FeaturesVPN vs SDP: Which Technology Is Best for You?

VPN vs SDP: Which Technology Is Best for You?

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In this VPN vs SDP post, we will compare VPN and SDP to enable you to opt for the best technology to secure your online activity.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) were introduced to promote a safe online browsing experience and provide contractors and employees access to enterprise networks. They successfully dominated the market until another security technology became available: the Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP). 

VPN vs SDP: Choosing the Right Secure Access Solution

Primary FunctionCreates a secure tunnel between a user’s device and a remote networkProvides zero-trust access control to specific applications and resources
Security ModelPerimeter-based securityZero-trust network access (ZTNA)
Ideal Use CaseSecuring remote access to an entire corporate networkGranular access control for specific applications and resources
User ExperienceIts relatively simple setup may require additional softwareA more complex setup requires integration with identity and access management (IAM) systems
PerformanceMay experience slower connection speeds due to encryption overheadGenerally offers better performance due to more targeted connections
ScalabilityWell-suited for large numbers of remote usersMore scalable for dynamic access needs
Visibility & ControlLimited visibility into user activity within the networkProvides detailed logs and granular control over user access
CostTypically, lower upfront costIt may require additional investment for integration with IAM systems

VPN Vs SDP – What Are The Differences?

A VPN is a service that grants you a safe, private, and secure browsing experience. Its primary function is to route your connection through a server to hide your online activities. It encrypts your data and then sends it to the VPN server.

The data reaches the destination from the VPN server, be it a streaming platform or a bank website. The destination sees only the data coming from the VPN server’s location, not your actual location. 

An SDP, on the other hand, is a new approach to cybersecurity. It is a network security framework that provides secure and safe access to different enterprise apps. Although the word “perimeter” creates confusion here, it simply refers to an element that sets limits, such as firewalls or demilitarized zones.  

Unlike traditional architectures that separate an enterprise network from the real world using a fixed perimeter, an SDP creates a dynamic one-to-one network connection between the user and the resources accessed. Other unauthorized network resources remain inaccessible. 

As the name suggests, an SDP is directly implemented on end-user devices, servers, or gateways. But it can be deployed as a stand-alone product or as a server. 

READ ALSO: Best VPN for Gaming You Should Consider in 2020

VPN vs. SDP – Which Is Better? 

You’ve probably asked which of the two technologies is better: VPN or SDP. The answer depends on the situation. But hopefully, after enumerating some points, you can make a choice. 

VPNs Are an Outdated Technology 

Two decades ago, VPNs came onto the online scene. They aimed to ensure online security by providing a safe, point-to-point connection. 

Yes, VPN providers were successful in reaching their aim. They developed tunnels through which encrypted data is sent and processed. But with demands for security getting higher and higher, it seems that VPNs can no longer keep up.

They cannot handle the complexities involved in the use of 5G networks and IoT technologies. Not to mention, they are still vulnerable to several threats, including the NotPetya malware. 

It is true that the installation of PC cleaning software and tools, as well as the use of Android cleaners, can protect us against vulnerabilities and threats. But up to what point will you be relying on them? 

The security breaches today are becoming worse, to the point where they don’t just disrupt personal activities but ruin the functioning of entire organizations, too. It comes as no surprise that many are slowly migrating to SDPs. 

SDPs Can Streamline Network Access Rules 

In addition to improving cybersecurity, SDPs can streamline the rules in granting users access to a particular network. This is very important in eliminating the problem involved in the creation of too many rules. 

SDPs can be set to allow short-term access rules and eliminate them when they are already redundant. The fewer rules to deal with, the lower the network access restrictions. 

This feature not only improves visibility but also allows better control. In just a few minutes, SDPs can already generate rules. This is quite useful for network auditors and administrators. 

VPNs Are Quite Inconvenient to Use 

Anyone who has used a VPN knows that it can sometimes operate slowly and unreliably. For instance, if you are accessing a geo-restricted website, you must connect and disconnect to a VPN server. If you have limited time, then this can be frustrating. 

READ ALSO: 15 Best VPNs For China And Hong Kong

VPNs Can Be a Source of Headache 

VPN management can become more complicated, especially when dealing with cloud migration. IT administrators need to coordinate and configure VPN policies. They also need to manage firewall policies. Though there are many PC repair tips and tricks they can use to ensure they don’t mess up, we can’t deny that one wrong configuration and the VPN won’t work. 

SDPs Are Easier to Manage

Any organization that has just expanded and transitioned from having a centralized data center into multiple cloud deployments can attest to how complex it is to manage VPNs. Not only do IT administrators need to configure VPN settings and firewall policies, but they also need to synchronize them across different locations.

Unlike VPNs, SDPs are easier to manage. They offer a simpler administration and management process. Administrators can directly onboard and add a network resource to an SDP platform. They can also manage all settings and policies in the cloud. This means the need to sync and configure across various locations is avoided.

An SDP Has an Unlimited Growth Potential

Yes, you read that right. Organizations and companies will never have to worry about expansion with an SDP solution. No matter how many users are added and regardless of the load of processes needed, SDPs can smoothly scale in the cloud. They seamlessly bypass the need for powerful hardware.

VPNs Are Not That Flexible

A VPN can offer flexibility at a certain level as it can access different sites and connect to different data centers and virtual cloud networks. However, it is worth noting that the connection options are often resource-intensive. Even worse, tapping into them drives up the costs. No organization would want that.

READ ALSO: 15 Best VPNs For Coronavirus Quarantine Holiday

SDPs Allow a Better User Experience

You have already used a VPN service. Most of the time, it was probably okay while using it. But you cannot deny that it, too, got notoriously slow and reliable at some point. 

With an SDP, the user experience is quite different. It is because it connects to a global network of points-of-presence (PoP) that provides a sturdy backbone, reducing latency and optimizing the process of routing data.

VPN Vs. SDP – Which Is Reliable?

Whether to use a VPN or an SDP depends on you. You might still want to choose VPNs because they’ve withstood the test of time, and many of them come with new and unique online security features. But let’s not forget that, like SDPs, they also started to shake. The world may not know much about SDPs yet, but they might take over the whole cybersecurity realm in due time. 

And now that you know a lot about SDPs, you might want to take action. After all, it’s evident that the internet is becoming a place filled with risks and vulnerabilities. While reliable VPN solutions exist, SDPs offer entirely safe network access.  

Choosing Between VPN and SDP

The best choice for you depends on your specific needs. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Choose a VPN if You need a simple solution for securing remote access to your entire network.
  • Choose an SDP if You need granular access control for specific applications and resources, require detailed user activity logs, and prioritize zero-trust security.

Additional Considerations

  • Integration with existing infrastructure: Consider how easily the solution integrates with your security and identity management systems.
  • Deployment complexity: Evaluate the time and resources required for setup and ongoing management.
  • User experience: Think about the ease of use for your employees and how it might impact their productivity.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the secure access solution that best meets your needs and security requirements.

Cybersecurity is constantly evolving, but the question is, are you willing to keep up?

Note: This was initially published in January 2020 but has been updated for freshness and accuracy.


About the Author:

Owner at TechSegun LLC. | Website

Daniel Segun is the Founder and CEO of SecureBlitz Cybersecurity Media, with a background in Computer Science and Digital Marketing. When not writing, he's probably busy designing graphics or developing websites.


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