The rise of remote work policies has led to a surge in security concerns and exposed the weaknesses of traditional network security architecture. The conventional security methods rely on a centralized physical setup that is not capable of safeguarding the latest cloud-based systems. Moreover, cyber-attackers are continually enhancing their methods, necessitating IT administrators to adopt more advanced security measures.
The challenge of network access security is often addressed through the use of two solutions: Zero-trust network access (ZTNA or ZTA) and virtual private networks (VPNs). Increased ransomware attacks and the challenges of remote work models are driving current and planned zero-trust strategies for many businesses.
Let’s take a look at the differences, similarities, and benefits behind these two approaches to determine which is the right security solution for your business.
Virtual private networks
A virtual private network (VPN) is a secure connection between your device and the internet. It encrypts your internet traffic and tunnels it through a remote server, making it difficult for hackers to intercept your data. VPNs have been around for decades and are widely used by businesses to access their corporate network securely. VPNs are easy to set up and can be used on any device, making them a popular choice for remote workers.
PNs offer several benefits, including:
While VPNs offer several benefits, there are limitations to consider. One of these is that VPNs operate on a trust-based model. Once you connect to a VPN, you are trusted to access all the resources on the corporate network. This means that if your device is compromised, hackers can gain access to the entire network.
Another limitation of VPNs is that they can be slow and unreliable, particularly when accessing resources that are located far away. This is because VPNs route all your internet traffic through a remote server, which can cause latency issues.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) describes zero-trust as a developing approach to cybersecurity that moves away from relying on fixed network boundaries and instead emphasizes users, assets, and resources. Zero-trust operates under the assumption that assets and user accounts should not automatically be trusted based on their physical or network location.
Zero-trust is a security model that assumes that no one is trustworthy and verifies every user and device that tries to access the corporate network. This means that every user and device must be authenticated and authorized before they can access any resources on the network.
Zero-trust security is based on the following principles:
Zero-trust security is becoming increasingly popular as businesses look for ways to secure their networks and data from cyber-attacks.
VPN vs zero-trust
The key difference between VPNs and zero-trust security is the trust model they operate on. VPNs operate on a trust-based model, where users are trusted to access all the resources on the network once they connect to the VPN. Zero-trust security, on the other hand, operates on a model where no one is trusted and every user and device must be authenticated and authorized before they can access any resources on the network.
Another difference between VPNs and zero-trust security is the level of access they provide. VPNs provide access to the entire corporate network once a user is authenticated, while zero-trust security offers privilege access control, so users access only the resources that are necessary to complete the task. This prevents hackers from gaining access to the entire network if they manage to infiltrate.
Implementing zero-trust security in your business
Implementing zero-trust security in your business can be a complex process. It requires a fundamental shift in the way you think about security and a significant investment in time and resources. Here are some steps you can take to implement zero-trust security in your business:
Benefits of zero-trust security
Zero-trust security offers several benefits, including:
Choosing the right security solution for your Chicago business
Choosing the right security solution for your business is essential to protect your valuable data and prevent cyber-attacks. While VPNs and zero-trust security are both effective in their ways, they operate on different trust models and offer different levels of access. The network security consultants at Aquarius IQ can evaluate your security needs and requirements before helping you to stay ahead of the game when it comes to cybersecurity. By implementing the right security measures, you can protect your valuable data and prevent cyber-attacks.