VPNs are private virtual networks used by enterprises often for connecting remote employees. However, VPNs can’t answer all of the complex and agile needs modern businesses have today. Zero Trust networks can complement or replace VPNs to provide secure access and business agility. This blog will explain how to find suitable and secured solutions other than the regular enterprise VPN solutions ensuring you are covered.
But first, let’s understand what VPNs are.
What are VPNs?
VPNs are private network connections that are based on virtual secure tunnels between points in the public network or in other networks. Only users who have access to the VPN can reach assets in the network or gain visibility into the network activity. In other words, the VPN is another perimeter, more closely managed than the network it is situated in.
VPNs enable organizations to manage access to their assets and resources, by limiting who can connect to them. Businesses often use VPNs to connect remote employees and global business locations that are not connected to the main company network. Often, VPN traffic is also encrypted and the devices in the network are masked when accessing the external networks.
However, in today’s agile and technologically complex world, enterprise VPN solutions are insufficient. Here are four reasons organizations should be wary of implementing VPNs for their network security needs.
4 VPN Weaknesses
1. VPNs aren’t Agile
If your team is expanding or scaling down, or new devices need to be added to the network, adding them to a VPN is no simple endeavor. Each user or device needs to be set up with a VPN client and integrated into the access control system. This process is bulky and doesn’t enable companies to grow with their ever-evolving business needs. It is even more difficult during Covid-19, when many people are suddenly working from home and companies are hiring employees who have never stepped foot in the office!
2. VPNs are Resource Intensive and Time Consuming
VPN networks are CPU intensive, they create a heavy server load and the encryptions are “heavy” as well. This becomes worse when users are trying to connect to more resource intensive systems, like databases or design programs. Unless you’re willing to put up with high latency and no work getting done, this requires the company to invest heavily in DevOps and IT teams and in infrastructure. These teams will be required to spend a lot of time in maintaining the networks, adding security systems and firewalls, and providing user support.
3. VPNs aren’t Fit for Your Business Use Cases
While many enterprises use VPNs for Remote Work, VPNs aren’t really meant to handle such heavy loads over a long period of time. Using VPNs for global teams away from the office will result in slow and unstable connections, complex infrastructure and heavy costs. In addition, using VPNs for partners, 3rd parties and M&As would be very time consuming and costly. VPNs are also very limited when used with cloud-based applications.
4. VPNs aren’t Secure
VPN security is based on the castle-and-moat approach, meaning that anyone inside the perimeter can get access to the systems, assets and crown jewels. While the VPN is more secure than the public network, it is still vulnerable to cyber attackers. If you use a VPN, then once they are in, your network is exposed. Adding more security solutions to overcome this obstacle will also make the network more complex and costly.
Zero Trust Solutions for Continuous Identity Verification
Zero Trust Networks provide enterprises and companies with the solution to their network security needs. Based on an identity authentication approach, the Zero Trust security model does not trust users based on the network they’re in. Instead, each user and device are verified and validated before they are granted access to any app, system, or asset.
This approach provides enterprises with:
- Agility: IT Managers and DevOps can easily add or remove security policies and user authorization based on their immediate business needs. ABAC (attribute based access control) and RBAC (role based) make life much easier when granting access to specific applications.
- Cost-effectiveness: Easy implementation – just add the ZTA connector – and simple management
- Broad use-case fit: Implement for remote work, PAMs, 3rd parties, M&As, and more.
- Security: Above all, zero trust architecture provides real granular security that protects networks, externally and internally. No trust is given, so no perpetrator is allowed access.
Zero Trust can also be used combined with a VPN secure connection, especially if used for a specific network segment. In such cases, Zero trust models can strengthen the company perimeter through micro segmentation and provide an extra layer of security if hackers gain access to the VPN.
VPN vs. Zero Trust Comparison
Cyolo is truly a Zero Trust Security solution that keeps users securely connected from everywhere without requiring a VPN. Cyolo can also integrate with your VPNs, if needed. Cyolo takes minutes to implement and is compatible with any network topology and identity infrastructure. In addition, Cyolo does not have access to the organization data. Not only does this ensure true privacy and security, it also improves performance as a better user experience. Request a demo to learn more.