Do Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) really simplify the task of setting up secure connections to remote edge devices?
VPN solutions were originally designed primarily to secure office campuses, data centers, and for secure remote access by field workers to their corporate networks. The lack of flexibility or intelligence of VPN to meet machine builders’ specific needs leads us to the five major defects of VPNs that users experience when applying the same to the edge:
Conclusively, VPNs have been reduced to ‘very primitive networks’ and just do not fit the needs for secure remote access in today’s emerging world of edge computing.
As Gartner recommends , what security and risk professionals in today’s digital enterprise need is a worldwide fabric/mesh of network and network security capabilities that can be applied when and where needed to connect entities to the networked capabilities they need access to. Think of an edge compute friendly, modular network infrastructure that functions as a global virtual LAN with firewalls, identify and access management, over-the-air updates, remote access and troubleshooting, etc., all built-in foundationally. This network runs over any untrusted host as well as over any access or cloud infrastructure for diverging edge computing needs. The network can self-isolate depending on user needs while remaining invisible to the rest of the public Internet. Lastly, such a network infrastructure must offer a user-friendly interface for facilities operators to manage the network seamlessly, all from a single pane of a glass-based dashboard.
Industrial enterprises with dispersed assets and diverse data sources are increasingly realizing that relying on VPNs that were originally designed to provide secure connectivity with enterprise data centers and campuses is simply futile. Legacy VPNs do not scale for machines, devices, sensors, and so on. Instead, the digital enterprise of tomorrow needs an identity-centric, network-security based model that is akin to a global virtual LAN that makes assets invisible from the public Internet. This helps enterprises realize economies of scale, and democratize the remote access security and connectivity needs of dispersed edge networks aiming to drive business efficiencies with the power of data analytics.