Traditional VPNs Stink. Try Zscaler Private Access Instead


November 6, 2017

Okay…honest question. Who likes using a VPN? Raise your hands and I’ll take a quick count…oh. Nobody? Really? Huh. You know what? I’m not all that surprised.

Traditional Virtual Private Networks solutions stink. They really stink. Northern New Jersey, right outside of Manhattan level stink.* It’s like trying to walk through the Bog of Eternal Stench to get to your apps and information and knowing you’ll never get the smell out of your clothes.

Why do they stink? They’re slow they’re clunky, they’re not always secure as they claim to be and most importantly they’re wicked expensive. Honestly, traditional VPNs absolutely take all the fun out of working and connecting remotely. It’s why we’re so crazy about Zscaler and what they’re doing with Zscaler Private Access.

What’s Zscaler Private Access?

We’re glad you asked! Zscaler Private Access (ZPA) delivers policy-based, secure access to private applications and assets without the cost, hassle, or security risks of a traditional VPN. So in layman’s terms, ZPA provides all off the benefits of a traditional VPN but with out any of the headaches.

If you’re not familiar with Zscaler you should be. When it comes to securing internet traffic for enterprises around the globe they’re right about at the top of the food chain. Their cloud-based security platform is expressly designed to make sure enterprise level internet traffic is protected.

So what’s that mean? We’re glad you asked that too. Secure Web Gateways, Cloud Application Visibility and Control, Cloud Sandboxing, Data loss prevention and much, much more. ZPA builds from a cloud-based, elastically scalable infrastructure to deliver seamless connectivity to private internal applications and assets.

So what exactly does ZPA do for you?

Well, a couple of things, really. Here’s what to look for:

ZPA improves your security posture even as you provide seamless access – The reduction in overall cost and complexity are compelling on their own, but the paramount feature of the Zscaler Private Access solution is security. Once a connection is established between the asset and the client, the traffic traversing the solution remains completely isolated; because Zscaler Private Access is built on the premise of zero trust for your private applications, the traffic is isolated from us, as well. 

And because Zscaler Private Access abstracts the asset from the network, it not only ensures seamless access regardless of physical location, it dramatically increases your overall security posture by effectively making your most sensitive material invisible. Any attempt to route back to the application/asset meets a dead end.

ZPA connects by application, not by IP address – VPNs have been designed to deliver access to a network, not to an application. Once on a network, malware can propagate and users may be able to get access to adjacent applications from which they should be restricted. In addition, because VPN concentrators must listen for inbound connection attempts, they present an attack surface which may be exploited by such things as Distributed Denial of Service attacks. 

ZPA eliminates the cost of VPNs and associated equipment – As part of their global, cloud based security platform, Zscaler maintains all hardware and software, which frees both your IT staff and your budget and enables deployment in a matter of hours. Even better, Zscaler Private Access is deployed via the same Zscaler App you use to access our cloud security platform, which greatly reduces your “client sprawl” by delivering a single app that provisions Zscaler Remote Access, Secure Web Gateway, Data Loss Prevention, Cloud Sandboxing, Cloud Firewall, and more.

ZPA takes your applications from “on-net” to “dark-net” at the same time YOU get complete visibility – Zscaler Private Access renders your applications invisible to all but authorized users, and uncountable to anyone. But because the solution works at the application layer, they also deliver a level of disability to you that has never before been possible.

Once you provision a connector in front of a bank of assets, you can use a wildcard attribute to discover exactly what applications are actually running there. Some of their customers have found almost ten times as many applications in use as they had expected. Once you know what applications are running, you can easily create granular access rules for them.

ZPA gives contractors, partners, or other companies exactly the access they should have – Providing internal application access to third parties has always been risky—as proven by several recent security breaches. With Zscaler Private Access, there is no need to worry. You can provision granular application access without opening up your entire network to anyone.

Now contractors can see the single app that they require and nothing else. In the case of a merger or acquisition, you can provision app access without worrying about overlapping private IP space, complicated NAT rules, or endless access control lists.

All in all ZPA’s a FANTASTIC alternative to traditional VPNs and we highly recommend it. If you’ve got any questions we recommend you send us a message or give us a phone call (877) 664-9379.

We think it’ll be worth your time.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: We think that New Jersey is lovely. It’s just that stretch around Newark that’s awful. Make of it what you will.

Carl Keyser is the Content Manager at Integris.

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