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What is Zero Trust and Why You Should Stick with VPN

VPN has been here for decades. However, a new technology comes with new versions and approaches, such as Zero Trust Networking. What makes these two strategies different and which one you should opt for comes down to what you need them for. That is why getting informed about both of them is crucial for making such a decision.

VPN Transformed

So, what actually is Zero Trust? Is it the end of a VPN or simply its improved version? Many experts suggest that it is just a transformation of a sort. VPNs are most likely never going to disappear. They are crucial to an enterprise’s safety on so many levels and therefore, can’t be replaced. They are great when it comes to enterprise with remote workers since they offer access to enterprise data, applications, and cloud-based resources. They are beneficial in general for any kind of business because they provide site-to-site connection of remote data centres.

In other words, Zero Trust is believed to be a transformed version of VPNs that are created for very specific purposes that big enterprises can use to ensure the safety of their data. However, if you want to use any safety system to protect your own data and personal information, VPN will do the job just fine. However, let’s take a better look into how Zero Trust works so that we could gain a better understanding of what makes them different.

Security vendors opt for zero trust

Enterprise adoption has only started in the last year, even though the zero-trust system has been around for almost a decade. One of the reasons why is because the transferring process hasn’t been that easy. Google itself had to invest a huge amount of money to create such a complex framework. That means that enterprises weren’t able to use it since they weren’t Google. Now that technology has advanced, these types of approaches are more widely available.

That is one of the reasons why vendors tend to go for Zero Trust when they can. However, the process of switching to a completely new system is never easy. That is why, if you are considering using it for personal needs, Zero Trust might not be the best option for you.

How Does Zero Trust Networking Work?

So, how does this new system work and how is it different from VPN? VPN is a traditional model that blocks any unwanted access to enterprise networks from the outside by using firewalls. The only way to enter is via a secure VPN. That means that it is very hard to gain access from the outside. However, once you enter, you are automatically trusted by default. Zero Trust, on the other hand, works on the premise of not trusting anyone until the system has all the information verified.

Zero Trust views anyone both on the outside and inside the network as a potential threat. It uses least privilege access, micro-segmentation, and multi-factor authentication in order to secure the network.  The so-called “need to know” access is restricted and lets users have access only to data they need to know in order to do their work. Micro-segmentation helps security  by breaking up the network into multiple zones and each zone is secured with multifactor authentication. The user has to enter both a password and a code sent to some other device to prove their identity to the system.

How to get started with a zero-trust security model

If you own a big company and need security for your business data, starting Zero Trust can be helpful. It is always recommended to start small. Take care of the vendors and third parties first and find an efficient way to isolate them from the rest of your network. Three main use causes of zero trust are cloud migration scenarios, new mobile applications for supply chain partners, and access control for software developers. What you need to do is find what works for your company the best. For example, in case your company’s IT structure is mostly cloud-based, the best option for you would be to implement access control for the DevOps and IT operations.

Now, zero trust is quite a feat, and maybe you can`t get it set up in its entirety. A strong, free VPN, found within this list here can also be a very useful addition to your safety, if you still haven’t taken the plunge to zero-trust security. It encrypts your data, gives you extra privacy, and is a solid short-term and long-term solution for at least some segments of your company.

Network-centric or identity-centric zero trust

When it comes to Zero Trust, there are two main types of approaches: the network-centric group, and the identity-centric one. The first one focuses on network segmentation and application-aware firewalls, and the other one emphasises identity management and access control. The best strategy you can go for is to start with a limited rollout and then build up slowly by gathering support from the business leaders of the company. As was already mentioned above, transitioning to Zero Trust isn’t an easy process, so consider doing it only if you are well-informed about the options you have. It is mainly used as a business strategy. That means that if you plan to use it only for personal needs, VPN is a much simpler and better option for you.

Zero Trust: an uncharted, unending journey

Lastly, if you do end up choosing Zero Trust over VPN keep in mind these two very important factors. The first one is that Zero Trust never comes with a singular strategy or a roadmap that will point you to one solution. If you opt for Zero Trust, you are on your own. You will have to try as many different possibilities and eventually find out what works for you. Secondly, the journey of working with Zero Trust is never over. There is no clear definition of success because Zero Trust Networking is a never-ending process that you constantly have to keep up with.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both VPN and Zero Trust come with their benefits and flaws. Just make sure you are well-informed about both of these options before deciding which one is better for your needs.

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