The rise of remote work in the wake of the pandemic has made secure remote access solutions critical for many businesses. While historically many organizations have used virtual private networks (VPNs), for remote access, zero trust network access (ZTNA) is a solution that is better suited to many companies’ needs.
ZTNA is a secure remote access solution that implements zero trust security principles with application-specific permissions. Remote workers requesting access to corporate assets will be granted access to specific resources on a case-by-case basis taking into account role-based access controls and contextual authentication data, such as IP address, location, user group or role, and time restrictions.
VPNs provide remote users with an experience similar to a direct connection to the corporate network. The VPN client software and VPN endpoint on the enterprise network establish an encrypted channel that all data is sent over before being routed to its destination. This protects against eavesdropping and enables all business traffic to be inspected by perimeter-based security solutions regardless of its source.
VPNs are the traditional choice for secure remote access because they work well with legacy perimeter-based security models. However, they have several limitations that make them ill-suited to the security needs of the modern enterprise, including:
VPNs are designed for the traditional perimeter-focused security strategy. However, this strategy has major issues that, combined with the limitations of VPNs, have inspired Forrester to create 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.
With a zero trust security strategy, VPNs are no longer a viable secure remote access solution. ZTNA offers an alternative with several benefits when compared to VPNs, including:
In addition to its security limitations, VPNs also have issues with scalability and performance. For companies looking to upgrade their secure remote access solutions and implement a zero trust architecture, ZTNA is a good alternative to the legacy corporate VPN.
ZTNA can best be deployed as part of a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution, which combines a full network security stack with network optimization capabilities such as Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN). By deploying SASE, organizations can move away from perimeter-based security models to a zero trust architecture built for the distributed enterprise.
To learn more about deploying secure remote access via ZTNA and SASE, check out ESG’s Guide to Adopting SASE Network Security. Then, see the capabilities of Harmony Connect, Check Point’s SASE solution, for yourself by signing up for a free demo today.