Choosing the Right Network Solution: Traditional VPNs, Zero Trust, or Overlay Networks?


As businesses become more digital, network security has become a top priority. A virtual private network (VPN) has long been a go-to solution for remote access to a company’s network. However, with the rise of cyber attacks, traditional VPNs are no longer enough. In recent years, two newer network security solutions have emerged: Zero Trust and overlay networks (SDN). In this post, we compare these solutions and explore their pros and cons.


Traditional VPNs 

Traditional VPNs were first introduced in the late 1990s and are still commonly used today. They create a secure encrypted tunnel between a user’s device and the company’s network. Once the tunnel is established, users can access the network as if they were physically in the office.

Pros: Traditional VPNs are simple to set up and can work with a range of applications. They are also relatively affordable compared to other solutions.

Cons: Traditional VPNs have several limitations. They are often slow and can have performance issues, especially if many users are accessing the network at once. Traditional VPNs also require the user to have a pre-existing connection to the internet, which can be an issue for remote workers who may be accessing the network from public Wi-Fi or other insecure connections.


Zero Trust 

Zero Trust is a security model that assumes that no user, device, or application is trustworthy by default, regardless of whether they are within or outside of the company’s network. Instead of granting access based on network location, Zero Trust requires verification of user identity, device security, and context of access before allowing access to resources.

Pros: Zero Trust provides a higher level of security than traditional VPNs, as it verifies the identity of the user and the security of the device before granting access. This makes it harder for hackers to gain unauthorised access to a company’s network.

Cons: Zero Trust requires more setup and configuration than traditional VPNs, and it can be more expensive to implement. It can also cause more user friction, as users will have to provide more information to authenticate themselves.


Overlay Networks (SDN) 

Software-defined networking (SDN) is a newer approach to network security. It creates an overlay network that sits on top of the existing network infrastructure. The overlay network is then used to create a more flexible and secure network, allowing for granular control over network traffic and more efficient use of network resources.

Pros: SDN allows for more granular control over network traffic and can provide better performance and scalability than traditional VPNs or Zero Trust solutions.

Cons: SDN can be complex to set up and manage, and it can be more expensive than other solutions. Additionally, some applications may not be compatible with SDN, which could limit its use in certain scenarios.


Choosing the Right Solution: VPN, Zero Trust, or SDN?


So which solution is right for your business? The answer depends on your specific needs and requirements. Here are some scenarios where each solution might be more appropriate:

  • Traditional VPNs are a good choice if you have a small number of remote workers who need access to a limited set of applications.
  • Zero Trust is a good choice if you have a larger number of remote workers and need to provide access to a wider range of applications and services while maintaining a high level of security.
  • Overlay networks (SDN) are a good choice if you need granular control over network traffic and need to support a large number of users and applications.


In conclusion, choosing the right network security solution is crucial for protecting your business from cyberattacks. Traditional VPNs, Zero Trust, and Overlay Networks (SDN) all have their pros and cons, and the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and requirements. We are here to help you select and implement the best network solution for your business. Contact us today.