Goodbye VPN, Hello ZTNA

Goodbye VPN Hello ZTNA

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have been the go-to solution for secure remote access to corporate networks for decades. However, the rise of cloud computing, mobile workforces, and increasingly sophisticated cyber threats have exposed VPNs’ inherent vulnerabilities. That’s why Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is rapidly becoming the preferred method for securing remote access in the modern workplace. This is what has businesses saying, “Goodbye VPN, hello ZTNA.”

Some Current Thinking

In a recent report, Cybersecurity Insiders uncovered some startling sentiments among technology professionals. Based on a survey of 593 IT professionals and cybersecurity experts, we now see this:

  • 92% of respondents view VPNs as a threat to their network security and 81% are dissatisfied with their VPN experience.
  • 75% view ZTNA as a priority for their business. Additionally, 59% either have adopted or plan to adopt ZTNA within the next 24 months.

So why are VPNs falling out of favor with businesses?

Understanding the Shift from VPN to ZTNA

Here’s why businesses are migrating from VPNs to ZTNAs:

  • Security Limitations of VPNs: VPNs provide broad network-level access. They also assume that, once within the network perimeter, users can be trusted. Accordingly, attackers can gain unfettered access to sensitive internal resources if a user’s credentials are compromised.
  • The Zero Trust Principle: ZTNA operates on the “never trust, always verify” principle. It grants access only to specific applications or resources that a user needs, constantly authenticates, and verifies users, and enforces granular access controls. This minimizes the attack surface and reduces the risk of lateral movement within the network if a user is compromised.
  • Adaptability for a Hybrid Workforce: ZTNA solutions are cloud-native, making them ideal for remote and distributed teams. Unlike VPNs that often bottleneck traffic through a central gateway, ZTNA offers direct, optimized connections to applications, greatly improving user experience and productivity.

Statistics: The Market Speaks

  • A recent survey indicates that over 80% of businesses still rely on VPNs for remote access.
  • However, the ZTNA market is projected to grow at 16.9% CAGR through 2028, reflecting the rapid adoption of this technology. [Source: MarketsandMarkets Zero Trust Security Market Report]

Goodbye VPN Vulnerabilities

When introduced to the marketplace, VPNs for business networks held the promise of secure, remote access. VPNs haven’t fundamentally changed, however, while the threat landscape continues to evolve. This has exposed VPNs for what they are—and are not:

  • Overly Permissive Access: VPNs often grant users wider network access than necessary, increasing the attack surface.
  • Outdated Encryption: Some VPNs may utilize legacy encryption protocols that are vulnerable to exploitation.
  • Poor Visibility and Control: VPNs can make it challenging to monitor network traffic and identify suspicious activity.
  • Susceptibility to Malware: VPN clients on endpoint devices can introduce security vulnerabilities, especially when devices are unmanaged.

Hello ZTNA: Secure, Granular, and Flexible

ZTNA represents the evolution of network security that VPNs haven’t. ZTNA addresses VPN shortcomings by:

  • Enforcing Least Privilege Access: Each user and device is given only the access rights required to perform their specific tasks.
  • Continuous Authentication: Continuous monitoring of user identity and context throughout the session ensures compliance and reduces unauthorized access.
  • Reducing the Attack Surface: ZTNA cloaks internal network infrastructure, making it invisible to potential attackers.
  • Scalability and User Experience: With ZTNA, seamless and secure remote access becomes the norm regardless of the user’s device or location.

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

The shift from VPNs to ZTNA represents a fundamental change in how organizations think about remote access security. As VPN vulnerabilities become more evident, businesses embracing a Zero Trust framework will undoubtedly reap the benefits of ZTNA’s enhanced security, user experience, and adaptability in an increasingly dynamic threat landscape. PKA has partnered with HPE Aruba to provide cutting-edge ZTNA solutions that can help your business say goodbye to VPN and hello to ZTNA. If that’s a conversation you think is worth having, reach out. We’re always listening.