NetworkSecurity

ZTNA vs VPN

In the world of least privileged access to truthful information, the role of an organization’s network guarded with secure access is an additional benefit. Secure remote access or Zero Trust network access is in real demand these days, especially after COVID-19 when the world shifted to the digital era. But as a matter of fact, we always need to ensure our communications stay secured regardless of user access.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck and increased remote work became necessary overnight, one huge healthcare organization recognized they needed to reconsider their traditional VPN solutions. Regarding remote access, security was not enough; it also needed to be functional. Many organizations used Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solutions to achieve a balance.

What Is ZTNA?

What Does ZTNA Stand For?

Zero Trust network access (ZTNA) is a security solution or secure remote access which provides security to an organization’s network, data, applications, or services based on defined access controls and adaptive security policies.

This guarantees secure access service edge (SASE) to remote workers and authorized users.

Trust no one when it comes to network access, according to the network security concept known as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), sometimes known as Zero Trust Access (ZTA).

Verifying user identities and limiting access to company resources on an “as needed” basis are two goals of the Zero Trust security model, which integrates numerous technologies, security rules, and best practices.

Zero Trust architecture limits access resources to certain identities while preventing the discovery of corporate applications, data, and services.

What Is A ZTNA Product?

Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is a product or spin-off that creates a context-based logical access boundary and broad access to virtual private networks (VPNs).

How Does ZTNA Work?

To be under the compulsion to secure a remote workforce, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) takes a fundamentally different approach to provide secure remote access controls. It isolates providing full access to corporate applications from the entire network.

What Is A VPN?

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are a secured tunnel between an end-user device and the internet. It is the easiest and most effective way for people to secure connections. VPN technology provides an encrypted tunnel that nobody can see.

An encrypted and private connection between two points is known as a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It enables end-user devices like a computer or smart devices to connect to a target network in a way that hides the initiating device’s IP address and safeguards its connection.

In exchange for network access, the device delivers the information of the VPN server rather than disclosing its basic network information over the internet. A VPN transforms public internet connections into private ones, granting remote users online privacy and anonymity.

VPN technology was created by engineers more than 20 years ago. Bringing the office right to the user location was the primary drive. With the help of VPN technology, employees could print documents in the network and access hard drives from their PCs.

ZTNA Vs VPN

Here is a comparison of ZTNA vs. VPN.

Users’ ability to access the full corporate network using VPNs greatly expands the organization’s attack surface. Additionally, because the technology is cumbersome, businesses cannot maintain the flexibility necessary to put remote working at the center of their operations.

As an alternative, ZTNA service gives remote users visibility, control, and flexibility over all access requests. To stop upcoming cybersecurity threats, security teams can use ZTNA solutions to examine behavior analytics in conjunction with artificial intelligence.

Advantages Of ZTNA

Zero Trust network architecture is necessary for organizations to ensure user and corporate data center security in both on-premises and cloud environments.

As an illustration, consider the recent executive order issued by the US government mandating the adoption of Zero Trust security models by influential organizations. The many advantages of ZTNA include the following:

Granular Access 

Advanced user authentication is the foundation of Zero Trust. It also functions according to the principle of least privilege access, as mentioned in the above sections. Users are only granted access to the required corporate applications, networks, and data to execute a certain task. Another component of the Zero Trust security system, micro-segmentation, reduces the risk of damage from unauthorized access.

Migration Of Clouds

ZTNA helps enterprises move faster and with less user impact from the corporate data center to the cloud. It enables IT staff to harmonize adaptive security policies with corporate directives. Users may focus on the work without worrying about connecting to a program, hosted location, or whether a VPN is required.

Adherence

Many organizations have typically depended on VPNs to use encryption to meet certain compliance standards. With a straightforward and streamlined user experience, quicker onboarding, more thorough offboarding, and the enforcement of application-specific policies, ZTNA, nevertheless, solves numerous compliance standards.

The End-user Encounter

ZTNA offers broad access to a range of resources without requiring complex configuration or management, unlike VPN. Users do not need to know that a ZTNA solution is securing their data because Zero Trust automatically establishes secure connections on demand in the background.

ZTNA Advantages For User Output

ZTNA Offers Direct Traffic Breakdown For Cloud And SaaS Services:

ZTNA offers a fantastic end-user experience and is essentially a cloud-delivered solution. Thus it does not need any user traffic to be backhauled.

ZTNA Is Auto-Controlled:

Since most of the employees under a ZTNA connect remotely and the company is still hybrid, the possibility is that they are not located near the corporate offices or the data centers. ZTNA is available anywhere and scales automatically based on the user base because it is cloud-delivered. It enables consumers to experience exceptional speed without having to experience scalability difficulties.

ZTNA Offers Adaptability:

ZTNA gives the flexibility to assist those utilizing their BYO devices. It thus gives the security controls a business requires as more employees than ever connect remotely and in hybrid environments.

Disadvantages

Other than the alleged difficulties that could come with a new technological approach, there are no significant drawbacks to deploying a Zero Trust security paradigm. Success in making the transfer depends on creating a strong migration plan. Additionally, it calls for IT leadership to maintain a commitment to the policy review.

Access controls must also be kept up to date to guarantee that the right people can access the precise data they require from authorized devices. Remote employees pose security risks if they leave the company with their access credentials.

Constraints Of The VPN

Because they integrate efficiently with traditional perimeter-based security architectures, VPNs are the go-to option for secure remote access. They are, however, ill-suited to the security requirements of the modern organization due to numerous drawbacks, such as:

Perimeter-Focused Security:

Because a VPN allows authorized users complete access to the corporate network, it helps to reinforce the conventional perimeter-based security approach. As a result, an attacker who has gained access to the corporate network through stolen VPN credentials or exploiting a VPN vulnerability can move laterally through it.

Network Management:

VPNs employ access controls at the network level without the knowledge of or control over the application layer. Reading, writing, and executing access to resources within several apps gives users excessively liberal access.

Absence Of Cloud Support:

VPNs are usually made to offer secure remote access to a company network. However, for cloud-based resources that are located outside of the traditional perimeter, VPNs frequently offer only limited assistance.

Poor BYOD Device Support:

Users can access company resources from unmanaged devices and external endpoints by allowing BYOD devices to connect to the company VPN. Due to this, malware or other online dangers can get direct access to the corporate network.

VPNs And The Rise Of The Zero Trust Approach

VPNs are designed for the traditional perimeter-focused security strategy. However, this strategy has major issues that, when combined with the limitations of VPNs, have inspired the creation of the Zero Trust security model.

Unlike the perimeter-based strategy, Zero Trust does not grant implicit trust to any device, user, and application within the traditional network perimeter. Instead, access to corporate resources is granted based on the principle of least privilege, where entities are assigned only the minimum set of permissions needed to perform their role.

ZTNA Vs VPN: Concluding Remarks

Both remote work and data breach attempts do not appear to be slowing down soon. To meet current cloud-based needs, IT and security teams must prioritize replacing or enhancing their current network security architectures.

For both on-premises and cloud security issues, ZTNA offers a complete security solution. ZTNA principles, including MFA, micro-segmentation, SSO, and others, can be gradually integrated into the current infrastructure by management.

Many vendors offer ZTNA solutions, enabling IT administrators to control users’ access to devices, applications, files, networks, and other resources. They also offer free demos to manage the ZTNA solution and learn about its implementation.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.

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