As the work-from-home trend grows due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for secure access to enterprise resources continues to grow, and with it the demand for ever-more VPN.
For example, demand for commercial virtual private networks in the U.S. jumped by 41% between March 13 and March 23, according to research from Top10VPN.com, a VPN research and testing company in the U.K. The VPN market will hit $70 billion by 2026, according to market research and management consulting company Global Market Insights. In an April blog, AT&T pointed to a 700% increase in connections to its cloud-based SD-WAN Static Network-Based (ANIRA) VPN service.
That increased traffic puts more stress on enterprise VPN infrastructure, but one of the most effective ways to ease that stress is split tunneling.
Split tunneling is a feature that lets customers select specific, enterprise-bound traffic to be sent through a corporate VPN tunnel. The rest goes directly to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) without going through the tunnel. Otherwise, all traffic, even traffic headed for sites on the internet, would go through the VPN, through enterprise security measures and then back out to the internet. The idea is that the VPN infrastructure has to handle less traffic, so it performs better.
CESA (Cisco Endpoint Security Analytics) provides the VPN traffic insight needed to keep tabs on what traffic is going over the split tunnel and also identify the traffic that should be moved back into the corporate tunnel. And the reverse is also true, Pope stated.
In emergencies, IT organizations are often put in the position of rolling out a high volume of remote workers in a very short time, Pope stated.
Security is the biggest challenge when using split tunnels since the data outside the VPN still has to be protected and monitored. It’s a case of knowing what that traffic is and how to increase security on that traffic.
Cisco isn’t the only industry player to advance split tunneling. Microsoft recently detailed tool customers can use to evaluate VPN connectivity and split tunneling via its Office 365 onboarding tool.
That tool now detects the use of a VPN and evaluates if the VPN is configured for recommended Office 365 split tunneling. “With many companies sending employees to work from home, scalable and performant VPN implementation supporting Office 365 is one of the top responsibilities that IT faces,” Microsoft stated.
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