What is a Software Defined Perimeter?


The internet can be quite a dangerous place. The constant threat of cybercriminals puts individuals and businesses at risk of having their data stolen. For this reason, there is now a range of different network security technologies that we can use to protect our data. One of these technologies is called Software Defined Perimeter, or SDP.

But what exactly is an SDP? Who can use one? And how do they differ from a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

What is a Software Defined Perimeter?

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A software-defined perimeter, or “dark cloud”, is often used by large enterprises and similar organizations with many employees.

Cybercriminals attempt to infiltrate the networks used by these companies to steal large amounts of private data, infect them with ransomware, and obtain money in exchange for the data they have locked down the organization, or to interfere with or shut down the main server. . This happens quite often and can be quite serious.

So companies now use a variety of different products that can protect their networks and keep unwanted parties out. Software-defined perimeters are popular options in such circumstances. But how do they actually work?

Software-defined perimeters work by micro-segmenting network access. This means that only certain individuals can access a network, and each individual gets a different level of access depending on who they are in relation to the organization as a whole.


It provides a security architecture that operates on a “zero-trust” basis and can therefore implement zero-trust networks. What does that mean?

In networking terms, “zero trust” refers to frameworks or products that operate on the assumption that no user can be trusted by default. This means that no one should be able to access the wider network without first authenticating their identity. When authentication is always required, it becomes very difficult for unauthorized people to access anything.

Individuals essentially only have access to content and data when needed.

This kind of identity-centric framework also helps businesses keep up with the ever-changing nature of cyberattacks, in which criminals are constantly developing new methods of infiltration and theft.

In short, a software-defined perimeter creates individual access perimeters for each user.

Nor is it centralized in a data center like many traditional security frameworks. Instead, it’s delivered through cloud technology. This allows software-defined perimeters to track increasingly large mobile workforces and devices so that networks using this framework can be accessed from anywhere.

So why are software-defined perimeters also called “dark clouds”? When an SDP is used, the network in question cannot be seen by unauthorized persons. If a cybercriminal can’t actually see the network, they can’t identify weaknesses and loopholes, which makes it much harder to hack. You hide content behind a dark cloud.

However, many assume that a VPN can be used instead of SDP. This is often not the case. So how do SDPs differ from VPNs?

SDP vs VPN: what are the differences?

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You’ve probably heard of VPNs fairly regularly over the past few years. They are now extremely popular as they usually allow users to overcome geo-blocking, hide IP addresses and encrypt internet traffic. This makes it much harder for cybercriminals to hack into your device and steal your private data.

Although SDPs and VPNs both focus on cybersecurity, they are not the same. While VPNs allow all connected users access to the network, SDPs only give access to verified users, and this access varies depending on the user at hand.

They do not share network connections and establish individual network connections between an authorized user (and therefore their device) and the server.

Related: Great Alternatives to Using a VPN

SDPs sometimes use VPNs in their frameworks to establish secure connections, but SDPs are generally more secure because they make it more difficult to access larger networks.

They can also be easier to manage and their use of micro-segmentation means that even if a cybercriminal is accessing them under someone else’s identity, they will most likely only be able to see a limited amount of data. and content.

So organizationally, SDPs are usually the better choice of the two, but if you want to implement both, it’s also a great option. There is a range of different SDP products on the market today such as Perimeter81 and Appgate, which are used by thousands of customers worldwide. Nonetheless, VPNs are quite viable options for people who want to browse the web securely.

SDPs lock out cybercriminals and keep networks secure

Although you may never have heard of software-defined perimeters before, they are now commonly used around the world to secure networks and beyond the reach of cybercriminals. They can even be used in your workplace!

With their “zero trust” frameworks that can be used from anywhere, SDPs are great ways for large organizations to stay secure and function in the face of cyber threats.

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