SDP vs VPN

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Updated September 21, 2022

Corporations all over the globe are switching to remote and hybrid work policies. And while looser work structures provide immense benefit to employees, it comes with security risks. Companies must secure information across various networks now that employees are spread far and wide. To do this, they often implement the best VPN services available. However, even VPNs have security weaknesses, which is why alternate methods, like SDPs, are growing in popularity.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • SDPs use strict user authentication rules within a secure network perimeter to ensure no outside hacker, once in, can access private data.
  • SDPs are considered to improve on a VPNs inherent weaknesses of low user identity requirements.
  • Unlike VPNs, SDP operates via cloud computing, making it more scalable, reliable, and better for remote employees.

Below, we will compare SDPs vs VPNs, helping you figure out which option most closely relates to your organization’s needs. And for additional reading, check out more of our data-security content. Such as this article comparing SD-WAN vs VPN.

SDP vs VPN: Which is Better?

It’s helpful to think of SDPs as the next step in the evolutionary line of data security protocol. While SDPs are considered better than VPNs in many respects, VPNs still hold some advantages, given they have been around longer and are more established.

Insider Tip

SDPs are very easy to integrate with cloud services.

First, let’s define our terms.

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a private server to which users connect their devices. Once connected, all user data goes through an encryption process. Their IP address is hidden as they browse the web, download files, or stream content. The encryption process guarantees complete anonymity. Many companies use VPNs because it provides remote users access to a specific network. Once users have remote access, all the company data stored on the network server is available.

SDP (Software-Defined Perimeter) ups the ante of security. Like VPNs, companies can set up a private corporate network that stores their protected data–usually in the cloud. However, a Software-Defined Perimeter allows managers to segment user access. So, once an employee accesses the network, their account is configured, giving them access to only necessary information. Because of this, unauthorized users are barred from accessing any network resources.

Next, we’ll explain the implications of these differences in further detail. But remember that these aren’t the only two types of network security methods. We have more articles comparing remote work solutions, like a VDI vs a VPN or a remote desktop vs a VPN.

Security

SDPs are widely praised for their outstanding security. One of the main issues with VPNs is that if a malicious actor infiltrates a private network, they can access anything because there’s no protection once inside. SDPs create secure access tunnels within the already secure network connection. This approach to network security dramatically reduces the likelihood of valuable network assets being stolen or taken for ransom.

For those interested in setting up a connection for streaming video and music, check out our article comparing Smart DNS vs VPN.

Warning

Beware of free VPN and SDP services. They are often controlled by third parties looking to harvest data or malicious sources trying to install malware.

Remote Work

Because SDPs operate via the cloud, they suffer less from latency and connection speed issues that sometimes plague VPNs. It also means more scalability, which is ideal for remote workforces.

STAT: In 2021, 50% of corporate data was stored in the cloud. (source)

Price

While the difference isn’t huge, VPNs are slightly cheaper, as prices can be $2-$5 per month if you opt-in for a long-term plan. On the other hand, SDPs cost about $5-$20 per month for every user.

SDP vs VPN FAQs

What is Zero Trust Security?

Zero-trust networks are employed by SDP, meaning the software automatically denies access to every user until they prove authorization.

Is a VPN Safe?

VPNs are incredibly safe and should be used if possible. However, SDPs improve on the cracks in the VPN armor.

Can VPNs and SDPs be used together?

Using both technologies together increases security and is recommended for anyone dealing with highly sensitive information.
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