Google’s BeyondCorp: What is it and Does it Beat VPNs?

As more companies recognize the upward trend of remote working and the evident need for enhanced security measures for their business as a result, Google has released BeyondCorp, its answer to zero trust security. Zero trust security is a network security model based on a strict identity process. That’s important right now. If one thing is for certain, it’s that in the midst of coronavirus, nobody is certain about how long remote working will continue. With that in mind, businesses are doing everything they can to protect both their employees and valuable assets from online fraudsters and criminals. Zero trust security is one way of doing this – but what does it offer in comparison to VPNs? 

What BeyondCorp Does 

Zero trust security is actually a relatively vague term as the framework can be implemented in a number of different ways. In the case of BeyondCorp, it means shifting access controls from a network perimeter to individual users and devices. Google believes that this will allow employees, contractors, and other users to work more securely from virtually any location in the world, without using a traditional VPN. Essentially, this means signing into the BeyondCorp network using zero trust security on your devices, which guarantees security no matter what kind of network you’re using, to access BeyondCorp. 

Does It Beat VPNs For Remote Access? 

Offering a level of security that means a traditional VPN is no longer necessary may be a bold claim and it’s one that many people will listen to coming from a household name like Google. Unfortunately, while BeyondCorp does provide a secure way of accessing your important files in the Cloud no matter what network you’re using, it doesn’t offer the same kind of protection that many people use VPNs for in the first place. 

Let’s consider the reasons why VPNs are so popular. One of the main reasons they’re used is they allow people to bypass geo-blocks and restricted content. This extends way beyond the reach of just watching your favorite films and TV shows on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon. It means accessing important websites that may be restricted in locations such as India and China. It means knowing that your rights to internet freedom are protected in countries that might want to prove otherwise. 

Another reason why VPNs are so popular is they grant users with anonymity and protect them from malicious hackers and criminals. Connecting your device to a VPN means routing your internet connection through a private server rather than directly through your ISP. This way, your ISP is unable to see what you’re up to and where you’re connecting from, along with the information you’re transferring. By accessing private servers from all over the world, you’re also creating a more direct route for your connection, meaning you’ll usually benefit from much faster speeds than if you were to connect normally to your ISP. 

Finally, there are additional security features that a VPN offers – and depending on which VPN provider you choose, there are lots of them. Most VPNs offer military-grade encryption as standard and many more offer their services with a clear no-logging policy which means they don’t keep records of your information/sites you access. We obviously can’t say the same about Google. In addition, many VPNs also use Kill Switches which terminate your internet connection if you’re disconnected from your VPN.

Our Thoughts

There’s no denying that BeyondCorp will provide reassurance to many business owners by providing their employees with a trusted way of accessing important files. This is especially important given everyone’s home network is different and employers can never be certain that the networks their employees are working from are safe. That said, having the Google name attached to BeyondCorp is possibly the biggest thing going for it. There’s no reason to prioritize the use of BeyondCorp over a VPN. If security is your focus, you should be concerned about the information your ISP is gathering on you while you’re browsing. You can read more about that here.

Adam Dagan
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