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Anurag Vishwakarma
Anurag Vishwakarma

Posted on • Originally published at

VPN vs. Zero Trust Network: Which is More Secure for Remote Access?

Remote access is a crucial feature for many businesses and organizations that need to enable their employees, partners, or customers to access their network resources from anywhere. However, remote access also poses significant security challenges, as it exposes the network to potential attacks from unauthorized or malicious users.

One of the traditional ways to secure remote access is to use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN creates a secure tunnel between the user's device and the network, encrypting the traffic and hiding the user's IP address. However, VPNs have some limitations and drawbacks, such as:

  • VPNs can be difficult to configure and maintain, especially for large or complex networks.
  • VPNs can introduce performance issues, such as latency, bandwidth consumption, and compatibility problems with some applications or devices.
  • VPNs can create a false sense of security, as they assume that anyone who has access to the network is trustworthy. This can lead to a lack of visibility and control over the network activity and expose the network to insider threats or compromised credentials.

A more modern and innovative approach to secure remote access is to use a zero trust network (ZTN). A ZTN is based on the principle of "never trust, always verify", which means that every user, device, and request is verified before granting access to the network. A ZTN uses various technologies and methods, such as:

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA), which requires the user to provide more than one piece of evidence to prove their identity, such as a password, a code, or a biometric factor.
  • Device posture assessment, which checks the device's health and compliance with the security policies before allowing access to the network.
  • Micro-segmentation, which divides the network into smaller zones with different levels of access and protection, based on the user's role, location, and context.
  • Continuous monitoring and auditing, which tracks and records the network activity and alerts or blocks any suspicious or anomalous behaviour.

A ZTN offers several advantages over a VPN, such as:

  • A ZTN is easier to deploy and manage, as it does not require complex configurations or hardware installations.
  • A ZTN provides better performance, as it does not add any overhead or interference to the network traffic.
  • A ZTN enhances security, as it reduces the attack surface and prevents unauthorized or malicious access to the network.

Therefore, a ZTN is more secure than a VPN for remote access, as it provides a more granular, dynamic, and adaptive way to protect the network from internal and external threats. A ZTN also enables a better user experience, as it allows users to access the network resources they need without compromising speed or quality.

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