Posted on 18 July 2022

VPNs vs Zero trust – What are they and should I use one?

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In today’s tech heavy world, cyber security has never been more important – especially where your business is concerned.

With cyber-attacks becoming increasingly frequent and dangerous, you need to be confident that your data and IT systems are safe and secure.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one way to protect your business, but an alternative security model known as Zero trust networking is on the rise and could be set to take over as a more effective solution in the near future.

Enterprise VPN for business

Enterprise VPN/Cloud VPN allows you to connect to your organisation’s resources remotely from any location, regardless of whether the data is stored locally or on the cloud.

The idea behind a business VPN is that it prevents a company’s private or sensitive data from being exposed on the internet. Without a VPN, employees would have to connect to their company’s internal network over the public internet, leaving themselves and the business vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Zero trust networking

Although similar to VPNs, Zero trust networking involves more comprehensive security measures and is better equipped to meet the needs of modern businesses. It is built on the foundation of ‘never trust, always verify’ and is designed to protect your whole IT network by  strong authentication methods, such as individual verification for every user and every device that requests access.

Zero trust came about after revaluating the assumption that anything inside a business network should be implicitly trusted. This outdated belief makes a business more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, whereas operating under the assumption that everything – internal and external – is a potential threat is the best way to ensure the highest level of security for your business.

In a post-covid hybrid working environment, the cloud has never been more important but remote access can create more vulnerabilities from a cyber security perspective. The advanced security that Zero trust networking provides keeps your business’ data protected during remote access.

Zero trust networking

Benefits 

  1. Meets the threats of today
  2. Caters for remote working practices
  3. Provides a better user experience
  4. Allows better collaboration between organisations.
  5. Better visibility of the status of your devices and services

Drawbacks 

  1. Transitioning to zero trust can be difficult
  2. Limited access when employees switch roles
  3. Constant administration to support access and permissions
  4. May not be suitable for legacy applications

VPN’s

Benefits 

  1. Easy remote access
  2. Multiple server locations
  3. A kill switch
  4. Anonymous DNS servers
  5. No-log policy

Drawbacks 

  1. Not designed for continuous use
  2. Complexity inhibits scalability
  3. Shortage of granular security
  4. Unpredictable performance
  5. Unreliable availability

So, which is better – Zero trust networking or VPN?

Zero trust is a more comprehensive, trustworthy, and effective network that trumps VPN in more ways than one. Zero trust networking updates and monitors continuously in real time, minimising opportunity for breaches or attacks.

A traditional VPN takes a less holistic and broader approach to cyber security. VPN’s biggest pitfall is that it automatically trusts authorised users, which can make your network less secure.

Although VPN still has a multitude of benefits to offer, Zero trust is ultimately the way to go. As a more modern and more advanced alternative to VPN, it can provide your business with a higher level of cyber security.

If you would like more expert advice on the benefits and drawbacks of Zero trust or VPNs for your business, get in touch with us today.