The digital transformation has changed the way we work. The shift to the cloud, remote working, and BYOD (bring your own device) are just a few of the changes in enterprise IT. But with increasing digitization comes the risk of greater threats.
As cyberattacks skyrocket, businesses are becoming are looking for a means to counter the threats. For example, technologies such as VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) encrypt corporate data and allow it to pass through securely, allowing remote workers to securely access the corporate data center.
Although VPN technology is well established, it still remains popular. In fact, many companies expanded their VPN capabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the needs of their remote workforce.
However, despite the increasing adoption of VPNs, cases of VPN breaches were not uncommon. This is why SASE (Secure Access Service Edge), a relatively new cybersecurity model, was also found many buyers during the health crisis.
Whether SASE will replace VPNs or if there’s a possibility the two can coexist remains to be seen. Let’s take a look at these two technologies.
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What is a VPN?
A VPN is a private and secure way Send data over the Internet without fear of being intercepted along the way. When a remote employee accesses business data over the public Internet, there is a risk of sensitive data being leaked being unwittingly exposed to threat actors.
VPNs create an encrypted tunnel between a corporate network and an employee’s device, So the data that moves in it stays safe. Once the encrypted data travels through the tunnel and reaches the organization’s endpoint, it is decrypted using the correct decryption keys.
Features of a VPN
One of the main goals of a VPN is to block unauthorized access by third parties and deny them access to personal and restricted data Information. VPNs achieve this by encryption where the data is converted to ciphertext. The encrypted data is only accessible to authorized users and can only be read once it has been decrypted using the correct decryption keys.
Split tunneling is a process by which you choose which apps should be routed through the VPN and which should be sent over the local network. Split tunneling is a great way to save bandwidth and prevent network outages.
No Logs Policy
A no-logs policy means VPNs don’t store any information going through their network. This ensures that private information remains secure.
A kill switch is a feature in a VPN connection that automatically terminates your activity if you lose contact with your VPN connection. It prevents unauthorized users from accessing your confidential data when the VPN services are down.
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Traditionally, applications have been deployed in a single data center, with employees accessing corporate servers through a virtual private network. The system works well up to a point. However, legacy VPNs start to break down when you bring complex IT environments and different geographic areas into the mix.
The move to the cloud and increasing adoption of cloud services is doing just that. Add to that more attacks on the network than ever before—after all, more endpoints mean a bigger attack surface—and you have a situation where current security technologies match the challenges of today’s business clearly not grown.
What is needed is a solution that is platform independent and accessible from anywhere. and adapts well to agile processes. Taking a cybersecurity approach, SASE fits the bill perfectly.
Michael Cadesenior global technologist Veeamexplains this with an example.
“With a VPN, we would need a VPN connection from A (user’s laptop) to B (central DC/authentication), which then routes traffic to C (example of cloud-based network-attached storage shares),” said Cade. “Data would potentially take a long time to transfer this way, and B will take care of the bandwidth and possibly the security overhead.
“With a SASE solution, you can probably still authenticate to B, but the data comes straight from C back to A through a broker. That means your data doesn’t travel as long. This will reduce bandwidth requirements at B. Overall safer and probably faster for the end user accessing the data.”
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What is SASE?
SASE is a cloud-based service model that combines network security features such as Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and Wide Area Network (WAN)- Functions in a single console. This console allows devices and users to securely connect to the company’s server, regardless of their location.
“It’s an approach to securing connections across multiple platforms in the cloud. So it’s not just a connection to a server, it’s a network perimeter,” he said Volodymyr ShchegelVP of Engineering at Clario.co. “SASE is an improvement over VPNs…because of this perimeter, which allows users secure access to the cloud with less congestion and lag.
“In the age of remote working, this is essential as the prohibitive cost of large-scale VPNs is prohibitive for most large organizations. Cloud-based solutions are more scalable when many users need to access a network at different distances from the workplace.”
with SASE, data are processed right on the edge where the user is. So, a company does not have to be entertained a dedicated VPN. Instead, their employees can simply Connect to a SASE solution based on ZTNA with granular features and securely access networks.
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Main components of SASE
A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is an overlay network that separates the network services from the underlying hardware, This eliminates the complexity associated with managing traditional WANs. In addition to simplified WAN management, other benefits include improved network performance, low cost, and the ability to support high bandwidth demands.
Firewall as a service
FWaaS is a next-generation cloud-native firewall (NGFW) service that uses advanced techniques such as Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) web filtering and Domain Name System (DNS) security to enforce threat prevention.
Secure web gateway
A SWG is a web security product that acts as a gatekeeper between a company and a user. Using technologies such as URL filtering, sandboxing, Data Loss Protection (DLP) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) inspection, it provides complete visibility into network traffic and helps thwart malicious attacks. When used in a SASE platform, SWGs filter out and protect malicious traffic Block users from accessing suspicious websites.
Cloud Access Security Broker
Zero Trust Network Access
The Zero Trust policy operates on the principle of least privilege, which means that all users are granted minimal privileges. Within this framework, users are verified and verified before accessing an app. By continuously monitoring users and devices, ZTNA limits the radius of a data breach.
Benefits of SASE
- SASE supports users regardless of location.
- It eliminates backhauling traffic and lowers transportation costs. It also reduces latency.
- SASE works in all types of IT environments.
- IT teams have complete visibility into operations.
- It enforces ZTNA, which securely connects employees to office networks.
Does this mean the end of VPNs?
According to Shchegel, “The ‘SASE as a replacement for VPN’ narrative mostly applies to the server-based VPNs that most organizations have been using up to this point. There is also an assumption that all organizations can fully migrate to the cloud at once, but in reality most organizations will need some sort of hybrid of SASE and VPN (either as a service or on-premises) before they can fully migrate to the cloud. “
Although SASE is deployed quickly, many IT and security teams are difficult to implement it in their organization. VPNs are still one of the most prominent methods of Providing secure access for distributed workforces. In the following it looks as if both technologies will remain and serve their respective target groups.
“VPN won’t go away; it’s still a solid use case for the work that needs to get done. But as we know, environments are no longer within the four walls of the data center,” said Cade. “We have services here, there and everywhere that our users need access to.
“A VPN puts you in one central place and for services, but security gets a little watered down at this point, and that’s where SASE comes in, potentially again, depending on the use case and the nature of the business.”
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