Drop My VPN – Are You Nuts?

If the title of this post caught your attention, maybe you’ve thought about moving on from your VPN because of performance issues or security concerns, but are still researching alternatives.  

On the other hand, perhaps you actually do think it’s nuts to consider replacing your VPN when security threats are more prevalent and sophisticated than ever.

Whether it’s already on your mind or you’re still contemplating your options, read on to learn why dropping your legacy VPN is the right move.

VPNs Have Been a Mainstay for Many Years

Well before remote and hybrid work became commonplace, the traditional Virtual Private Network (VPN) was the go-to solution for secure remote access. When they first came on the scene, VPNs provided an alternative to file transfer protocol (FTP) or unsecured file sharing servers (or even physical media!) to share data and applications with distant collaborators.

The use of VPNs was clearly more efficient and enabled data privacy and encryption, but the network security landscape is now vastly different.

As technology has evolved and cyber threats have become more varied and numerous, many companies are realizing that legacy VPNs are no longer up to the task. Enter Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), a modern approach to secure remote access that offers numerous advantages over traditional VPNs.

The Undeniable Superiority of ZTNA

First, let’s talk about security. Legacy VPNs operate on a trust-but-verify model, where once a user is authenticated, they have access to everything behind the corporate firewall. This can pose a significant security risk, especially if a user’s credentials are compromised.

On the other hand, as the name indicates, ZTNA follows a zero-trust model. This means that access is granted based on identity and context, rather than simply holding some credentials. And ZTNA solutions feature granular access controls that grant users permissions to specific applications and data. This significantly reduces the attack surface and mitigates the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive data.

But security is just one piece of the puzzle. Another significant advantage of ZTNA is its scalability. Legacy VPNs often struggle to accommodate a growing number of remote workers and devices, leading to performance issues and bottlenecks. For example, if the VPN is in Denver and you have team members scattered across the west and southeast US, all that traffic must be backhauled to Denver before heading to its destination.

ZTNA, conversely, is cloud-based so it scales seamlessly and allows companies to support a distributed workforce without sacrificing performance or security.

ZTNA also offers a more user-centric approach to remote access. Legacy VPNs can be cumbersome and complex for end-users, requiring them to navigate multiple logins and authentication steps. Compare that with ZTNA, which provides frictionless access to resources regardless of the user’s location or device. This not only improves user experience but also increases productivity and satisfaction among remote workers.

Let’s Clear Up Any Remaining Doubts

Despite these clear benefits, some companies may hesitate to replace their legacy VPNs with ZTNA. One common concern is the perceived complexity of implementing ZTNA. After all, migrating away from a familiar technology can be daunting, especially for IT teams already stretched thin. However, the best ZTNA solutions are designed to be easy to deploy and manage, with minimal disruption to existing workflows. The right technology partner can make the transition to ZTNA smooth and painless.

Cost is another factor that may give companies pause. The lower upfront cost of traditional VPNs may seem appealing, but they can be expensive to maintain and scale over time. On the other hand, ZTNA solutions typically offer more predictable pricing, with costs based on usage rather than infrastructure. More importantly, the cost of a data breach or security incident far outweighs the investment in modernizing remote access infrastructure.

Lastly, there’s the issue of compatibility with existing systems and applications. Companies that have heavily invested in legacy infrastructure may worry about integrating ZTNA with their existing tools and workflows. However, many ZTNA solutions are designed to be interoperable with a wide range of platforms and applications, ensuring a seamless transition for users and IT teams alike.

So, while replacing a legacy VPN with ZTNA may seem daunting, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. From improved security and scalability to enhanced user experience and cost-effectiveness, ZTNA is clearly the better choice for remote access.

Still not convinced? Book a short demo with our team and get answers to all your questions!