

Zero Trust, One Access: Integration and Authentication Capabilities

One of the key defining features of InstaSafe is its versatility, not only in terms of deployment or onboarding, but also in terms of single click access to applications by end users. With support for L3/L4 and L7 layers of protocols and applications, InstaSafe also enables an easy 5 step onboarding process for web based and protocol based applications for admins:

  1. Create Users
  2. Create Application
  3. Create Policies
  4. Create Gateway
  5. Add applications to gateway

What makes InstaSafe different from other major Zero Trust providers is the quest for eliminating gaps in security infrastructure, not only through seamless integration capabilities, but also with the additional inbuilt security capabilities. Thus, InstaSafe ZTA extends beyond support for integration with customers’ third party IDP solution providers such as AD, Azure AD and includes an inbuilt IDP, which helps create and manage the users and user groups.

InstaSafe Zero Trust also enables single sign on functionality for all web based applications. The single sign on feature works closely with SSO enablers such as Google SSO and SAML solution providers.

InstaSafe’s Geo and temporal Risk Assessment features enable security teams to control the user access based on working hours and location. This feature ensures that the access to the user device will be provided only when it adheres to conditions such as location of the device, time of access and security posture of the device.

The Multifactor Authentication Functionality of InstaSafe is powered by SMS, EMAIL and TOTP providers such as Google and Microsoft. In addition, InstaSafe has its own InstaSafe Authenticator which can be used to enable MFA functionality. 

Future Proof Security: ML Based Authentication

Strengthening the precepts of a Zero Trust model by involving elements of machine learning and behavioural biometrics for privileged users can result in a further tightening of network defences against common attacks like identity and credential theft. While all the authentication mechanisms focus on validating an information that’s present with the user, Machine Learning(ML) focuses on the behaviour of the user. When another user impersonates the original user, the way hetypes or uses the device is different. The solution identifies the impersonation of the end user based on the usage of keystrokes and other history based approaches and block access. This feature is available for high priority privileged users in a company to secure access to highly confidential information.