VPN vs Zero Trust

VPN vs Zero Trust


Zero Trust is a new security pattern that has been gaining momentum in the tech community. It was produced by Forrester, and it seeks to solve the problem of privileged users abusing their access to servers and data. The idea behind Zero Trust is simple: If you are interacting with something on a network, you must authenticate your identity before being granted any access to sensitive information or systems. That means no more shared passwords and no more trusting anyone who walks onto your network claiming they need information or access. There are two different approaches for implementing this “zero trust” approach: VPNs and micro-segmentation. Both offer the same basic features: reducing risk by limiting the attack surface of an organization’s network. In this blog, you will know about VPN vs Zero Trust.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A VPN is simply the act of encrypting all data between two endpoints before passing that data across a shared or public network. According to https://vpntesting.com, Once the data is encrypted using an agreed-upon key, then information becomes essentially impossible to break without possessing that key. VPNs are often used by businesses to allow employees remote access to their company’s private servers through encrypted tunnels while on the move or remotely logging into work networks via insecure Wi-Fi hotspots. The encryption protects sensitive business communications from interference and VPNs can also be used to bypass content-filtering geo-blocks.

VPNs have been around for a long time though, so what makes them compete against Zero Trust?

Threats: VPNs are unsafe to attacks on their endpoints, the software installed on the computer that establishes the connection. This is especially true on Windows machines, which historically have not been as secure as their fellows running Mac OS. No matter how good your endpoint protection is, it is always going to leave some threats by nature of how the software works. If VPN software is installed on your endpoint, it creates another attack surface. VPNs are also unprotected from network-based attacks, such as the types of man-in-the-middle attacks mentioned previously. They do provide some security benefits; they can be exploited by an attacker who is able to gain access to your local network infrastructure. This means that someone could potentially get past the VPN itself and circumvent all of its encryption protections if their exploits are talented enough.

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Micro-segmentation secures networks by using virtual firewalls between each user and system, essentially creating a network in a box for each person or device. This is done by using software tools to create virtual network segments that can be controlled via permissions.

So why would micro-segmentation stand up against VPNs?

Since micro-segmentation is enforced at the user level, it is completely transparent because there is no need to install software that acts as a mediator between two endpoints. There are no additional attack surfaces created because the segmentation occurs directly on the machine itself. The only way to defeat micro-segmentation is via network-level attacks attempting to exploit your network infrastructure for access. This kind of attack would require an attacker to first breach one of the other firewalls (network, endpoint, application) within the system itself. It is not like they can just hop over it without leaving some kind of trace that they were there. VPNs are vulnerable to these types of network-based attacks because their endpoints act as a bridge between two different networks, the Internet at large and your internal network.


When you use both together VPN vs Zero Trust, you create overlapping protection against any potential threats trying to take advantage of.


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