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Worried About Your VPN? Zero Trust is the Answer

November 11, 2021 - 4 min read

If you’re using VPN and legacy firewalls, it’s time to reconsider.

Here’s why: VPNs are slow, vulnerable, and downright dangerous. With the massive adoption of remote work, a spotlight has been put on poor user experience and the continued discovery of zero-day vulnerabilities that come with legacy VPNs. IT and security leaders are looking for a better approach. 

If you are concerned about your current VPN’s risk exposure, request a free internet attack surface analysis today.


Why VPNs no longer make sense

Increased attack surface and risk of lateral movement

VPNs are discoverable on the internet, making them easy to find using freely available tools and compromise. Once an attacker is on the network, they can move laterally, leading to the delivery of malware and ransomware, theft of data, or allowing access to applications they are not authorized to use. In the most recent attack, 10,000 VPN/firewalls were found vulnerable to a zero-day exploit, potentially allowing full remote code execution by an attacker, but that’s just one example of many: VPN passwords leaked, VPN risk to OT networks. In cases like this, once an adversary has control of the firewall and access to the network, the castle-and-moat security the organization trusted to protect it has become a vulnerability.

Poor user experience 

72 percent of organizations are concerned that VPNs may jeopardize their ability to keep their environment secure. As we consider the future of digital business, leaders are increasingly preparing for a hybrid workforce that can move seamlessly between home, headquarters, and the road. When the pandemic forced organizations to adopt work-from-anywhere, many leveraged VPNs as the path of least resistance. Those organizations are now seeing the impact of relying on a legacy approach to a modern problem, with endless IT tickets and mounting complaints about poor user experience, while also limiting critical visibility IT teams need to accurately troubleshoot issues. In short, nobody has ever said they love their VPN.

Operational overhead

For organizations that are looking to embrace a hybrid workforce, increasing the number of VPN seats means IT teams must constantly add new appliances and ensure they are always updated and patched. The need for regular appliance upkeep and frequent updates lead to additional operational costs as teams struggle to scale.

Connecting remote users to applications shouldn't mean having to leave your network exposed. It also shouldn’t require deploying appliances and updating them. There's a better way to provide secure remote access for today’s hybrid workforce. 


Embrace a modern workplace with Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange

As we close out the calendar year, IT teams are beginning to plan for what a return to office may look like. While a few organizations have announced a 100 percent remote work option, most are looking to provide enhanced flexibility, allowing employees to shift their time between home and the office. The emergence of this new hybrid workplace that allows employees to work from anywhere, on any device, means that user experience, flexibility, and security are more important than ever.

The only way to provide secure, fast access to users connecting from anywhere is through a zero trust architecture. Zero trust works on the principle of “never trust, always verify,” preventing inherent trust while providing access to applications users are authorized to access. In the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange, this is created via a single tunnel between the user and the app, thus reducing the overall attack surface and subsequently reducing security risk.

The IT team now has an opportunity to develop a long-term access strategy built for scale, user experience, and of course, security.

Gartner says that “by 2023, 60 percent of enterprises will phase out most of their remote access virtual private networks (VPNs) in favor of zero trust network access (ZTNA).” The benefits of a holistic zero trust architecture make it an easy decision to switch over from VPNs and firewalls:

  • Reduce risk with superior security: The Zero Trust Exchange directly connects the right user to the right application without placing them on the network or being discoverable on the internet, reducing the attack surface and eliminating lateral movement.
  • Ensure a great user experience: Remote users have fast, seamless access regardless of application, device, or location without ever needing to backhaul traffic to the data center. Now, the hassle of constantly disconnecting and reconnecting your VPN has been eliminated, improving productivity and cutting IT tickets.
  • Realize business agility and speed with a scalable, cloud-native platform: As a cloud-delivered platform, the Zero Trust Exchange is consumed entirely as a service, with no hardware to deploy, maintain, or worry about scaling as demands increase. The platform is always up to date, reducing cost, complexity, and boosting business agility.

Zscaler has helped thousands of customers transform their legacy VPNs to a modern, zero trust approach in hours and days, not months. The time to rethink remote access is now—do it with the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange.

Is your VPN exposed? To gain insight into your organization’s vulnerabilities, request a free internet attack surface analysis.

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