Due to the frequent use of mobile devices and public Wi-Fi networks, resources often need to be accessible from anywhere. But this accessibility must be balanced with the need for security. Traditional VPNs enable secure remote access, but more is needed. This extends beyond the need to further increase the security of remote access into the fact that many of today’s applications and data are no longer behind the network perimeter: they have moved to the cloud. This increasing use of the cloud highlights the need for a new, next generation VPN. Hence the debate of SDP Vs VPN. But when Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) can function as a next generation VPN, there is no need to compromise.
Current Generation VPN
Current generation VPNs have worked for years to make accessing resources remotely easier and more secure. Thanks to them, people can access resources from beyond their current network. VPNs work to send all your network traffic to a separate network. This allows you to access resources that are not locally available. They also provide features like improved security through encryption, limited profiled based access, and visibility and monitoring. At the same time, the focus of the current generation of VPN remains upon protecting resources behind, what has proven to be, an ineffective network perimeter. For this reason, it’s time for a more cloud-friendly alternative that accounts for the need for internal security within both a network and the cloud instead of relying on a firewall to protect a network perimeter as this can lead to vulnerabilities.
Next Generation VPN–Software Define Perimeter Benefits
SDP is an approach to cybersecurity based on the Zero Trust Model. SDP works to provide the same user experience to those on-premise or beyond a network’s perimeter while granting access to only the resources users need. This ability to provide the same experience means that users don’t need to remember to connect the way they would with a current generation VPN. For a more in depth look at how SDP improves security, see toolbox’s article Achieve a Zero Trust Network with a Software Defined Perimeter.
Next generation VPN benefits of SDP include the following:
- Provides a Zero Trust/least privilege model—authorize then connect
- Mutual TLS using a provided PKI
- No ports open for public snooping/hacking
- Microsegmentation—a tunnel of one
- Policy-based configuration ensures users can only access specific resources
- Integrates with your existing Identity Access Mechanism (SAML/AD/LDAP)
- No additional hardware or network integration required
- Consistent user experience on premise or off
- Lightweight client requires no end user configuration
- Control access whether applications are on premise or in the cloud
- Provides additional security without additional throughput degradation
- Additional security without significantly more experience
SDP Vs VPN—SDP Offers More
As the list above details, SDP provides not only all the features of a current generation VPN but more security, including application-based security. It is worth expanding on a few of the advantages of SDP.
Given the nature of current generation VPNs, they are open to attack through the public internet. As mentioned previously, SDP helps eliminate this problem using its technique of leaving ports blocked and encrypting all traffic.
While current generation VPNs can achieve similar results through user-based access policy, the results are often less flexible and tedious to put into place and maintain. With SDP, on the other hand, native integration with SAML, LDAP, or Active Directory can permit you to make changes to group membership and immediately impact the access policies for users in your existing Identity Access Management solution.
Another key use case of SDP is as application security. Current VPNs do not directly address application security. Once you are on remotely, you have broad access to resources within the perimeter. This means that if a user’s VPN password is phished, the attacker has that same broad access. SDP helps protect applications and data against such attacks by preventing lateral access to resources—a user only has access to a very narrow set of resources, and with SDPs ability to authenticate access with MFA before permitting the connection to resources, there are multiple levels of protection. The result is enhanced application and data access security for internal wired and wireless-based network perimeter devices. As an added bonus, this use case addresses regulatory compliance for a wide variety of industries all while improving the end user’s experience through an easy, consistent approach to accessing protected applications and data.
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