With the migration to remote and hybrid work over the last year, cyberattacks have increased at a rate of three to five times compared to pre-COVID. For a while now, VPNs have been a staple of a standard security setup and a fast track for mobile business security. But, in a shifting climate, businesses are screaming for more fit-for-purpose solutions to secure corporate perimeter.
More Than a VPN 

While VPNs are great at what they do, their scope is limited in the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape. However, the role of a decentralized workforce is evident in 2021 — it’s essential.
With the rise of remote work, employees have seen some significant benefits, such as working flexible hours, spending more time with their families, and being able to work more comfortably at home. 

However, there is a downside — the risks associated with such decentralization are greater than ever before, including unencrypted networks, unlisted websites, slow speeds, and unauthorized users accessing confidential corporate data. In fact, global losses from cybercrime now total over $1 trillion. In addition, the rise in ransomware and malware attacks targeted at unprotected corporate networks in recent years has also proved to be a significant threat to today’s distributed workforces.

Even before COVID, the office environment has become less centralized with the rise of SaaS applications for businesses. Since then, though, this decentralization has accelerated to the point where it’s unlikely it will ever go back. 

The notable shift towards cloud-based environments has seen businesses choose to migrate their network complexities to a central space — one that widens previously restricted perimeters and accommodates distributed endpoints on the network. As such, the safety of company data is just as important as protecting the company network.
Zero Trust 

Traditional IT network security is based on the castle-and-moat concept. It isn’t easy to gain entry from outside the network in simple terms, but everyone inside the perimeter is already deemed trustworthy.
‘’The problem with this approach is that once an attacker gains access to the network, they have free reign over everything inside, ‘’ said Juta Gurinaviciute, chief technology officer at NordVPN Teams.
Business owners now require more advanced solutions to have the visibility and control needed to manage their access permissions on the company network.

‘’Suppose you’re in a leadership position in your company,” Gurinaviciute said. “In that case, you want your employees — whether permanent, contracted, or freelance — to be able to access the applications and resources they need to do their jobs. At the same time, you’re probably conscious of how far their reach within your network should be. If everybody has access to your most valued assets, by default, you are compromising their safety with such frivolous freedoms.”

This is where Network Access Security comes in. Modern solutions are built with the zero trust principle in mind — “deny all, permit some.” In other words, every user should not be trusted until their identity is verified. As a result, secure access security solutions make it much easier and safer to provide employees with the exact resources and applications they need. At the same time, they ensure that employees don’t access data or assets that are confidential to the company.

Paired with authentication methods, such as 2FA, and ensuring everyone follows security best practices for business, it can vastly reduce the potential for damage from a data breach (or a breach even occurring).

While VPN technology still has its place in a robust security setup, secure network access is central to the gold-standard zero trust network access (ZTNA) model, with which modern businesses should be aligning themselves.