Learn the differences and similarities between these two connectivity technologies

The table below details the distinction between many aspects of ZTNA and VPN in the Digibee Integration Platform context.



ZTNA is a secure remote access solution that implements zero trust security principles, which means that users and devices are not trusted by default.

ZTNA will make sure that they are given access to specific resources on a case-by-case basis.

VPN is a technology that is used to create a

secure and encrypted connection between two networks or devices over the internet.

When a user connects to a VPN, their internet traffic is encrypted and routed through a secure tunnel to the VPN server. The user’s IP address is replaced with the IP address of the VPN server, which helps to mask the user’s identity and location.

Trust and Access

ZTNA segments network resources at the application level and only allows users to access individual apps that their privileges authorize them to use. ZTNA authenticates the user and device each time they make a request to access a different part of the network. This makes it much more difficult to access the network and greatly limits how much damage an attacker could do even if they did gain access.

VPNs assume that, once a user or device is connected to the corporate network, they can be trusted. These trusted users and devices are then granted unlimited access to the entire network.


The micro-segmentation offered by ZTNA gives admins visibility into which apps users are accessing in real-time. This allows admins to quickly identify any anomalous behavior that could indicate account compromise, such as a user accessing an application that they wouldn’t normally need. Also, it enables admins to identify whether they’ve subscribed to any apps that aren’t being used, or are being used by fewer people than they thought would need them, allowing them to cut costs on unnecessary subscriptions.

When a user connects to the network via a VPN, IT or security admins can

only see that they have accessed the network and when. They can’t see

which applications the user has signed in to, or for how long

Latency and performance

ZTNA does not require all traffic to be routed through a centralized gateway or server. Traffic goes directly to the application Instead, ZTNA uses distributed gateways that are closer to the user and the resources they are accessing. This reduces latency and improves performance.

VPNs route traffic through multiple servers and then through a central point in the corporate data center, which can cause latency in the connection.

Improved scalability

With ZTNA, the specific application-to-user connection is designed for rapid scale while maintaining high-performance availability and consistent delivery needed for modern security solutions without negatively impacting user experience.

Since VPNs provide a user with access to everything, businesses needed a

certain bandwidth to function without impacting workflows.

Device health

ZTNA integrates device compliance and health into access policies, giving you the option to exclude non-compliant, infected, or compromised systems from accessing corporate applications and data. This greatly reduces the risk of data theft or leakage.

Remote access VPN has no awareness of the health state of a connecting

device. If a compromised device connects via VPN, it could affect the rest

of the network.


ZTNA secures access between resources and also grants access to systems, services, and apps based on defined policies.

VPNs secure access between networks.

Implementation and Management

Can be implemented in phases, so the initial phase of the implementation is quick with limited (to none) disruption and further built from there.

High complexity and very dependent on infra teams.

Adaptability to Modern Environments

ZTNA is better suited for modern environments where applications and resources are spread across multiple cloud services, as it can enforce granular access controls regardless of the resource location.

VPNs may struggle to keep up with the dynamic nature of modern IT environments, especially with the rise of cloud-based applications and services.


ZTNA offers more flexibility than a traditional VPN. ZTNA solutions are cloud-based, which means they can be implemented almost anywhere with little impact on user experience.

Traditional VPNs require more manual configuration and offer less flexibility. However, cloud VPNs provide an equal level of flexibility as ZTNA, albeit with a limited featureset.

Architecture comparison



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