How to Secure Your Network? Would Alternatives to VPN be the Better Option?
Gone are the days when server support meant securing a localized data centre with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs offer state-of-the-art scenarios where the network perimeter means a solitary web portal.
The zeitgeist has ushered in a wide range of technological innovations such as the cloud, virtualization, and microservice architectures. In all its entirety, how to secure your network?
Since the burgeoning list of cyber-threats on the horizon call for a much more versatile, expansive, and far-sighted security solution, it’s important to have something more concrete and safe in place.
This is where Software-Defined Perimeters (SDPs) come in and lead the way. But first, let us take a look and understand why VPNs are losing their firm footing in the technology market.
VPN’s and their incumbent security risks
Virtual Private Networks have worked as the first line of defence since time immemorial; web entities used VPNs for every piece of protection, ever since they came into practice two decades ago.
VPN, as the name suggests, helps us encrypt our data networks, especially if they transmit sensitive business information and client-oriented discrete data. Your data remains safely ensconced between layers of security protocols, thereby providing limited remote access to anyone without the right privileges.
This so-called traditional VPN architecture has helped businesses set up secure intranets so that unauthorized intrusion can be detected, with an aim to prevent misuse of confidential data.
As technology’s becoming accessible, so is the need for acquiring a secure standard of cyber protection. In the modern scenario, where organizations have to rely on traffic from a myriad of client devices, it becomes difficult to maintain ongoing visibility with a VPN.
Why are VPNs phasing out?
● Routing problems
Data is delivered in a VPN setup in the form of a hub and spoke model. However, the modern decentralized models of productivity, which are based upon the cloud, require data processing with traffic detours. As a result, the VPN performance quality is reduced. Poor routing control leads to poor visibility over client traffic for private networks.
● Network visibility problems
VPNs have the task of securing linear, point-to-point connections. The remote connection between a client and the server is quite distinct, with different iterations of links to everything. However, as enterprise-scale businesses begin to rely on web hooks, APIs, and micro services, it becomes difficult to render threat detection. Additionally, visibility over network data analytics is reduced.
● Scalability problems
VPNs require a complex mesh of privatized site links that are a challenge to scale. As the network scales in size and function, it becomes difficult to grant security even at the most granular user level.
● Software security problems
VPN endpoints have become a soft target for cyber attacks. The smallest block of unpatched software can spiral into a doorway for some of the biggest cyber attacks. Gateway exposures can lead to your data falling prey to ransomware attacks, which are increasingly common nowadays.
● Problems with insufficient built-in security
VPN tunnels do not have sufficient built-in security to support modern client requests. In the past, encryption protocols such as IPSec, SSL, WireGuard, and the likes were enough to grant this layer of protection.
However, VPNs have proven to be quite archaic in modern scenarios where dynamic and bespoke internal network policies are implemented. Even security policy automation is a challenge for the most part with VPNs.
So, how to secure your network? Let us take a look at Software-Defined Perimeters as a possible, viable alternative to traditional VPNs.
How to secure your network with Software-Defined Perimeters?
Software-Defined Parameters can be considered as a malleable security framework that can be scaled up and down as per requirement. For such a sophisticated function, SDPs have a rather simple but efficient approach.
SDPs render one-to-one connections between each instance of client-server interaction; subsequently, the resources they use are added as an extension. As a result, all unauthorized network resources are inaccessible.
SDPs work on a software level, unlike VPNs, which work on a hardware level. You can implement them on end-user devices, gateways, controllers, and deploy them for private business clouds too.
But, unlike VPNs, it is not possible to assess whether the network service is rendered on-premises or on a decentralized cloud. SDPs do not function on the application layer, but instead on the asset layer. This enables a number of security benefits.
5 ways SDPs can secure your network
● SDPs and their Zero-Trust policy
SDPs offer customized security policies for each user. Unlike VPNs, where the same custom hardware security protocol is emphasized over every remote access, SDPs adhere to custom policies based on client identity.
With a zero-trust approach in tow, no client system avails an iota of resource more than what they are granted; this, in turn, reduces the window for cyber attacks.
Continuous verification creates a strict mandate of unique and fixed user identities. Every remote access is under a broad scope of supervision. Therefore, there is a reduced chance of your network falling prey to DDoS attacks.
SDP’s next-generation access capabilities further enhance user authentication protocols, multi-factor authentications, and centralize identity management of decentralized clients with a Single Sign-On (SSO) facility.
● Support for Cloud decentralization
Modern VPNs are incapable of supporting sophisticated, distributed computing networks. For this very reason, it becomes challenging to grant data and operational security to remote users over the modern hybrid cloud and multi-cloud configurations.
SDPs can help set up secure multi-cloud access points that allow users to work remotely with business data and apps, via concurrent encrypted tunnels.
● Simplified network administration
One of the best factors of SDP is that managing this whole scenario is quite straightforward. A network administrator can easily onboard network resources and maintain user accessibility centrally, by extending the central management of distributed networks.
This is not the case for VPNs, where there is a constant need to synchronize and set up network resources individually for all data centres.
● Improved User Experience
Corporate VPNs have to cater their services to multiple applications, which are used by multiple users. The performance of the network gets patchy over remote connections, causing disruptions in business operations.
On the contrary, SDPs allow multiple concurrent connections to work in tandem. The positive qualities of SDP pontificated, comes together to optimize Points-of-Presence, reduce latency, and handshake connections between client systems and data centres, which are smartly based on proximity.
● Scalability benefits
Scalability is of paramount importance in corporate scenarios. Businesses need to be able to deploy and maintain a flexible network presence that can provide more data support, enable more users, and assist in network operations, etc.
This becomes difficult with VPNs, as scaling support for all three requirements means higher network security costs.
SDPs, on the other hand, can help reduce these costs with a more intelligent SaaS solution. Global Points-of-Presence options that do not require immediate investment are a part of the bigger solution. SDPs allow you to scale network security and supervision for temporary and even clientless remote client systems and require minimal IT administrative intervention.
Thus, SDPs help you expand a secure network perimeter, where the scope of security breaches becomes inversely proportional. The first half of 2021 alone witnessed some 98.2 million-odd data breaches, with tech businesses becoming a soft target for these attacks.
Consequently, the decision to migrate from VPNs to a better standard of security merits immediate consideration.