Back in August 2020, cybercriminals were able to gain access to nearly 1,000 VPN servers by Pulse Secure. They leaked credentials, IP addresses, SSH keys, admin details, and more valuable information. This example is one of many, showcasing how insecure VPNs are for modern businesses. Security is not the only reason VPNs aren’t fit for modern business. Here are five reasons to replace your VPN connection with zero trust architecture.
1. VPNs are Insecure
Perimeter-based network security was a sufficient solution when employees worked from corporate offices, global connectivity was scarce, and cyberattackers were less sophisticated. Today’s modern world includes both remote and hybrid work, ongoing global connectivity, multiple types of networks and connections, and highly sophisticated attackers.
As a result, networks today are constantly vulnerable to attacks, so attempting to block the network entry point alone isn’t enough. Despite this enlarged attack surface, VPNs tunnel users into the systems, meaning that if hackers gain access to VPNs, they also have access to all the crown jewels. VPN technological vulnerabilities could enable this type of hacking.
Zero trust can replace or complement VPNs. After screening the network entry point through MFA or biometric authentication like Cyolo does, zero trust also authenticates any attempt to access systems, apps and assets. With zero trust, the network is hidden from the perpetrator and access to systems is not enabled.
2. VPN Performance is Poor
Slow loading times, systems getting stuck and a long wait for connection are common occurrences for employees connecting from home over a VPN. The reason for this is network latency, caused from routing all traffic through the data center and encrypting it. Modern businesses require faster, more agile communication, especially during Covid-19, when we cannot just pop over to another person’s desk to ask a question.
Zero trust operates within the company’s network, and can even be deployed over the public internet. As a result, businesses can work as fast as their network enables them.
3. VPNs Have Difficulty Scaling
Scaling your business with a VPN can be done. But it requires adding bandwidth, security measures, VPN clients, and more. This is a bulky process that takes a lot of time and resources. You might think this is not too bad because you don’t hire new people that often. But scaling is not just growing a team, it’s about enabling more connectivity options: remote work, adding third party suppliers, adding devices, and more. This means that any basic new connection to the network requires a lot of work and hassle.
Scaling with zero trust is like scaling with SaaS. All that needs to be done is to add a user or device to the policy. Cyolo even enables this through a web-based UI. As a result, scaling becomes a non-issue for security teams and IT.
4. VPNs Aren’t Built for Suppliers and Partners
Suppliers and partners are important for the success of any business, but to do their work well they need network connectivity and access. VPNs limit the ability to add external parties to the network. From the company side, it’s a resource-intensive process, as explained before. From the supplier side, not all parties would agree to have a VPN client installed on their devices.
Zero trust only requires IT and security to add these parties to their policies. And guess what? Removing them when the contract is over is just as easy.
5. VPNs Aren’t Built for Longterm Remote Work
Covid-19 will end eventually, but remote work is probably here to stay – at least in some form. While VPNs were built to enable the odd connection from home, they cannot support an entire workforce working remotely, either all the time or part time.
Zero trust implements security in any network and between networks. The network employees are originating from is not important. Therefore, they can connect to the office from the public internet, and zero trust will still secure all assets. This is an ideal solution for remote work.
While VPNs could be a good solution in some business cases, relying solely on them for secure connection and agile work is bound to cause grievances. Zero trust is a security model that is designed for modern businesses and meets all of the following needs: security, agility, performance, remote work, cost-effectiveness, 3rd party access, and more.