What Is a Remote Access VPN?

2 min. read

A remote access virtual private network (VPN) enables users who are working remotely to securely access and use applications and data that reside in the corporate data center and headquarters, encrypting all traffic the users send and receive.

The remote access VPN does this by creating a tunnel between an organization’s network and a remote user that is “virtually private,” even though the user may be in a public location. This is because the traffic is encrypted, which makes it unintelligible to any eavesdropper. Remote users can securely access and use their organization’s network in much the same way as they would if they were physically in the office. With remote access VPN, data can be transmitted without an organization having to worry about the communication being intercepted or tampered with.

Why Companies Need to Move Beyond Remote Access VPN

With applications moving to the cloud, users don’t need to connect as often to the remote access VPN. Disconnected users present a security problem, however: Organizations lose visibility and control over user traffic. To address this shortcoming, security teams often add point products, such as proxies, to handle traffic when users are disconnected from the VPN. This is creating an issue with security, with different traffic paths following different security policies.

A more recent approach is to use a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE; pronounced “sassy”), which replaces the mix of VPNs and point products with a combination of networking and network security delivered as a service. Using SASE, an organization does not have to maintain a separate stand-alone proxy or VPN. Rather, users connect to a SASE solution (which provides access to the cloud and data center) with consistent security.


Some advantages of using a SASE are that it allows companies to:

  • Give users a simple way to access all applications
  • Maintain consistent security as users access all their applications
  • Apply security policies consistently across multiple locations and enforce least-privileged access
  • Simplify IT infrastructure and reduce costs by using a single cloud-based solution instead of having to buy and manage multiple point products

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