Does a small business need to invest in a VPN?

By Kaushal Saraf, Lead Engineer at Atomus

As a small business, you know the importance of protecting your data. But what if there was an easier way to secure your data without having to invest in costly VPNs? Find out in this article how setting up a zero-trust model with Microsoft 365 can help you keep your sensitive information safe without breaking the bank.

What is a zero-trust model?

When it comes to securing your small business data, the zero-trust model is an easier way to do it without a VPN. In a nutshell, the zero-trust model is about not trusting anyone by default. This means that all users, whether they’re inside or outside of your network, are treated equally.

This may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. You can still use many of the same security tools you’re using now, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems. The key difference is that you need to configure these tools to work with the zero-trust model.

One of the benefits of the zero-trust model is that it’s much more difficult for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities. Even if they are able to find a weakness in your system, they still need to get past all of your security controls. This makes it much less likely that they will be successful.

If you’re looking for a more secure way to protect your small business data, the zero-trust model is definitely worth considering.

What is a VPN?

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a secure tunnel between two or more devices. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server, making it difficult for anyone to snoop on your activity or steal your data.

The zero-trust model is a more effective way to secure your data because it doesn’t rely on a single security measure, like a VPN. Instead, it uses multiple layers of security to verify each user and device before granting them access. This verification can happen through multiple factors, such as passwords, two-factor authentication, or biometrics. This makes it much harder for hackers to penetrate your network and steal your data.

Why you need zero-trust instead of a VPN

A VPN, or virtual private network, has long been the go-to solution for businesses wanting to secure their data. But recent advances in technology have made VPNs less effective, and in some cases, downright dangerous. That’s why more and more businesses are turning to zero-trust models to secure their data.

Zero-trust models are based on the principle that no one can be trusted, not even employees or administrators with privileged access. This means that all users, regardless of their position or location, must be authenticated and authorized before they can access any data or resources.

There are several advantages of using a zero-trust model over a VPN:

Ease of use: Zero-trust models are much easier to set up and manage than VPNs. There’s no need to provision and manage separate user accounts or install client software on employee devices.

Cost: Zero-trust models are typically less expensive than VPNs because they don’t require special hardware or software.

Security: Zero-trust models offer better security than VPNs because they prevent unauthorized access to data and resources. And if a user’s credentials are compromised, the attacker won’t be able to access anything else since each request is individually authenticated.

Performance: Zero-trust models don’t degrade performance like VPNs often do. This is because users don’t have to establish a separate connection to the corporate network

How to set up a zero-trust model in the Microsoft world?

A zero-trust model is a security strategy that assumes that all users and devices are untrustworthy. In this model, all traffic is treated as if it’s coming from an untrusted source, eliminating the need to trust any user or device on the network.

Microsoft World offers a zero-trust security solution that’s easy to set up and use. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Enable Azure Active Directory Conditional Access policies.
  2. Create and configure Azure Information Protection labels.
  3. Use Microsoft Intune to deploy mobile device management policies.
  4. Implement Azure Multi-Factor Authentication for all users.
  5. Monitor activity with Azure Monitor and Azure Security Center.

What are the benefits of using the zero-trust model instead of a VPN?

When it comes to securing your small business data, there are a number of different options available. One option that is becoming increasingly popular is the zero-trust model. This model provides a number of benefits over traditional VPNs, making it a more attractive option for small businesses.

One of the biggest benefits of using the zero-trust model is that it eliminates the need for a VPN. VPNs can be complicated to set up and maintain, and they often require expensive hardware and software. Zero-trust models, on the other hand, can be implemented quickly and easily, without any special equipment or software.

Another benefit of the zero-trust model is that it provides better security than a VPN. VPNs rely on a single point of failure – the server that they connect to. If this server is compromised, all of the data flowing through the VPN can be accessed by an attacker. Zero-trust models, on the other hand, use multiple layers of security, making it much more difficult for an attacker to gain access to your data.

Finally, the zero-trust model is more scalable than a VPN. As your business grows, you may need to add more users or devices to your network. With a VPN, you would need to purchase additional licenses for each new user or device. With a zero-trust model, you can simply add new users and devices without having to worry about buying additional licenses.

Wait! You might still need a VPN!

There are a few circumstances when you might still need a VPN in addition to a zero-trust security model. For example, if you frequently work remotely and need to access sensitive company data, a VPN can provide an extra layer of protection. Additionally, if your business has employees who travel frequently or work in public places, a VPN can help keep their data safe from potential hackers.


The zero-trust model is an effective way to secure your small business data without having to invest in a VPN. It allows you to create isolated networks that are only accessible by approved personnel and systems, reducing the risk of malicious actors from accessing your sensitive information. With its simple setup process and ease of use, it’s becoming increasingly popular with small businesses looking for reliable security solutions. Whether you’re looking for cost savings or better control over access rights, the zero-trust model could be just what you need to make sure your data stays safe.

Kaushal Saraf is currently the Lead Engineer at Atomus – a cybersecurity compliance platform for small businesses in the Aerospace and Defense who want to sell their products and services to the DoD. Before Atomus, Kaushal worked at Goldman Sachs and WeWork, as well as won DoD contracts for cybersecurity products.


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