Most of the world is dealing with cyber security threats and an ever-changing IT landscape. Companies must adopt cutting-edge network protection and cyber security technologies because it is estimated that cybercrime costs the world around $8 trillion a year. That’s $667 billion per month, or $154 billion every week!
The most effective solutions for companies depend on the unique needs for secure networking and connectivity, as both of these technologies take different approaches to those issues. The benefits and drawbacks of virtual private networks (VPNs) and zero-trust network access (ZTNA) will be discussed below so you can decide which technology is most appropriate for your business.
What is a VPN?
Companies use VPNs frequently to give employees secure remote access to their networks because they have been around for a while. With the help of a VPN, a user’s device can securely connect to the corporate network and access resources as if they were physically present in the office.
VPNs protect sensitive information from interception and offer a secure connection for employees working from home or other locations by encrypting the data transmitted over public networks. In essence, they create a private network between the remote device and the company’s servers or cloud environment.
What is ZTNA?
A relatively new security strategy that challenges the conventional perimeter-based security model is the zero-trust network. The motto of this network model is “never trust, always verify.” This implies that regardless of their location or credentials, every user and device attempting to access network resources is treated as untrusted.
To ensure secure connectivity, these networks rely on strong authentication, access control and ongoing monitoring. Employees cannot access the company network until they have been identified and verified, along with their authorised devices.
Pros and cons of VPNs
Employees can access corporate resources securely from a distance using VPNs, which also reduce the risk of data interception by encrypting data sent over untrusted networks. Since VPNs make use of the already-existing internet infrastructure, they are a cost-effective solution.
A VPN is another widely used, well-established technology that is adaptable to a variety of hardware and operating systems and relatively simple to implement. The technology is quite simple to set up and many people have experience using VPNs.
However, network visibility is constrained. If credentials are compromised, they could potentially expose sensitive resources to compromised devices or unauthorised users because they grant access to the entire corporate network.
They also have a slight performance disadvantage because the encryption and routing overhead can slow down networks, especially for applications that use a lot of bandwidth or for large file transfers.
Pros and cons of ZTNA
Zero-trust networks provide increased security by constantly confirming user identities and the state of the devices. This reduces the possibility of unauthorised access and lateral network movement.
In addition, they provide granular access control by enabling administrators to enact fine-grained access rules that limit user access to resources only required for their roles, thereby minimising the attack surface.
ZTNA offers more flexibility and agility. These networks support remote work, cloud services and scalable infrastructure as they adjust to changing business needs and dynamic environments.
One drawback of ZTNA is its complexity. A zero-trust network can be challenging to implement because it needs strong authentication mechanisms, access control guidelines and ongoing management.
They also have a few deployment issues, such as the need for careful planning and major infrastructure changes to make the switch from conventional network architectures to ZTNA seamless.
Choosing the right technology for your businesses
VPNs and ZTNA can be chosen depending on a variety of factors, including the sector and particular business needs. Here are a few instances:
Healthcare industry – Patient data is sensitive, so healthcare organisations frequently need the granular access control and ongoing network monitoring capabilities provided by ZTNA to safeguard against insider threats and unauthorised access.
Financial sector – Financial institutions that handle highly confidential and regulated data may find both technologies useful. ZTNA can be implemented internally to prevent unauthorised access to vital financial systems, while VPNs can offer secure remote access for employees.
Technology startups – Agility, scalability and cost-effectiveness are frequently prioritised by startups. In the beginning, when employees need remote access, VPNs may be a good option. As the company expands and more sophisticated security measures are needed, ZTNA may be introduced.
While VPNs and ZTNA each provide a unique method for ensuring secure connectivity, which one to choose depends on the particular requirements and risks that businesses must deal with.
Working with knowledgeable consultants, such as SEACOM, can assist companies in selecting the best technology and ensuring that their networks are secure and resilient in the face of evolving cyber threats.
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