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SASE vs VPN: What's the difference and why?

SASE vs VPN: What's the difference and why?


Security in the business world is becoming more and more complicated. While the demand for completely remote work has started to ebb, the number of hybrid workers is increasing each month. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, there are 53% more workers who work from home or other remote locations on a part-time basis as companies reel in the fully remote workers and ease them back into the office. According to Gartner, the fully remote worker will continue to diminish, but the hybrid worker will become more the norm.


While technology such as VPNs helped us survive the COVID worker panic and kept businesses functional, the traditional VPN only speaks to being fully remote or fully in the office with occasional connections back to the corporate technology infrastructure. In addition to the rush to work from home in 2020, there was also a marked increase in technology infrastructures moving out of the physical office and to the cloud. Because of this foundational shift in technology infrastructure, the traditional VPN struggled to provide the services and security necessary to get the job done.


This new workingmodel has opened the door for a new player in the security game - SASE SGN Tunnels or Secure Access Service Edge. But what makes SASE different from a traditional VPN? Is there a reason to make the switch, or will the good old VPN still do the job in today's increasingly more dangerous cyber world?

1. VPN is made for users to connect directly to resources

First, let’s see how a VPN functions and what its primary use is to understand better how it differs from SASE.

A Virtual Private Network is a security tunnel created by software that resides on your computer and connects back to a firewall or software device in a local area network. This tunnel is encrypted from one end to the other, and passes traffic security between the individual at home and the corporate network. All the data is funneled through a connection isolated from the rest of the internet.

So, the VPN offers multiple layers in securing your data:

  • It authenticates every connection made to your business network.

  • It directs the traffic via a secure connection to a server or a cloud resource. The VPN tunnel then inserts data packets into different data packets in a  process called tunneling.

  • Finally, all the data is encrypted, ensuring third parties can’t decipher the information shared within your network.

VPN architecture is usually supported using hardware located within on-premise data centers. This setup works surprisingly well when the work environment functions in a traditional manner - the standard type of office work. In short, the VPN creates a single tunnel that connects one person to one physical network.

2. SASE is made for multi-network security and connectivity

SASE may be new to you - and if it is - you are likely wondering what makes it different than a traditional VPN. The answer is complicated. Both solutions have the same goal: allow secured and easy access to the private resources within your organization. However, they accomplish that goal differently. 


The very nature of how they operate is vastly different. Your VPN is a standalone tool that does one thing, while SASE is capable of combining multiple network platforms into one singular secure connection. For example, SASE incorporates services delivered through a cloud-based model such as

  • Software-Defined Wide Area Network 

  • Zero trust network access 

  • Secure web gateway

  • Firewall-as-a-service

  • Cloud Access Security Broker

With its array of capabilities built into its core, SASE is a perfect cloud-based solution to the old problem of network security that allows you to connect remote workers in the cloud and multi-site environments securely. One tool to connect everything your organization needs.


In short, a SASE SGN Tunnel creates a secure network perimeter that allows your people to connect to once, be always on, and access your internal network, your cloud-based resources, multiple company locations, applications, and more. All in the background, and without the individual logging in and out constantly.


3. Can your VPN get the job done? Or do you need SASE?

The answer may or may not be clear to you. But that's where the TechSperts at STCNtech come in! We know that for small offices with a local area network that is protected by a firewall, a VPN might still be the answer. It still offers a rock-solid and secure connection to resources. However, we also know that the number of organizations that fit into that cookie-cutter description is dwindling. We also know that adding a VPN to your firewall can impact the overall performance of your firewall and by extension, your access to the internet from your local network. Moving to a SASE solution creates flexibility, adds security through its always-on nature, and does not impact your LAN access to the internet. Because SASE tunnels move data around the edge of the network, instead in and out of the local network, there is no impact to network performance, and allows your employees faster, more secure access to resources than the traditional VPN.


4. Make sure your needs are met

Are you considering how to meet the needs of your employees, get work done, and stay secure in today's dangerous world of cybersecurity?  Contact the experts at STCNtech -- we can check out your ship from stem to stern and let you know where you are doing great, and where you might have to reinforce the bulkheads! Our Security as a Service platform can save you headaches, time, and money - while integrating SASE or VPN into your solution seemlessly! Contact us at online@stcntech.com or 610-910-9347 today!

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