ZTNA vs. VPN: Which One Is Better?

In a world of unsecured Internet, organizations often struggle to find the best approach to restrict access to cloud applications. Cybercriminals pose a severe threat to remote workplaces as the users share sensitive information with each other. Therefore, businesses need to implement a cybersecurity option that can help them protect their remote workplaces and data.

Implementing network segregation best practices can help businesses mitigate cyber threats and retain credibility. The two most feasible cyber security options are ZTNA and VPN; let’s see which one meets your business demands better and helps you secure your remote workforce.

ztna vs vpn

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network protects your internet connection and your online privacy by creating an encrypted tunnel for your data. You can use a VPN to protect your online identity by masking your IP address and allowing you to use public Wi-Fi hotspots without worrying about hackers who might be scanning the network.

VPNs are effective on an individual level, which means your remote employees can use them to secure their Internet connection and log in to your remote workspace. It does not contain the necessary flexibility to protect an entire organization. However, there are two types of VPNs you can consider:

#1. Remote access

You can use a remote access VPN to create a secure connection for a device outside the corporate office. Typically, these devices act as endpoints and can be laptops, smartphones, or tablets.

#2. Site-to-site

You can use a site-to-site VPN to connect branch offices with your corporate office through the Internet. A site-to-site VPN makes it easy to have direct network connections between geographically distant offices.

What is ZTNA?

Zero Trust Network Access uses different technologies and functionalities to allow remote users secure access to the organization’s remote employees by creating a software-defined perimeter. ZTNA operates on the don’t trust anyone, verify everyone architecture where every user is granted access on a need-to-know least-privileges basis defined by the organization’s granular control policies.

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It provides a seamless and secure connection to remote users as they access private applications that are not exposed to unsecured internet. A ZTNA solution will continuously authenticate and authorize access requests by cross-referencing them against predefined policies. You can also use a ZTNA solution to detect abnormal user behavior and isolate network sessions to restrict access unless the user verifies their identity.
Four main elements in a ZTNA solution can help you increase your organization’s network security:

#1. Identity Access Management

ZTNA uses IAM to identify and differentiate users on the network. IT admins gain centralized control over the users, applications, devices, and login credentials. ZTNA makes it easier for admins to configure a specific identity for every user and define their access roles.

#2. TLS encryption

IT administrators rely on ZTNA to use small TLS encryption tunnels to link their users with cloud applications. However, ZTNA is more effective than traditional security perimeters based on private MPLS connections.

#3. Secure authentication

ZTNA also leverages modern authentication controls like Multi-factor Authentication, Single Sign-On, and conditional access safeguards that follow granular policies. SSO-based cybersecurity platforms are powerful because they provide access to all network-approved applications by removing the risk associated with maintaining numerous login credentials.

#4. Tight device security

Administrators use ZTNA to analyze incoming and outgoing network traffic from user devices. Organizations add more devices to their ecosystem as they increase their reliance on remote working. So, businesses must utilize Mobile Device Management security measures to secure tablets and smartphones.


In a nutshell, VPNs allow users access to entire networks, while ZTNA provides administrators with control, flexibility, and visibility into every segment of their network. Let’s conduct a thorough assessment of the two cybersecurity solutions:

Advantages of using a VPN

VPNs are perfect for securing traditional on-premises networks, but they are still appropriate for covering modern workplaces by providing:

#1. Anonymous browsing

Users that access company resources from a VPN appear anonymous as their traffic is being rerouted from a secure server that masks their real IP address. The encrypted tunnel.

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#2. Secure remote access

With the increased preference for remote working, the risk to company and client information has also increased. However, remote employees can use a VPN client to remotely connect to their work computer without worrying about exposure.

#3. Low-cost protection

New and improved security solutions require significant investment. Even when a VPN client cannot match the functionality of the latest solutions, it can make the user invisible on the Internet.

Advantages of using ZTNA

Most organizations regard Zero Trust as necessary to guarantee user and organizational security. You should consider implementing a ZTNA solution because it provides:

#1. Granular access

Zero Trust uses advanced user authentication methods to implement the concept of least privilege access. Therefore, a ZTNA solution allows access to specific applications necessary to complete tasks instead of the entire network.

#2. Cloud integration

ZTNA can accelerate the shift towards the cloud and minimize user impact as they use it for daily tasks. The IT team can also streamline security policies to address business needs.

#3. Compliance

Businesses can use ZTNA to adopt numerous compliance standards defined by the regulatory authorities by streamlining the user experience, onboarding, and enforcing specific security policies


Since there is no possibility of a decrease in remote working or data breaches, organizations need to take up a granular approach toward cybersecurity. ZTNA offers a comprehensive security solution for both on-premises and cloud infrastructure by implementing MFA, SSO, and micro-segmentation.

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