Zero Trust VPN Alternative for Accessing File Shares

According to Gartner, by 2023, 60% of Enterprises will phase out most of their remote access VPN solutions in favor of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). Security cannot be guaranteed by VPNs since open network ports can be compromised and exploited. With VPN, hackers can get gain access to internal corporate networks where many Enterprises are vulnerable to ransomware encryption and other business ending catastrophic attacks. What was slowly becoming a reality to adapt to the new Zero Trust landscape has dramatically increased since the pandemic hit – with remote workers creating a logistical nightmare for IT Departments around the world. Network security and remote file share access is essential part of doing business as well as data integrity and governance. So, what is the answer when you must adapt quickly and cost effectively?

Read on…

Cloud Security Risks

IT Department burnout is real while having to constantly play catch-up with threats, maintenance protocols on VPN updates, mobile device management, and securing remote access to files and file shares. Constant vigilance is pushing budgets to the brink and hardware based VPNs are obsolete – they harken back to a time when only a small percentage of employees worked remotely or when key staff were the only ones allowed to access the network remotely. Now entire organizations have their workforce running remotely with institutions in the Educational, Healthcare, Government, and Financial sectors operating with a remote first mentality while being consumed on two fronts – data security and data governance.

So, what is Zero Trust or ZTNA? Otherwise known as a Software Designed Perimeter or SDP, ZTNA is defined by operating on a trust model where trust is never implicit, and access is only granted with a need to know basis or with a least privileged basis defined by worst case scenario policies. Certain technologies allow for this model and enable Enterprises to operate without key vulnerabilities. In other words, nothing is safe, remote access to files is risky and you should never trust anyone to always follow the protocols set forth. Assume that everyone in the organization, even the CEO can potentially become an unwitting hacker without even knowing it and the best security policy is having an ironclad technology that is based on the philosophy that no one can be trusted with remote access. Think of it like this- a front door can have a security card, and everyone can have a work ID to get in the door but what if someone has a stolen ID? Once that thief is in then they can do whatever they want. Though cyber threats are the futuristic menace we live with in the here and now, the concept is not new.

To rob a bank, you can knock down the door with guns, masks on or you can put on a suit and embezzle from the inside. You can even drill a tunnel straight into the safe that has thick walls. As long as there have been banks there have been thieves who have dug a tunnel right into the safe room where the money is hidden. Not all enemies show their malicious intent at the front door.

With VPN bad actors can be free to move laterally or access and exfiltrate data from all sides. Zero Trust is not about making a system more trusted, Zero Trust is about eliminating trust altogether.

The evolution of security- The concept of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) was solidified in 2010 by John Kindervag who at the time was a VP and Principal analyst at Forrester Research. The most often used phrase used to describe the ZTNA approach is ‘Never Trust, Always Verify’.

The big question for Chief Technology Officers and Chief Information Security Officers regarding security is if your more secure today than yesterday? Despite more awareness and more offers and companies jumping into the market with solutions, the answer that most security IT officers say is NO—no we are not more secure, we are not fully prepared for an entire workforce to be accessing files remotely and sharing files securely.

As a decision maker you may be spending time and resources implementing anti-malware, focused on protecting emails from phishing, dealing with compromised possibilities with encryption, DDOS, and so much more. Yet you might have only a few people “standing guard” i.e. running the network behind it—this often is a losing battle.

Security must evolve because threats are evolving even faster. VPN technology is 30 years old. If you are relying on VPNs to keep your network security locked up and remote access to files, then you are doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The constant menace of security threats must be mitigated against the necessity of accessing files remotely. Implementing Zero Trust Network Access does not mean implementing zero worry but pursuing a strategy that does not have to rely on VPN’s is long overdue and smart to pursue.

VPN’s are showing their age. Concepts of credentials and trust birthed out of the needs of 90s-era technology attributes are like trying to chase a corvette with a Model T. It cannot be done but unfortunately many Enterprises are still stuck in this methodology and still wondering how to get out of it quickly without compromising their entire network.

Data Loss Prevention

As ZTNA becomes the gold standard in network security then what is needed to provide that level of security and create a sanctuary of data shielded from threats without breaking the bank and wasting precious time with data migrations to some other cloud based platform. Just like fortifying a bank from thieves and bad actors, you may install cameras and implement background checks for safekeeping against an inside job and you can hide the cash and assets behind steel and cement and fortify against outside attacks but how do you handle the cash and access the cash without losing it?

This is where MyWorkDrive can help. Secure remote access to files and file shares without having to use VPNs, manage SQL databases, no migrating files or backups to other systems and NTFS security integration is a phenomenal proposition. Add to the list of cost savings and resource planning, IT professionals can also manage permissions easily and quickly.

MyWorkDrive is easy to setup, and even easier to manage. The tool allows file share remote access using any web browser with MyWorkDrive’ s File Manager, Mobile Device, or Mapped Drive app. Instantly create your own private cloud and collaborate without sync or migrating your files. Enjoy rapid deployment with more security, simplified setup, and no expensive hardware, all under your control.

MyWorkDrive’ s native Windows Active Directory integration only takes you a few minutes to deploy. Easily publish existing Windows Shares and who can access them. Mobile device management becomes a breeze and all data compliance concerns taken care of. MyWorkDrive lets you add cloud like functionality to your own file server shares. No SQL Database to manage, backup, or license. Publish windows file shares using active directory out of the box. No migrating files or backups to new systems. 100% Native Windows File Share and NTFS Security Integration.

MyWorkDrive’ s secure file sharing software is the only solution that enables enterprises to remotely edit and collaborate on documents within a browser window or Office Mobile apps on iOS or Android, using Office Online while keeping files stored on their own company’s server. In other words, collaborate in Office 365 but keep your files local.

A remote workforce can access files remotely from anywhere anytime without VPNs. That is Zero Trust Network Access in less time and under budget.

Daniel, Founder of, has worked in various technology management roles serving enterprises, government and education in the San Francisco bay area since 1992. Daniel is certified in Microsoft Technologies and writes about information technology, security and strategy and has been awarded US Patent #9985930 in Remote Access Networking