Remote Access VPN vs. Zero Trust Security


Organizations were compelled to swiftly establish hybrid or remote work arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to maintain operations and safeguard their personnel. Since then, IT teams have been deploying business desktops and apps in the cloud while permitting remote workers to utilize unmanaged devices and unauthorized networks. This has made a variety of underlying network security threats easier to access. Therefore, organizations have been trying to find new and updated security measures to make sure their company data is secure. Two of these are remote access VPN vs. Zero Trust Security. Let’s take a look at both of them in detail.

How the attack surface has changed due to the hybrid workforce

The prevalence of hybrid work has expanded the digital attack surface that hackers may exploit. The attack surface was constrained to the endpoints and networks present in the office while employees worked remotely. Businesses now need to safeguard the workplace, the endpoint device used by remote employees, and their home network. If a company has a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, this is even more of a worry because poor security practices on this device might result in a cyberattack against the company.

These difficulties also occur at the same time as a sharp increase in sophisticated ransomware. This implies that a cyberattack now has more serious potential implications. The attack surface has evolved as a result of remote and hybrid work, and it is obvious that companies must modify their security approaches to reduce these risks.

Remote access VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) for remote access enables users to safely access and utilize data and apps that are housed in the company data center and headquarters, encrypting all traffic the users transmit and receive.

The remote access VPN does this by building a tunnel between a company’s network and a remote user, even if the user is in a public area. This is due to the traffic’s encryption, which renders it incomprehensible to any interceptors. Remote users can safely access and use the network of their company just as they would if they were physically present there. Data may be transferred through a remote access VPN without the enterprise having to worry about the communication being hacked or intercepted.

Does a remote access VPN work well?

Nearly two decades ago, VPNs were developed to link devices to on-premises networks. Today’s cloud-based architecture, however, means that VPNs are attempting to secure a setting for which they were not designed, which can be ineffective and provide openings for attackers. VPNs are just not secure enough to defend against today’s more sophisticated attacks, especially if you need to work on your hybrid workforce security.

In addition to being not secure enough, VPNs can also be slow, decreasing the productivity of your hybrid workforce in the process. The fact that VPNs slow things down is common knowledge at this point since almost everyone has experienced VPNs giving them a hard time while they are working on something.

Therefore, although remote access VPNs can be a good solution for individual usage, they might slow things down and not give you the security you require if they are used at the company level.

Zero Trust security for your hybrid workforce

The corporate world has expanded to include every household and user device through remote and hybrid work. The employees must have access from any device that is available, wherever they are. It is crucial that every connection is run on a Zero Trust basis since the control IT formerly held is no longer available.

Zero Trust is exactly what it says it is. Every user and device is viewed as a danger that needs verification for every instance of access specified within a Zero Trust security framework rather than assuming that everything inside the IT environment is trustworthy by default.

Organizations can stop attackers at every stage of the attack chain by using Zero Trust. For instance, even if the attackers have managed to bypass user authentication on the target device, access will still be denied. The Zero Trust security paradigm also aids in defending against attacks from within. The usage of an unsecured application or access to a restricted website would not be permitted even if it is by an authorized user using an authorized device.

For these reasons, the usage of the Zero Trust security for companies has been getting more and more popular. Zero Trust security activities among businesses increased to 90% in 2021 from just 16% in 2019. The market for Zero Trust is anticipated to reach a value of about 60 billion dollars by 2027.

Why you should choose Zero Trust for your hybrid workforce

Organizations benefit from Zero Trust because it enables IT professionals to keep track of all endpoints in their network. Then, regardless of where an employee is working, teams can check each endpoint for hazards before providing them access to the network. Zero Trust security gives teams the ability to take proactive action against cyberattacks, which is something other security postures are unable to achieve.

When businesses started moving employees to remote work, many initially believed that VPNs could adequately meet their security requirements. However, it became evident in the pandemic that many VPN systems had trouble supporting several remote workers using the same network at the same time.

Remote work is no longer a band-aid approach to surviving the pandemic. Future work models will be hybrid, and the only viable choice for long-term security success is Zero Trust security.

Final words

Businesses that want to keep on top of the constantly shifting expectations of their organizations and employees need to go beyond VPNs to provide more thorough protection. Zero Trust is especially created to fulfill current needs for visibility and control as well as important business demands like remote work, speed, performance, security, and more. While VPNs do provide some connection, Zero Trust explicitly addresses these needs.

Integrating a Zero Trust approach into a company’s security plan is essential if they want to stay safe in the future.

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