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Remote access isn’t a new demand, yet COVID-19 caught the industry by surprise, with businesses unprepared to effectively shift to a work-from-everywhere model. Why? Because enterprises were suddenly forced to enable remote access to all users, at once, and from anywhere across the globe. Current solutions, such as Virtual Private Network (VPN) servers, provide connectivity for some users, some of the time. But VPN servers can’t support all the users, all the time – which is exactly what’s needed to continue your business during a global crisis.
In our recent Remote Access Survey, we gathered data from 694 IT professionals, who shared their experiences of shifting their business to working remotely, post coronavirus outbreak. We learned that the vast majority (96%) of respondents are still using appliance-based solutions, rather than cloud services. Of those respondents, 64% have a dedicated VPN server, which isn’t suited to deliver the scalability, security and performance needed in today’s evolved business reality.
We found that more than half (55%) of the respondents experienced an increase of 75%-100% in remote access usage. And 28% reported a growth of at least 200%. VPN might still be the most common remote access technology, it was never designed to continuously connect entire enterprises to critical applications. And, in a global health crisis scenario, where everyone requires constant remote access, legacy VPN can’t support the extreme load, resulting in slow response time and affecting user productivity.
VPN provides secure access at network level, rather than at application level. This expands the attack surface and possibility for data breach, affecting the enterprise’s security posture. Providing remote access to specific applications with granular control is critical for ensuring users get access only to authorized applications, whether on premises or in the cloud. This keeps the network safe and prevents unrestricted access. Still, only 29% of the respondents indicated that they manage remote user access at application level.
When asked about performance issues, 67% of the respondents confirmed they receive complaints from their remote users, where connection instability and slow application response are the leading problems. VPN uses the unpredictable public Internet, which isn’t optimized for global access and requires backhauling traffic to a datacenter or up to the cloud. This turns VPN into a chokepoint of network traffic into the datacenter, adding latency and resulting in poor user experience.
Enterprises are seeking to strategically address the pressing matter of remote access. About half (45%) of the respondents are planning to upgrade to a larger VPN server, but interestingly only a third of them are considering a cloud service. We’re not surprised by this, and believe it indicates a current, mutual sense of urgency among enterprises, which often results in having to make rash decisions. Gartner’s new guide “Solving the Challenges of Modern Remote Access,” addresses this crisis atmosphere, offering practical recommendations and a step-by-step decision tree for dealing with the explosion of remote access.
Fortunately, our customers didn’t experience any of the issues described by the survey respondents. Our SASE platform converges networking and security into a unified, global cloud service, enabling seamless connectivity to all locations, users, and applications. Customers can effortlessly move all their users to work-from-anywhere, without degrading performance or security. This is exactly what we mean by a network that’s ready for whatever’s next.