By Zach DeMeyer Posted May 16, 2019
As the average IT environment moves away from being on-prem, virtual private networks (VPNs) have become more critical than ever. IT organizations need to know that when their users are accessing IT resources, they are doing so securely. In addition to managing access to VPNs, IT admins are looking for the most cost-effective VPN management solutions that won’t break their budgets. With that in mind, the question becomes: is there a free VPN authentication management solution available? Let’s find out.
Why Manage VPN Authentication?
Of course, before we explore free VPN authentication management options, it’s best to understand why you would need to manage VPNs in the first place. The earliest IT networks were all on-prem, with systems linked together through physical wiring, connected to a large server stack hub via Ethernet.
With physical connections, it was increasingly difficult for hackers to access the network without the arduous process of literally jacking into the network. At this time, network management, while certainly no cake walk, was a relatively simple task for most admins.
Everything changed with the onset of the internet. The World Wide Web opened up many ground-breaking possibilities, one of which being the concept of telecommuting, that is, working outside of the physical network. Telecommuting employees could technically perform their duties remotely, but still needed a way to securely access company resources housed on-prem.
That is where the VPN came in. A VPN essentially ports users into the on-prem network through secured network tunnel and by routing them through a credential wall that prevented non-employee access. Using VPNs, remote workers could access their work networks from public networks, such as homes, hotels, or coffee shops. While VPNs answered the problem of providing remote users access to on-prem infrastructure, they dug up several other hiccups.
Changes to the Network as a Whole
As the on-prem network started to become a café style network, with little to no IT resources housed on-prem, the challenge of VPNs became slightly different. As such, many of today’s organizations are leveraging VPNs for access to critical data center infrastructure and applications. For instance, many developers and ops personnel are using VPNs to access AWS® and other resources.
In addition to setting up and managing the VPN infrastructure, IT and Ops personnel are responsible for granting and managing access to the VPN itself. Historically, this effort would require integration with an on-prem identity provider, such as Microsoft® Active Directory® (AD). VPNs usually are managed via a RADIUS instance, which ends up adding additional work to set up and manage in addition to AD.
But, as modern IT organizations shift away from on-prem directory services, there are questions on how to properly integrate and manage VPN access. Thankfully, a solution that can manage VPN authentication is on the market, delivered from the cloud.
Free VPN Authentication Management from the Cloud
This cloud directory solution can seamlessly integrate with VPNs to manage user access. What’s more, for 10 users or less, this cloud platform is completely free. Using a cloud directory services approach, a good chunk of the work behind managing VPNs is offloaded, as RADIUS services are already tightly integrated into this directory service.