Comparing ZTNA vs VPN: Which is the Better Option for Your Business?

In today’s digital world, businesses are increasingly relying on remote access technologies to help their employees stay connected from anywhere in the world. However, with this increased use of remote access comes an increased risk of data breaches and cyber attacks.

Understanding ZTNA and VPN Technologies

Remote access technologies have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more businesses have shifted towards a remote work model. Two popular types of remote access technologies are Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and Virtual Private Network (VPN). Both ZTNA and VPN help businesses to securely connect their employees to the company network from their home or other remote locations. However, there are some significant differences between these two technologies.

What is ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access)?

ZTNA is a newer approach to securing remote access that emphasizes a zero-trust policy. Under this policy, every request for access to the network is treated as though it is coming from an untrusted source. As a result, access is granted on an individual basis rather than through a broad network connection. This approach to remote access is becoming increasingly popular due to its enhanced security features. By treating every request as suspicious, ZTNA ensures that only authorized users are granted access to the network.

One of the key advantages of ZTNA is that it is highly customizable. With ZTNA, businesses can create access policies that are tailored to the specific needs of their organization. For example, a business could create an access policy that only allows employees to access certain applications or data, while blocking access to other areas of the network. This level of customization ensures that businesses can maintain a high level of security while still allowing their employees to work remotely.

What is VPN (Virtual Private Network)?

VPN is a more traditional approach to remote access that creates a secure connection between the user and the company network using encryption. With VPN, the remote user is able to access the company network as though they were physically connected to it, regardless of the user’s location. This approach to remote access has been around for many years and is still widely used today.

One of the advantages of VPN is that it is relatively easy to set up and use. Many businesses already have VPN solutions in place, making it a convenient option for remote access. Additionally, VPN is compatible with a wide range of devices, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

Key Differences Between ZTNA and VPN

One of the most significant differences between ZTNA and VPN is the zero-trust policy used by ZTNA. With ZTNA, access to the network is granted on an individual basis, as opposed to VPN, which creates a secure connection for all users connected to the network at the same level. This individualized approach to access control ensures that only authorized users are granted access to the network, making ZTNA a more secure option than VPN.

Additionally, ZTNA does not require the user to connect to a single network, making it more secure by ensuring that an attacker cannot gain access to the entire network through a single entry point. This is in contrast to VPN, which typically requires the user to connect to a single network in order to access company resources.

Overall, both ZTNA and VPN are effective remote access technologies that can help businesses to securely connect their employees to the company network. However, businesses should carefully consider their specific needs and the security risks they face in order to determine which technology is the best fit for their organization.

Evaluating Security Features

When it comes to securing network connections, there are several technologies available, each with their own set of advantages and potential drawbacks. Two popular options are Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and Virtual Private Network (VPN).

ZTNA Security Advantages

ZTNA is considered to be a more secure option than VPN for several reasons. Because it grants access on an individual basis, it is better at preventing malicious actors from gaining access to the network. This is because ZTNA uses a “least privilege” approach, meaning that only the necessary resources are made available to each user. This approach minimizes the risk of a security breach by limiting the damage that can be done by an attacker who gains access to the network. Additionally, ZTNA’s use of contextual awareness makes it more difficult for attackers to impersonate users and gain access to the system. By analyzing a user’s behavior and context, ZTNA can detect and prevent suspicious activity.

Another advantage of ZTNA is that it can be more flexible than VPN. ZTNA can be used to secure access to cloud-based resources, which is becoming increasingly important as more companies move their data and applications to the cloud. ZTNA can also be used to secure access to on-premises resources, making it a versatile solution for organizations of all sizes.

VPN Security Advantages

While VPN is generally considered to be less secure than ZTNA, it remains a popular option due to its ease of use and compatibility with a wide range of devices. VPN is also capable of providing a secure connection to the network through the use of encryption, which can help to protect against data breaches. VPN encrypts all data that is transmitted between the user’s device and the network, making it difficult for attackers to intercept and steal sensitive information.

Another advantage of VPN is that it can be used to bypass certain types of internet censorship. In countries where the government restricts access to certain websites or services, VPN can be used to access these resources without detection. This can be particularly useful for individuals living in countries with strict internet censorship laws.

Potential Security Concerns for Both Technologies

Despite the many security benefits of ZTNA and VPN, there are still potential security concerns to consider. For example, ZTNA can be complicated to set up and may require additional hardware and software solutions. This can make it a more expensive option than VPN, particularly for small businesses or organizations with limited IT resources.

VPN is vulnerable to certain types of attacks, such as man-in-the-middle attacks, that can compromise the security of the connection. In a man-in-the-middle attack, an attacker intercepts the communication between the user and the network and can potentially steal sensitive information or inject malicious code. Additionally, VPN can be vulnerable to attacks that exploit weaknesses in the encryption algorithm or implementation.

It is important to carefully evaluate the security features of both ZTNA and VPN before choosing a solution. Factors to consider include the level of security needed, the resources available for implementation and maintenance, and the compatibility with existing infrastructure and devices.

Analyzing Performance and Scalability

ZTNA Performance Metrics

Because ZTNA grants access on an individual basis, it can help to improve network performance and reduce latency issues. This is because each user is only granted access to the resources they need, rather than being given access to the entire network. However, ZTNA can be more demanding on the infrastructure, and as a result, it may require more resources to scale effectively.

VPN Performance Metrics

VPNs are generally considered to be slower and more prone to latency issues than ZTNA. This is because VPNs create a secure connection for all users at the same level, which can generate traffic congestion, resulting in poor performance. However, VPNs are generally more scalable than ZTNA because they use a single point of entry, which can make it easier to manage an increased number of users on the network.

Scalability Considerations for Growing Businesses

When it comes to scalability, businesses must carefully consider the needs of their employees and the demands they will place on the remote access technology. For businesses with a smaller number of users, ZTNA may be a better option due to its ability to grant individualized access. However, for larger businesses, VPN may be a more scalable option, as it can handle a larger number of users simultaneously.

Assessing Ease of Deployment and Management

Implementing ZTNA Solutions

ZTNA solutions can be complex to set up and require additional hardware and software solutions to function properly. As a result, implementing ZTNA can be challenging, particularly for smaller businesses with limited resources. However, once ZTNA is up and running, it generally requires less ongoing maintenance and management than VPN.

Implementing VPN Solutions

VPN solutions are generally easier to implement than ZTNA because they are simpler in nature and do not require additional hardware or software. Additionally, VPN is compatible with a wider range of devices, making it an attractive option for businesses with a more diverse user base. However, VPN solutions can be more complicated to maintain and manage over time.

Managing and Maintaining Your Chosen Solution

Regardless of which remote access technology is chosen, there will be ongoing maintenance and management required. Both ZTNA and VPN require regular maintenance, such as software updates, security patches, and ongoing monitoring to ensure that they remain secure and functional. Businesses must have a plan in place for managing and maintaining their chosen solution to ensure that it remains effective over the long term.


Choosing between ZTNA and VPN can be challenging, as both technologies offer unique benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, the best remote access technology for your business will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of your business, the needs of your employees, and the level of security that you require. By carefully considering all of the factors involved, businesses can choose the remote access technology that best meets their needs and helps keep their data and employees secure.