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Why VPNs Don’t Keep Companies Safe Anymore

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) were once the hallmarks of corporate security to connect remote workers and partners. Today they are an open invitation for hackers to trespass on a corporate network, leaving an organization’s critical data exposed. 

It is well known that hackers are always looking for opportunity. And with the advent of the pandemic, the perfect storm came together as companies rapidly transitioned to a fully remote work environment and enabled their employees to connect to the corporate network from home. Many companies that used VPNs and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) struggled to secure their networks. 

Both technologies enable remote access that can put an intruder deep inside an organization’s firewall. Attempts to break into VPNs or access RDP solutions have risen exponentially over the past 17 months. Many organizations are moving away from these technologies and are looking to systems based on Zero Trust that are centered on the principle of “trust no one”. 

As a company that advocates for Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), we believe this is the right path and approach for secure remote access. Here’s why we think that starting with a closer look at VPNs: 

What’s wrong with VPNs

VPNs are cumbersome technology that are expensive and require a lot of maintenance with limited visibility into today’s IT environment. In addition, VPNs work by installing a software agent on the user’s computing device. The user must sign in with a username and password, and may also have to supply a one-time passcode that’s dynamically generated. 

VPNs then open an encrypted tunnel from the user’s device directly into the company network, which makes them great attack vectors, leading hackers right into the heart of the company’s IT systems. Quite frankly, VPNs were never designed to withstand the scale and scope of attacks directed against them in today’s environment. 

What’s even more concerning is that many VPN and RDP hacks are being carried out in support of ransomware extortion. Nefarious actors use the VPN tunnel to access encrypted critical systems that they can take hostage. VPNs allow users to access the entire system and are not just limited to one application, as is the case with ZTNA technology. 

A better solution

At Axis Security, we offer a solution that is simple to deploy, use, and manage while delivering more secure access by keeping users off the corporate network and reducing risk by isolating applications. Our approach is built for the future and transforms access from an overly complex, insecure, and overall poor user experience, to an easy-to-manage, scalable, and secure SaaS experience that users significantly prefer. 

The ability to better manage policy and enhance monitoring capabilities increases with a ZTNA solution. It also allows organizations to choose and enforce a strict policy, and improves user and application visibility. 

Being secure is more important today than it’s ever been. One of the most important concepts to keep in mind is that retrofitting old technologies is really ineffective in the age of the cloud. It’s almost guaranteed you will not get the desired outcome if you do not use next-generation, cloud-native technologies and solutions. Companies should look to re-architect their entire IT environments to become more secure, and Zero Trust is the perfect place to start. 

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