In this VPN vs SDP post, we will compare both VPN and SDP to enable you opt for the best technology to secure your online activity.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) were introduced to promote a safe online browsing experience and to provide contractors and employees with access to enterprise networks. They successfully dominated the market until another security technology became available: the Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP).
The Difference Between a VPN and an SDP
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 works by encrypting your data and then sending it to the VPN server. From the VPN server, the data reaches the destination, be it a streaming platform or a bank website. What the destination sees is only the data coming from the VPN server’s location, and not your actual location.
An SDP, on the other hand, is a new approach to cybersecurity. It is a network security framework that provides a 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 being 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.
VPN vs. SDP – Which Is Better?
Now, 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 would be able to make a choice.
VPNs Are an Outdated Technology
Two decades ago, VPNs came onto the online scene. Their aim was to ensure online security by providing a safe, point-to-point connection.
Yes, VPN providers were successful and hit 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 a number of 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 why many are slowly migrating to SDPs.
SDPs Can Streamline Network Access Rules
In addition to improving cybersecurity, SDPs are capable of streamlining the rules involved 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 get rid of them when they are already redundant. This means the fewer rules to deal with, the lower the network access restrictions.
This feature does not only improve visibility, but it 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 operate slowly and unreliably at times. For instance, if you are accessing a geo-restricted website, you will have to connect and disconnect to a VPN server. If you have limited time, then this can be frustrating.
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 the fact 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 how complex it is to manage VPNs. Not only do IT administrators need to configure VPN settings and firewall policies, they also need to synchronize it across different locations.
Unlike VPNs, SDPs are easier to manage. As a matter of fact, they offer a simpler administration and management process. It 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. With an SDP solution, organizations and companies will never have to worry about expansion. No matter how many users are added and regardless of the load of processes that need to be run, SDPs can smoothly scale in the cloud. They seamlessly bypass the need for powerful hardware.
VPNs Are Not That Flexible
At a certain level, a VPN can offer flexibility as it can be used to access different sites and connect to different data centers and virtual cloud networks. But 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.
SDPs Allow a Better User Experience
For sure, you have already used a VPN service before. While using it, most of the time, it was probably okay. But you cannot deny the fact 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.
The choice of whether to use a VPN or an SDP depends on you. Yes, you might still want to choose VPNs because they’ve withstood the test of time and because many of them come with new and amazing security features for online security. But let’s not forget that like SDPs, they also started shaky. The world may not know much about SDPs yet, but in due time, they might take over the whole cybersecurity realm.
And now that you know a lot about SDPs, you might want to take action. After all, it’s pretty obvious that the internet is becoming a place filled with risks and vulnerabilities. While there are reliable VPN solutions out there, SDPs offer you an added advantage of a completely safe network access.
Cybersecurity is constantly evolving, but the question is, are you willing to keep up?
A Computer Engineer by degree and a writer by profession, Cathy Trimidal writes for Software Tested and Outbyte. For years now, she has contributed articles focusing on the trends in IT, VPN, web apps, SEO, and digital marketing. Although she spends most of her days living in a virtual realm, she still finds time to satisfy her infinite list of interests.