SDP vs VPN: Which is the Best Security Solution for Enterprise Business in 2023

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As organizations move towards digitization, security has become a significant part of their operations.

Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) and Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are two of the most extensively used security solutions on the market.

Although both solutions provide substantial security advantages, their operation is distinct.

SDP is a security system that restricts network access to several verified and approved clients.

It does this by establishing a safe connection between the user and the application from beginning to end.

On the other hand, VPN is a security protocol that establishes an encrypted connection between the organization’s network and the user’s device.

VPNs empower telecommuters to access the association’s assets as though they were straightforwardly associated with its organization.

Determining the best cloud security solution for an enterprise business can be tedious.

The organization’s size, industry, and security requirements are just a couple of the factors that go into making this paramount decision.

Despite the fact that both solutions improve security, significant differences between them may restrain their suitability for various enterprise environments.

This article will examine the differences between SDP and VPN and discuss which might be best for enterprise businesses.

What is SDP?

SDP, or Programming Characterized Boundary, is a security solution to protect programs and data from unauthorized access.

This network security approach is relatively new compared to standard security models that rely on firewalls and other perimeter-based security mechanisms to protect networks.

Zero trust is the foundation of the SDP model, meaning no user or device is trusted by default.

Users and devices authenticated and authorized in an SDP environment can only access applications and data.

This is accomplished by making a solid start-to-finish association between the client and the application instead of depending on customary organization edge safety efforts.

SDP creates a “black cloud” around the data or application that needs protection.

This cloud is an access control layer, restricting only application or data access to authorized and authenticated users.

The connection between the user and the application or data in SDP solutions is typically protected by encryption, making it difficult for hackers to intercept or access the data.

Also Read: Top 10 Best Zero Trust Security Vendors – 2023

History of Software-defined Perimeter (SDP)

A relatively new method of network security called Software-defined Perimeter (SDP) was initially suggested by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) in 2013.

The concept was developed in reaction to the shortcomings of conventional network security models, which were designed for a different type of computing environment.

SDP was built on zero trust security, meaning no person or device is trusted by default.

SDP does this by establishing a secure connection between the user and the application that is secure all the way through, as opposed to depending on traditional perimeter-based security mechanisms.

The CSA created the SDP Working Group in 2014 to provide a uniform methodology for SDP implementation.

Members of the working group included security experts, academics, Cisco, Intel, and Microsoft.

An SDP specification laying down the principles and requirements to be followed when implementing this system was published by the Working Party in 2015.

The associations which seek to find a safer, more modern method of managing network security have become increasingly aware of these arrangements.

Although SDP hasn’t been in place for a long time, it is rapidly becoming popular as a modern approach to network security.

Given the increased sophistication of cyber attacks, SDP is an excellent option for businesses that wish to protect their digital assets from unauthorized access.

How Does SDP Work?

The Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) security architecture protects programs and data against unwanted access.

Rather than depending on traditional perimeter-based security measures, it creates a secure connection between the user and the program from start to finish.

Here are the steps involved in how SDP works:

  • User Authentication: Before accessing an application, a user must first authenticate. SDP solutions often employ multi-factor authentication (MFA) to confirm the user’s identity. MFA might include a security token, a biometric identification, or a username and password.
  • Device Authentication: SDP solutions validate users’ authentications and the devices that users use to access applications. Because it stops compromised devices from facilitating unauthorized access, this is beneficial.
  • Authorization: The SDP solution selects which resources the user is permitted access to after authenticating the user and device. This is often determined by the user’s position within the company and the program or data they want access to.
  • Black Cloud: SDP solutions create a safe “black cloud” around the application or data that needs to be protected after authentication and authorization. This cloud is an access control layer, restricting only application or data access to authorized and authenticated users.
  • Encryption: SDP solutions typically employ encryption to safeguard the user-application connection. Hackers will have difficulty gaining access to the data due to this.

In a nutshell, SDP is an advanced technique for defending networks from increasingly sophisticated intrusions. They are, therefore a desirable choice for companies wishing to protect their digital assets.

What Is the Purpose of SDP?

Conventional organization security models, like firewalls and virtual confidential organizations (VPNs), were intended for an alternate time of registering and are frequently unfit to stay aware of the rising refinement of digital assaults.

SDP was created to overcome these restrictions by creating a secure end-to-end connection between the user and the application rather than depending on perimeter-based security measures.

The purpose of SDP is to provide several benefits, including:

  • Increased Security: SDP uses a zero-trust approach, meaning no user or device is trusted by default to provide more security. This lessens the likelihood of data breaches and prevents unauthorized access.
  • Scalability: SDP is well-suited for modern computing environments with cloud-based applications and distributed workforces because it is designed to be highly scalable.
  • Ease of Deployment: Compared to traditional network security solutions, which frequently necessitate complex configurations and upkeep, SDP solutions typically require less effort.
  • Reduced Complexity: By simplifying the security model and reducing the number of security tools required, SDP solutions help reduce network security’s complexity.

SDP’s general objective is to offer an organization security technique that is more qualified to current figuring conditions, versatile, and simpler to carry out.

Given the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks, SDP is a promising option for businesses seeking to safeguard their digital assets from unauthorized access.

What is VPN?

The VPN is a representation of the Virtual Confidential Organization.

It is a piece of technology that enables a private, secure connection between your computer or smartphone and the Internet.

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) makes it hard for anybody to track your online activity since your Internet traffic is encrypted and routed through the VPN provider’s distant server.

Virtual Private Networks can also be used to access websites and online services that might be restricted or prohibited within a given country or area, in addition to providing privacy and security.

They are often used by activists, tourists, journalists, and distant workers who require secure internet access from various locations. 

At any rate, it is important to keep in mind that not every VPN works exactly the same and some VPNs may be wrong or used by untrustworthy companies.

To thoroughly research these matters and look for reliable sources is also necessary.

How does a VPN work?

A detailed description of how a VPN works is given below:

  • Encryption: Your device first establishes an encrypted connection to the VPN server when you connect to one. This implies that all information sent between your gadget and her VPN servers is scrambled so that anybody checking your web action can’t be blocked or perused.
  • IP address: Your device gets a new IP address from the VPN server once the encrypted connection is established. This IP address, which is associated with the VPN server rather than your actual location, is distinct from your usual IP address. This indicates that your online activity appears to originate from the VPN server rather than your actual location when you access the internet through the VPN server.
  • Traffic routing:  You can access a VPN server and browse the Web while your connection is encrypted when you have this new IP address installed on your device. Requests from your device are sent to VPN servers that forward requests to the desired website or service. The response is sent to the VPN server, encrypted and forwarded to your device by this website or service.
  • Privacy and security: All of your internet traffic is encrypted by VPN servers, making it considerably more challenging for someone to eavesdrop or snoop on your online activities. Keep your privacy and security in mind when accessing private information online and utilizing public Wi-Fi.

In short, a VPN works by making a secure and scrambled association between your gadget and an inaccessible server, which permits you to get to the web through the farther server and makes a difference in securing your security and security online. 

How is SDP different from VPN?

SDP (Software-Defined Border) and VPN (Virtual Private Network) are both mechanisms that offer secure networks to arrange assets; be that as it may, their approaches and levels of security shift.

VPN technology creates an encrypted tunnel between the user’s device and the corporate network, enabling secure remote access to network resources via the Internet.

Most of the time, VPN technology makes accessing internal resources like file servers, applications, and databases safe.

SDP, on the other hand, could be a later innovation that gives a secure and more granular strategy of getting to arrange assets.

Rather than giving a wide arrangement through a VPN burrow, SDP develops an energetic, identity-based border around each client, application, and asset.

SDP utilizes a zero-trust demonstration, which implies that access is allowed as it were to authorize clients, gadgets, and applications to understand arrangements and settings.

Rather than making a burrow between the user’s gadget and the organizer, SDP builds up a secure session with the target application or asset.

As a result, SDP is able to get to specific resources without putting the whole network at risk.

In conclusion, whereas SDP makes an energetic, identity-based edge around each client, application, and asset, VPN gives secure access to assets, though SDP gives a more granular and secure strategy for accessing assets.

SDP utilizes a zero-trust demonstration and guarantees that authorized clients and gadgets can get to assets by ceaselessly checking and upholding security arrangements.

Advantages of SDP over VPN

Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) by Perimeter81 offers several advantages over Virtual Private Networks (VPN), including:

  • Improved security: Before giving access to a specific asset, SDP utilizes a zero-trust security model that confirms each user’s character and security attitude. Not at all like a VPN, which as it were gives security at the connection level, this strategy offers security controls that are more energetic and granular.
  • Enhanced scalability: SDP provides a more scalable and adaptive approach to resource access management. SDP uses policies and contexts to grant access to specific resources rather than the entire network through the VPN tunnel. This strategy makes it easier for companies to scale up access management in large or complex networks. 
  • Reduced attack surface: Instead of exposing the entire network to potential threats through a VPN tunnel, SDP reduces the network attack surface by restricting access to specific resources. Due to this strategy, attackers are less likely to move horizontally, making it harder to access sensitive data or systems. 
  • Improved user experience: By allowing users to access resources quickly and easily without going through the time-consuming setup and installation procedure required by a VPN, SDP offers consumers a better user experience than VPNs. Additionally, SDP offers a uniform user experience across various platforms and gadgets, which might boost productivity and lessen user annoyance.
  • Compliance and audibility: SDP offers more thorough user access and activity logs than VPN, which improves compliance and audibility. By using this data, security regulations may be monitored and enforced, and regulatory compliance can be shown.


In conclusion, SDP and VPN provide a secure connection to network resources, but their approaches and security levels differ.

SDP provides a more granular and secure method of accessing resources by creating a dynamic identity-based perimeter around each person. In contrast, VPN provides network-level security and secure remote access to internal resources. Use applications and assets. 

Regarding compliance and audibility, scalability, attack surface, user experience, and overall security, SDP performs better than VPN.

SDP is an appealing option for businesses that need to provide secure access to resources to remote users, third-party vendors, and other external parties.

SDP is a newer and more innovative approach to access management that is gaining popularity as organizations increasingly adopt cloud-based applications and services.

The final decision between SDP and VPN will be based on the unique demands of each firm, including user experience, scalability, and security considerations.

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