Remove the Security Risk VPNs Introduce: Migrate to Zero Trust

BrandPost By Zscaler
Dec 06, 2021
IT LeadershipVPNZero Trust

Risky and slow, virtual private network connections donu2019t make sense for todayu2019s hybrid workforce.

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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 are a byproduct of legacy VPNs. As a result, IT and security leaders are looking for a better approach.

If you are concerned about your current VPN’s risk exposure, request a complimentary 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 and compromise using widely available tools. Once an attacker is on the network, they can move laterally, leading to the delivery of malware and ransomware, theft of data, and 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 complete remote code execution by an attacker. That’s just one example of many; see VPN passwords leaked and VPN risk to OT networks. In cases like these, once an adversary has control of the firewall and access to the network, the castle-and-moat security that the organization trusted for protection has become a vulnerability.

Poor user experience

More than 70 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 a work-from-anywhere strategy, 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 the critical visibility IT teams need to troubleshoot issues accurately. In short, nobody has ever said they love their VPN.

Operational overhead

For organizations looking to embrace a hybrid workforce, increasing the number of VPN seats means IT teams must constantly add new appliances and continuously ensure they are updated and patched. Unfortunately, the need for regular appliance upkeep and frequent updates leads 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. Instead, 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 the 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 will enable 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 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 and complexity, while 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 complimentary internet attack surface analysis.