Virtual private networks (VPNs) were introduced roughly two decades ago with the idea that creating an encrypted tunnel directly from a computer device to a network would provide secure access to company resources and communications from remote locations.
VPN performance was notoriously sluggish, and they were difficult and time consuming for IT to administer, but at least the appliances were secure.
Or so people thought.
Unfortunately, VPNs weren’t designed with today’s sophisticated cyberthreats, nor today’s ever-growing distributed workforce in mind.
1. Misplaced Trust
According to Verizon, 82% of security breaches involved the human element. One big issue with VPNs is that they don’t provide enough granular control over permissions.
When a remote user is authenticated, they’re considered “trusted” and often granted access to more of the network than they should be.
As a result, network resources are left open to attack from insiders. What’s more, you can’t always trust that employees will use a VPN, because performance at times can be so poor for users that they often seek insecure workarounds.
Should they be blamed?
They’re trying to do their job – it’s the VPN that isn’t.
2. Complexity Confusion
To make matters worse, tracking users is complex.
In a distributed network environment that leverages the cloud, remote workers may need secure access to dozens of servers, which means every one of these VPN appliances and end-users will also have a policy to maintain and synchronize.
The list of “must dos” goes on, but the short of it is, IT teams usually lean on confusing dashboards to gain a picture of those who have access and the related policies.
IT admins are only human, and with all this complexity, tasks will be overlooked and mistakes can be made, opening up security gaps.
3. Patch Madness
Popular VPN vendors routinely unearth new vulnerabilities, which when disclosed, attract cyber criminals like flies to honey.
Since VPNs typically connect an entry to an exit point, these flaws are easy to discover; bad actors can find information related to a VPN link even when encryption is used. It’s also not difficult for them to tamper with underlying network infrastructure, access VPN traffic, move laterally across a network and target vulnerabilities.
These vulnerabilities must be patched immediately, and most VPN providers continuously have to release significant software patches.
The VPN is Dead – Enter Zero Trust
In the post-pandemic workplace, IT infrastructure isn’t the only thing that’s distributed; workforces are too – making VPNs a very popular target for attackers.
Even prior to the pandemic, the National Security Agency (NSA) released a Cybersecurity Advisory urging organizations to check VPN products for upgrades citing specific VPN offerings from such widely used names as Pulse Secure, Palo Alto and Fortinet.
The zero-trust model is key to data and network security in remote work environments. These days, not only is the IT infrastructure distributed, but people are too, forcing most organizations to rely primarily on cloud-based data and systems.
According to a 2022 IBM study, 41% of organizations stated that they deploy a zero-trust security architecture – Leaving the 59% other ones to potentially incur millions of dollars in security breach costs.
Keeper Connection Manager provides users with a remote desktop solution backed by best-in-class zero-trust security, reduces administrative overhead, and improves reliability, performance and employee productivity.
Moreover, with a zero-trust framework and zero-knowledge security architecture, Keeper safeguards customer data at the vault, shared folder and record levels with multiple layers of encryption keys.
At Keeper, we believe users should be able to access remote desktops and apps from a web browser, on their device of choice, using only their credentials – securely. That’s why we based our solution on Apache Guacamole, an open-source, clientless, remote desktop software relied upon by tens of millions of people worldwide.
After launching Keeper Connection Manager, built by the founders of Apache Guacamole, Keeper has remained an active contributor to the project’s open-source community.
Start your 14-day free trial of KCM today and get powerful, one-click, zero-trust access to your remote infrastructure.