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George WilkesOctober 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?


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 1990s when most IT systems were on- premises, VPNs were used to allow users to occasionally access files from home or while on business travel. Now workloads located on-premises, in the cloud or both, plus “work-from-anywhere” trends, are driving demand for VPN alternatives that surgically authenticate users to protect your data, won’t slow connections and scale seamlessly with your ever-sprawling hybrid IT ecosystems.

Where VPNs fall short

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 seeking to get into your network by targeting your 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, when it comes to VPNs, the three big security red flags are:

  • VPNs have easily scannable open ports
  • 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.

Should you ditch your VPN?

Frankly, yes, you should to ensure stronger secure remote access to your network. But it’s not always feasible to replace your VPN overnight. The good news is you can augment it now by choosing one of today’s more secure and agile VPN alternatives, then phase it 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.

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.

ZTNA is the way

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.

ZTNA as a VPN alternative

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.

Appgate SDP: a leading VPN alternatives choice

Nearly every enterprise and government agency have legacy VPNs ingrained in security stacks, so know you’re not alone in your quest for VPN alternatives. VPN replacement is the most prevalent use case we encounter today for customers seeking a modern secure remote access solution based on Zero Trust 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 platform 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.

Still unsure of ZTNA as a VPN alternative?

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 a VPN alternative and are here to get you to on your way to deploying our industry-leading Zero Trust Network Access solution. Take the first step by exploring these additional resources or scheduling a demo of Appgate SDP below.

Additional resources:

Five Steps for Successful VPN to ZTNA Migration ebook

Zero Trust Starts With Secure Access infographic

Demo Appgate SDP

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