George WilkesJune 15, 2022
Secure Remote Access Solutions for Remote Access Security Challenges
Remote work is here to stay as a post-pandemic mentality has employees seeking employment that continues to allow work-from-home flexibility. And the advancements of modern secure remote access solutions built on the principles of Zero Trust reduce risk and complexity with fast, simple, worry-free connections anytime from anywhere.
Over the past decade, remote work has been a rising trendline, even before a global pandemic made it a forced march. But as companies scrambled to secure a work-from-home deluge, they quickly ran into remote access security challenges because traditional VPNs couldn’t handle the demand.
During this time, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) has emerged as the secure access hero for reliable, fast user-to-resource and resource-to-resource connections from anyone to anything located anywhere … especially as the notion of securing a traditional corporate perimeter fades away. In fact, Gartner forecasts that 40% of remote access security will be serviced by ZTNA solutions by 2024, up from only 5% in 2020.
Today’s remote access security challenges
According to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, use of stolen credentials is the leading technique in breaches, which only amplifies the importance of remote access security. The days of siloed, traditional network security solutions are over. These outdated solutions no longer support the security and agility requirements of fully remote or hybrid enterprise. The perimeter has been turned inside out, driving demand for an access solution capable of protecting all resources in a lightweight and flexible manner. Some remote access security challenges include:
- Distributed workforce: Your attack surface grows with more users connecting from more locations.
- Distributed workloads: Accessing resources in the cloud or in data centers creates more connections and adds complexity to policy enforcements and entitlements.
- Human error: According to Verizon’s report, 82% of breaches over the past year “involved the human element” like stolen credentials, phishing, misuse and other errors.
Remote access security risks
Network connectivity isn’t just about accessing resources inside a traditional corporate perimeter anymore. Secure remote access solutions must be able to scale quickly to accommodate in flux workforces … whether fully remote, returning to offices and corporate campuses or somewhere in between. Users need to easily and securely gain access to dispersed resources that are on-premises, in data centers and in the cloud. Legacy remote access solutions add unnecessary risks, including:
- Overly broad access means users typically have more permissions than they need which ups the ante for threat actor entry points to your network’s resources
- “Trust, then verify” approach results in easy-to-exploit network vulnerabilities
- Weak, IP-centric authentication models that don’t provide identity or contextual awareness
- Lack of full-scale interoperability with all IT, security and business systems
- Wide open, continuously listening ports
Secure remote access solutions
Not all secure remote access solutions are created equal. ZTNA can protect your crown jewels better than legacy solutions and reduce your attack surface. The Zero Trust roots of ZTNA are growing more influential across the cybersecurity landscape. The U.S. government adopted Zero Trust via an executive order, and many in the private sector are following suit. According to a Forrester survey, 68% of respondents’ organizations plan to increase their Zero Trust investments.
Using Zero Trust security principles has proven to make organizations more resilient. According to the 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report, organizations that deployed mature Zero Trust programs reduced the average cost of a breach by $1.76 million compared to organizations that do not adhere to Zero Trust.
How to protect against remote access security issues
ZTNA brings agility to remote access security because it can scale, secure the cloud, is identity-centric, provides least privileged access and takes a “default deny” rather than “default allow” approach to access.
ZTNA continuously monitors context and dynamically adjusts privileges to resources located anywhere. If the context of a user or resource changes, privileges can automatically be changed or fully revoked. The user’s role, device’s security posture, geographic location and time that access is requested are just some of the conditions that ZTNA considers when determining whether or not access will be granted. Without these contextual and risk factors being evaluated, remote access security is at risk.
Benefits of secure remote access solutions
There are many advantages to ZTNA over legacy solutions, like agility, scalability and adopting the principle of least privileged access. Cloaking an organization’s infrastructure is another major benefit and is the aspect of ZTNA that reduces the attack surface. Making all resources and workloads invisible to any user that isn’t authenticated and authorized keeps the threat actors out.
Legacy solutions weren’t meant for the cloud, which is where most organizations are heading. ZTNA can assist a cloud migration because it scales like, and with, the cloud and uses a unified policy model to reduce the burden in provisioning secure access.
ZTNA also empowers DevOps teams to become DevSecOps by allowing concurrent access to multiple cloud environments and securing access to sessions rather than the whole network. This has been a game changer not just for access but also speeding up continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.
How to evaluate secure remote access solutions and vendors
The cybersecurity landscape is flooded with vendors and solutions, but not all of them will be right for you. Consider your use case to determine what features you need as you sift through the many secure remote access solutions on the market.
According to Gartner’s How to Select the Right ZTNA Offering, key capabilities to consider are the vendor’s platform (whether it offers a product or a service), connectivity (agent-based or agentless) and the level of visibility and control the vendor offers.
Appgate: A leader in secure remote access solutions
A report by global research firm Nemertes revealed that Appgate SDP, an industry-leading ZTNA solution, accelerated digital transformation initiatives by an average of 119% and was rated 9.5 out of 10 as being “most strategic to Zero Trust.”
Appgate SDP delivers remote access security with a reduced attack surface, simple administration and improved user experience so that users can connect from anywhere and any device to anything at any time.
Learn more about how Appgate SDP stands out among other secure remote access solutions by signing up for a weekly demo, available live every Wednesday.
Additional remote access security resources
10 Reasons It’s Time to Kick Your VPN to the Curb
eBook: Securing the Hybrid Enterprise
Data sheet: Zero Trust Facts vs. Fiction
Blog: How to Sort and Select Vendors to Achieve Comprehensive Zero Trust Access