In a world where data has become just as important as physical resources, it’s crucial to have a solid security plan in place. While many companies still rely on traditional security solutions such as firewalls and antivirus software, these methods aren’t enough anymore, especially in a society that has already made the transition to a hybrid work style. So, companies are starting to explore avenues in keeping their data secure in this new work environment. This has given rise to the debate: ZTNA vs. VPN, which is the better solution?


What is VPN? 

Let’s start with the more traditional security solution: the VPN. A VPN is a secure connection between your device and the internet, which essentially means that it covers all of your data in an encrypted tunnel. This makes it nearly impossible for hackers or other parties to intercept and view your data while it’s being transmitted through this tunnel.

VPNs use encryption protocols such as OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP etc., to protect data in transit (while it’s being transferred over public networks). They also provide anonymity by masking your IP address and location so that no one can tell where you’re actually located at any given point of time when connected with them.

And because it’s been in use since 1996, users have had time to get familiar with the service and there’s a wealth of information available online about what it’s capable of, how it works, and why people should use it. 

The only downside is that it leaves the entire data infrastructure vulnerable if attackers were to find a way into the system. In essence, your entire data infrastructure is only as secure as its weakest link. For example, attackers can easily get into your system using a misplaced work device or smartphone, creating backdoor access to your network and stealing data.

What is ZTNA?

The Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is a new security model for networks created in the early 2010s that’s been gaining traction in the last few years. Its goal is to provide the highest level of security possible while also allowing users to access their networks from anywhere they want. 

It’s similar to the traditional VPN model, which allows users to connect and access resources remotely by creating an encrypted tunnel between devices in an organization and an external server (or cloud). However, unlike VPNs, it limits network access to only those users and specific devices that need it and only for the specific resources they require.

ZTNA eliminates the need for traditional VPNs and other perimeter-based security technologies by using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Software Defined Parameter (SDP) approach to cybersecurity that requires user identity, device security posture, and network location to determine whether or not they should be granted access. 

This reduces risk by providing better visibility into data flows across your entire infrastructure as well as better control over who has access where; allowing you to monitor what’s happening inside your organization more effectively than ever before!



Why use VPN over ZTNA?

VPNs have been around for much longer than ZTNA solutions, and they’re more widely used and understood by IT professionals. They’re also typically more affordable than ZTNA solutions, particularly for smaller organizations or those with limited budgets.

It’s easier to deploy as well because all that’s needed is a username and password and you have a secure connection. VPNs also offer much more flexibility than ZTNA solutions. They’re often compatible with a wide range of operating systems and devices, allowing you to connect with just about any device that has an Internet connection.

With ZTNA, network administrators need to individually configure each computer or device on the network in order to connect securely. With VPNs, you can simply install a client on any device and have it up and running immediately.

Furthermore, VPNs can be deployed on various platforms including desktops, laptops, smartphones as well as routers; thus allowing multiple devices under one subscription plan if desired. This makes them useful for both businesses who need secure connections across multiple locations but don’t want to pay extra per device; or individuals using public Wi-Fi hotspots while traveling abroad without worrying about information leakage through hackers sniffing out their data packets passing through unsecured networks.

Why use ZTNA over VPN?

ZTNA provides a more granular level of access control than VPNs, limiting access only to the specific resources that users and devices need. It uses contextual information such as device security posture and user identity to determine whether access should be granted, whereas VPNs simply authenticate users based on credentials. 

ZTNA does not require users to connect directly through the network, reducing the attack surface and minimizing risk of data breaches or other security incidents caused by compromised endpoints or rogue software running on those devices. This also makes it easier for employees to get to their desired data as they no longer need to sign into and activate VPNs every time they need to access company resources.

ZTNA is particularly well-suited for cloud-based and hybrid IT environments where traditional VPNs may not provide adequate protection. And because it’s an application-layer protocol, network admins can monitor the traffic and isolate suspicious or malicious traffic for further investigation.


Parting Thoughts 

While VPN has proven to be adequate for most organizations, there are some instances where it can be problematic. The rise of cloud computing and BYOD environments has increased the need for secure, reliable application-layer security protocols that can be used to access corporate resources. ZTNA is one such solution and has the advantage of being easier to implement than traditional VPNs.

Compared to VPNs, ZTNA solutions give organizations a higher level of control over their data controlling who, when, and precisely which resources can access company resources. So, if you’re looking for a way to provide secure, reliable connectivity to your end users and improve application-layer security, sign up for our FREE trial today!

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