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Software Development: Top 5 VPN Use Cases to Implement Right Now

A professional business cloud VPN may offer some significant benefits to software developers, helping to overcome security issues, network design weak points, and inconvenience of legacy tools. Let's take a deeper dive into the 5 most important ones.

Table of Contents

Remote Access to Development Environment

Software development carried remotely comes with potential security issues. Suppose you let developers use their preferred devices. In that case, you will end up allowing access to computers outside your local network with different OS, anti-virus policies, and software installed. A scenario in which you have no control over both developer’s devices and untrusted networks from which they connect to your resources. It might be an unprotected wi-fi in a cafe, airport, or home network. Regardless of the location, it is risky that your sensitive data flows over the public internet hence vulnerable to eavesdropping. 

But you still want to let developers do what they want without sacrificing security. In that case, business VPN comes as a practical solution for dealing with data protection on the network layer. But without a proper solution, you will burden your IT staff with configuring VPNs for each connected environment, managing networking, users, and maintaining changes.

With a business cloud VPN like GoodAccess, all these hurdles are non-existent. It represents a flexible and scalable solution to establish an encrypted tunnel from the developer’s device to your dev environment, bringing benefits like:

  • Delivered as SaaS, it is operated through a web interface. 
  • Business cloud VPN provider manages the underlying networking infrastructure
  • Connecting clouds, branches, or a specific system/application is as simple as adding a new user.
  • All subsequent deployment is automated.
  • With IP whitelisting, you can entirely hide your dev environment from the public internet and shield it from common network-based attacks. 
  • Developers are provided with a client app and access the internet via fixed IP dedicated to their team only. 
Developer systems in GoodAccess
Protected developer systems in GoodAccess.
The same toolset may also be used to allow access to your development environments for your clients. Thanks to the Zero Trust Networking principle, your clients may have a special role within your VPN to only access their respective environment, server, or application. This connection is secured with an identity-based authentication and managed using a single tool.

Such design allows a secure connection to all applications or servers (both private or SaaS) using virtually any protocol, including HTTPS, SSH, SFTP, or SCP. All traffic is encapsulated in an encrypted tunnel. As a result, they can perform tasks and use files in the target network or a machine (files, computing power, programs, databases, RDP, etc.) securely from any remote place. Moreover, user management is easy - you can quickly add new developers to the protected network and assign them permission to systems in a few clicks.

Secure Remote Connection with Clients's Systems 

Similar to remote access to private environments, delivering software engineering services on clients' systems comes with network security challenges. If you work for multiple clients, you are likely to access their infrastructure via a secured VPN tunnel.

Unfortunately, this often means you find yourself inconveniently switching between tools, accounts, credentials, 2FA methods depending on which client you work for at the time. Plus, how long does it take for the client to add a new account for your newcomers? And can you update access documentation on time? With the increasing number of projects, it soon becomes very frustrating to keep compliant with varying client security policies.

Instead, you could save both clients' efforts in managing your access and your resources on swiveling between VPN tools, centralize, get full control in your hands and optimize costs. Such balance can be achieved with a SaaS-delivered VPN technology with dedicated IP and zero trust access principles. Deploying your VPN for both multiple clients as well as internal resources can be just as easy as downloading an app from a marketplace.

Identity-based access control on Zero-trust principles in GoodAccess.

GoodAccess cloud VPN is multi-tenant by design, offering client apps for different OS and fully automated deployment. Every team has a dedicated static IP, which can be easily whitelisted on the target systems and networks. What's more, by assigning virtual access cards to each user, you equip them with a unique network identity, allowing access only to applications you want them to. 

Thanks to a layered security approach, GoodAccess makes it possible to control access to the network using third-party identity providers utilizing SAML protocol, such as Google, Okta, or Azure ID. It delivers higher precision making sure only authorized users can connect to the client's environment without the necessity of managing restrictions in multiple systems.

Resources Need to Talk to each Other Securely

Some resources are located on-site, others might be hosted by different cloud providers, some managed by third parties, contractors, etc. Commonly, resources need to communicate with each other. I.e., a SaaS-based CRM pulls information from a local DB hosted in LAN or your datacenter. Or your AWS-hosted app can be connected to a one running in Azure. 

With this complicated, mutually interconnected web of resources, securing all the communication pathways is challenging. Traditional network designs don’t keep up with the dynamics of such digital environments and require extensive manual labor to operate. 

To ensure your connections are breach-resistant, MPLS or SD-WAN are usually needed. Alternatively, a network of VPNs or tunnels requiring router and firewall configurations with different encryption protocols, access management, logging, device compliance and more.

GoodAccess cloud VPN simplifies such design and significantly speeds up configuration from one central point, admin panel. You can interconnect networks or systems together easily via few clics, whitelist allowed IPs and secure communication between legacy applications (http) and other systems

Cloud Migration Support

Companies migrate legacy application services from on-premise (in house) servers to the cloud to achieve better scalability, performance and other reasons. But migrations usually do not happen all at once. Traditional n-tier applications may be split, and each function hosted elsewhere. In this case, there are two scenarios where business cloud VPN may come in handy:

1. The application follows obsolete security standards and communicates by the unsecured HTTP protocol over the public internet. With cloud VPN, you can easily interconnect the on-premise part of the application with the virtual workload by an encrypted tunnel and get an additional security layer. With GoodAccess, to establish IPSEC, IKEv2, or OpenVPN tunnels, simply add your cloud and LAN networks to Clouds & Branches and define applications you want to access (domain, IP, port, protocol).

2. Tiered applications were designed to communicate on local networks. But now, additional nodes lie between them (cloud network, ISP backbone, firewalls, load balancing). And that’s where cloud VPN can deliver significant simplification. Cloud VPN creates a virtualized private network over the public internet  (software-defined perimeter) where all systems, database servers, storage servers, and the virtualized application (logic, UI) share the same private network and cloud gateways with dedicated public IP. 

All systems and team members interconnected under one software-defined network perimeter.

Public Cloud VPN Does Not Fit Your Needs

Today, software engineering teams are expected to use major public cloud providers such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform. Sometimes the entire development environment sits in the cloud, and a secure remote connection is needed. For such reasons, cloud providers offer their own VPN solutions designed to smoothly connect developers with the target network.

And that is a little hidden issue here because such VPNs are suitable for connecting cloud with the office or branch, but not suitable for remote workers connecting from everywhere they want to. Also, these VPN services have limitations when your business runs several projects for different internal/external customers. Cloud provider’s native VPN might lack some necessary features such as:

  • Incapability to connect to other than proprietary environments (office, branch).
  • Missing client apps for different devices and users.
  • Centralized user management.
  • Access control and flexible assignment of user' access rights to systems/resources.
  • Inability to use external SSO authentication.

What’s more, with the increasing number of developers, fluid teams, and several customer systems, growing license fees and extensive manual labor to manage and operate remote access arise.

On the other hand, a reliable business cloud VPN allows you to connect even multiple public clouds such as Amazon AWS and naturally delivers features eliminating all the abovementioned imitations. You are also provided with professional and responsive support which may not be a standard for big IT players.

If you want to try business cloud VPN in your environment, take a test drive of our 14-day full-featured free trial here.

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