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What’s the Difference Between VPNs and Zero Trust Policies?

What’s the Difference Between VPNs and Zero Trust Policies?

In terms of security, you have countless solutions at your disposal, with two of the bigger and more valuable solutions being a virtual private network and the adoption of a zero trust policy. How does a VPN stack up against a zero trust policy, and how do these two types of solutions compare to the other? Let’s take a look at both.

What’s the Difference?

First, we need to establish what both solutions do and why you might use one over the other.

A virtual private network encrypts data while it’s traveling to and from your network or connected device. Basically, if you work off the security of your in-house network, like in an airport or anywhere with a public wireless connection, your data will be protected while it’s traveling from one location to the other, reducing the risk of a successful theft.

A zero trust policy is more of a strategy than a singular solution, and it involves being as stingy with access control as humanly possible. Users must authenticate themselves at every level of access to prove they are who they claim to be, all but guaranteeing that data remains secure.

Ultimately, it boils down to two differing styles of security. One operates by restricting access as much as possible, while the other keeps threats away by making data hard to read while it’s moving about.

How Do Both Solutions Hold Up?

Now that we know what these solutions do, let’s examine how they compare to each other.

How They Contain Data Breaches

In the event of a data breach, a VPN can keep an attacker from accessing more than the user was accessing at the time of the breach. However, a zero trust policy can limit the data breach to one device, service, or application.

How They Are Hosted

You’ll generally host a VPN at your business’s physical location, but there are also cloud solutions available. Zero trust, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily care where you have your data hosted, as it can be applied just as easily to either an on-premises infrastructure or a cloud-based one.

How They Function and Interact with Other Solutions

When you boil the two down, they simply function and interact with your other systems in different ways. VPNs create a secure method of accessing your network, while zero trust restricts individuals based on your predefined configurations and policies.

How They Receive Support

With remote work making up a considerable portion of the workforce, you need remote support options available to help your employees better do their jobs. Ensuring these support options are secure is key to your continued success. VPNs can handle this task well enough, but you’ll get a more powerful solution with the use of a zero trust policy.

How Strong They Are

Data security is where the two really grow distinct from one another. A VPN only secures data while it’s moving from your home base’s network to the user’s devices, and vice versa. The protection stops once it reaches the destination, and from there, your security is in the hands of the device’s installed security solutions. Zero trust, on the other hand, keeps data strictly under control regardless of where it’s at, provided you have the appropriate policies and access controls put in place.

While the two technologies are quite similar in a lot of ways, they are far more different than you might see at first glance. The reality is that they do different things for your network security, although they do work quite well in tandem with one another.

KB Technologies Managed IT can help your business thrive in the face of security risks. To learn more, call us today at (954) 834-2800.

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