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Software-defined perimeters are designed with flexibility, scalability, and security in mind. They offer many advantages over access-enablement technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and Network Access Control (NAC) and are also foundational technologies for zero-trust security. Let’s learn what makes SDP so powerful and so secure.
What is SDP?
A software-defined perimeter is both a security framework and a networking tool. Essentially, companies need to protect their networks from the dangers of the public internet. Only authorized users should be able to access resources on the private network and threats originating from the web must be kept out. This has traditionally been accomplished using a firewall and NAC at corporate premises. But managing access from remote sites is much more complex.
Remote users have typically logged into companies’ systems via a VPN using NAC technology. With a VPN, remote users or users at branch offices could log into an online portal and establish a secure connection to the home office network using encrypted tunneling techniques. NAC controls who can log in via the VPN. It was designed to confine users to role-based access while also fingerprinting their endpoints.
SDP is faster to set up, provides more granular security against both attackers and malicious insiders, and offers a better user experience for legitimate users. Let’s dive deeper into why SDP is the best solution for securing remote access:
1. SDP is More Secure
The philosophy underpinning SDPs is that a user, even if authenticated, should not automatically be allowed to access every resource on the network. Each user should only be able to access the tools required for his or her role within an organization.
Although VPNs’ encrypted tunneling techniques prevent outside observers from conducting reconnaissance on a network, it’s much harder to create the kind of defense-in-depth that SDP offers. Most of the time, once users are logged in with a VPN, they’re logged in – they can see everything. Malicious users are free to scan the entire network for vulnerabilities.
SDP provides much more granular security controls since users only can access the resources for which they’re authorized. Moreover, it can continuously authenticate users as they communicate with the network and hide resources from unauthorized users.
2. SDP is More Scalable and Flexible At a Lower Cost
SDP is cloud-native software. It requires no dedicated infrastructure and can be consumed as a service, drastically cutting down on maintenance requirements. And at a low monthly rate per user, it can come in at low TCO.
SDP is also highly flexible. For example, network segments can be created on the fly, with each segment containing only what a given user needs.
3. SDP is Easier to Manage
Software-defined perimeter is designed with the cloud in mind. It’s easy to tie in SaaS applications and cloud storage. In fact, most major SDP solutions will have built-in connectivity to applications like Salesforce, Office 365, Azure, AWS, and so on.
Most SDP solutions are themselves cloud-based and as such, policies and permissions for even remote locations can be conveniently managed from a central console.
4. SDP is More Convenient for Users
Software-defined perimeters have no technological speed/usability trade-off. Since SDP lives in the cloud, providers can establish nodes in data centers worldwide. So, no matter how far users may be from their home office, they’ll always have a place close by to connect to.
While SDP technology is still new, its advantages surpass those of established technologies like VPNs and NAC. Organizations may want to consider switching to SDP for the benefit of users, administrators, and customers – and especially for the security of the organization.