Why Organizations Should Leverage Software Defined Perimeter to Create New Security Architecture

We’re all acquainted with VPNs since they’ve been around for more than two decades and have gotten quite popular with enterprises and consumers as well. Since the time of its evolution, the internet and technologies have grown exponentially, and hence the need for secure remote access technology called Software Defined Perimeter is grabbing attention as the replacement to VPN. As most of the employees are working from home or remote locations, the circumstances to introduce SDP couldn’t be better.

Why is the Software Defined Perimeter the next big thing?

In simple terms, Software Defined Perimeter is an innovative technology based on a Zero Trust Network Access architecture that can restrict a device’s access to applications and services that are stored in the cloud based on multiple configurable criteria. Especially in this remote working culture, SDP solutions can create one-one connections, set micro tunnels between users and the resources that they need to access.

Zero Trust security model is the important factor here, as specified above; a user must prove the legitimate need for the resources that they access as zero trust follows the basic protocol of “Never Trust, Always Verify” approach. Software Defined Perimeter solutions take the process a step further, this is where they present an advantage over traditional VPNs. SDP adds a layer of ‘least privilege’ controls that gives users seamless access to only specific applications and data they need in that moment and nothing more. 

The excellence of this methodology is that it forestalls lateral movement attacks through a network, which is often cited as a flaw with traditional VPN technology as connections using SDP are more specific to resources than the whole network. 

SDP solutions accomplish more than just validating the user. Usually, there are variations in the way SDPs are architected, yet the common theme is that they all utilize some sort of controller. The controller acts somewhat like a context aware decision maker by gathering a variety of data such as the applications being used, location of the device, information regarding the network that the user tries to access the database connection. It then gathers a risk profile of each request based on real-time data, determining whether the user can access the resource by validating the context of the moment. Depending on the conditions, access can be revoked dynamically.

This is an exquisite, contingent method of ensuring that users get what they need while eliminating the organization’s attack surface. The convincing fact regarding SDPs is that they allow organizations to treat resources equally, no matter if they are hosted on-premises, a private cloud, or on the public internet. With most of the organizations that are migrating to the cloud, SDP offers an exquisite method to provide secure remote access to the cloud in the increasing remote working culture.

Need for organizations to get over traditional VPNs

Working from home culture, this increasing necessity for remote workspace has made software defined perimeter essential and effective. Let’s hop back to the discussion of VPNs, and check how the impact of COVID-19 has had on the way employees work. Organizations around the world rapidly scaled their remote working programs, allowing employees to work from home while scrambling to equip them with tools to work effectively outside the office. 

Traditional VPNs, however, clasped under the pressure. They were basically not designed to scale so rapidly to address the issues of a remote, mobile workforce, causing performance issues and security concerns that become the major concern among IT leaders. With this change of employees working from home, the corporate attack surface for all organizations has broadened immensely, calling for IT teams to opt for VPN alternative solutions.

Traditionally, remote workers relied on VPNs to provide safe, encoded connections to corporate resources, but since the number of users has grown and the types of assets they access have changed (BYOD and company-owned devices); these traditional VPNs have become a liability. Even by implementing multi factor authentication, older VPN technology lack the ability to understand the context. This makes the way for any agitators holding the right credentials.