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Risk-Based Authentication
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Strong Authentication
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Transaction Monitoring
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Take a deep dive into the features and tools contained within our industry-leading Digital Threat Protection (DTP) solution.

Appgate CybersecurityOctober 5, 2021

VPN Alternatives: It’s Time For More Secure Remote Access

If you’re still using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you’re not alone. But as VPN limitations and breaches drive headline news, many organizations realize that VPNs can no longer secure remote access in a world without perimeters where users log on to your network from anywhere. But what is the best enterprise choice when seeking VPN alternatives to secure your hybrid IT and scattered workforce? Learn more about alternatives to VPN connections.

The History of VPNs

For decades, virtual private networks (VPNs) have been a common access control standard, despite failing to readily adapt to digital transformation initiatives or evolving cyber risks. Introduced in the mid-'90s when most IT systems were on-premises, VPNs were created to allow users to occasionally access files from home or while on business travel. 

Now workloads hosted on-premises, in the cloud or both, plus “work-from-anywhere” trends, are driving demand for VPN alternatives built on Zero Trust security principles that surgically authenticate users to protect your data, won’t slow connections and scale seamlessly with sprawling hybrid IT ecosystems. Now, more than ever, alternatives to VPN connections are needed to better protect secure organizations and their employees working remotely.

Why we need to consider VPN alternatives

One of the biggest problems with VPNs is that once a user is authenticated, they likely have access to most of your network. A VPN can’t segment a network and doesn’t re-authenticate unless the connection ends. That leaves an opening for threat actors to get into your network by targeting users with malware, phishing, social engineering and other malicious schemes. 

VPNs also universally leave a port open to listen for connections, a feature that inherently makes your network more vulnerable. Ultimately, why we need to consider VPN alternatives comes down to three big security red flags:

  • VPNs have easily scannable open ports that are front doors to your network. 
  • VPNs based trusted access on the user’s IP address making it easy to gain access with stolen credentials
  • VPNs aren’t designed to secure distributed, hybrid IT infrastructure

Considering these red flags, many organizations are actively deploying VPN alternatives. Isn't it time your company considers moving away from VPN, too? The well-documented reasons why you should be looking for VPN alternatives like proven Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) are almost too many to list.

Should you ditch your VPN?

Frankly, yes, you should to ensure stronger secure access to your network for employees that are working remotely. And because VPNs were created to enable secure remote access to corporate networks for mobile workers, they can't scale to become the single solution that secures access for your hybrid workforces connecting to modern corporate networks with resources scattered everywhere. Even as a remote-access only solution, you only have to read the latest headlines to know they are slow, cumbersome and prone to cybersecurity breaches. 

Fortunately, VPN alternatives that are steeped in Zero Trust security principles are more secure and agile. These VPN alternatives can be used to augment your existing VPN, or they can be phased in as a replacement. Either way, they will address the most pressing security concerns in your network.

But it’s not always feasible to replace your VPN overnight. The good news is you can augment it now by choosing VPN alternatives built on a Zero Trust model, then phase your VPN out by following a strategic plan. Start with your most critical secure remote access concerns and move practically across the network until you’ve addressed the most pressing security gaps. 

Alternatives to VPN connections

Now that you know you should abandon your VPN, you may be wondering about alternatives to VPN connections. Considering one of the biggest red flags with VPNs is that they create a large attack surface, you’ll want to adopt Zero Trust security that follows a “never trust, extensively verify” strategy. For many, Zero Trust starts with secure remote access and, as an industry-leading provider of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), we continue to advocate #killtheVPN. The following comparison chart reinforces why ZTNA should be considered as the solution of choice when reviewing VPN alternatives.

VPN Alternatives - Alternatives to VPN Connections - Secure Remote Access - VPN Alternative - Secure Remote VPN Alternative - Alternatives to VPN
VPN vs ZTNA | VPN Alternatives Comparison Chart

ZTNA tops the list of VPN alternatives

Businesses today are evaluating alternatives to VPN connections, and are looking to Zero Trust Network Access as the solution. The industry is evolving and ZTNA, a term used interchangeably with software-defined perimeter (SDP), is built on the “authenticate first, connect second” principle of least privilege to verify identity, grant entitlements, permit access and monitor for changes. 

As a VPN alternative, ZTNA only allows a user to gain access to your network after being authenticated and is only authorized to use the resources they need to do their job. ZTNA is also cloud-centric, so it is engineered to excel in today’s hybrid IT and cloud environments where VPNs struggle.

When considering VPN alternatives, many enterprises are turning to ZTNA. In fact, according to Gartner, “by 2024, at least 40% of all remote access usage will be served predominantly by Zero Trust Network Access, up from less than 5% at the end of 2020.” Even as enterprise hybrid workforce environments transform, comprehensive ZTNA solutions easily and quickly adapt to secure access for anyone from anywhere to anything, anytime.

Companies need a comprehensive ZTNA solution to deliver all the security capabilities organizations need to support their hybrid workforces. Your enterprise should be able to confidently move beyond VPNs to a modern Zero Trust security architecture that is purpose-built for today’s digital era.

Appgate SDP: a leading VPN alternatives choice

We understand that migrating to a modern remote access solution can be a daunting task, but we can be your partner every step of the way. Nearly every enterprise and government agency has legacy VPNs ingrained in their security stacks, so you’re not the only one seeking out VPN alternatives. In fact, VPN replacement is the most prevalent use case we encounter today as customers seek a modern secure remote access solution based on Zero Trust security principles. And we’re here to support you along the way so you don’t have to go it alone.

Appgate SDP is full-featured network security solution that delivers the industry’s most comprehensive Zero Trust Network Access. Regardless of how your hybrid workforce environment changes, Appgate SDP ensures consistent, secure user access across all workloads and can be deployed on premise, in private clouds, or public clouds like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Serious about VPN alternatives? Explore Appgate SDP 

Evaluating VPN alternatives can seem daunting, so working with an experienced, trusted partner is imperative. Appgate has been named a ZTNA Leader in the 2021 Forrester New Wave, receiving a differentiated rating, the highest possible, in six criteria, including deployment flexibility, non-web and legacy apps, ecosystem integration, client support, connector capabilities and product vision. 

Every day, we work with customers seeking VPN alternatives and are here to get you on your way to deploying our industry-leading Zero Trust Network Access solution. Take the first step by exploring these additional resources or signing up for a live demo of Appgate SDP.

Additional Zero Trust security resources

Five Steps for Successful VPN to ZTNA Migration ebook

VPN Alternatives eBook: 5 Steps for Successful VPN to ZTNA Migration
VPN Alternatives- VPN Replacement - VPN Alternative - Secure Remote Access

Zero Trust Starts With Secure Access infographic

Podcast: Zero Trust Security: Buzzword or Breakthrough?

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