This company thinks it can fix enterprise VPNs for good

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Zero-trust network access (ZTNA) is widely seen as a cybersecurity silver bullet by many enterprises, but many still apparently struggle to implement it due to overhead and complexity.

Now, an emerging startup, which has recently raised $100 million in a Series B round, believes it can successfully tackle this challenge.

Tailscale looks to serve as the intersection between network infrastructure and security. Speaking to TechCrunch, the company’s co-founder Avery Pennarun said IT or DevOps teams often adopt a connectivity tool, only to run into interference from the security team concerned with any resulting risk.

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Reducing complexity

“By bridging the two, Tailscale provides an option that makes teams more productive, eliminating connectivity problems and complex network architecture, but also secure by default, because every connection is always secure.”

Tailscale is built on WireGuard, a communication protocol, and free, open-source software implementing encrypted VPNs (opens in new tab). According to Pennarun, WireGuard is a better alternative to protocols like IPSec - one of the elements that add to the complexity of zero-trust.

The program is designed to be installed on a server and used to share software services, or replace business VPNs (opens in new tab), it was said. It also comes with Taildrop, a service allowing for fast file transfer between devices on the same network. 

Users can also route public-facing browser traffic going through Linux, Windows, macOS-run nodes, or Android TV devices, allowing only those devices to see the decrypted traffic, and keep an eye on the data being sent. As it’s mesh-based, the capacity rises with the rise in node number. 

“Many dev teams use no VPN at all, instead opening SSH ports and dashboards to the outside world and attempting to lock them down through obscurity or simple IP address-based block lists,” Pennarun said. “By making connectivity easier and more secure, we empower small teams to build systems that scale, without scaling overhead.”

Allegedly, the company has “thousands” of users on its free plan, as well as government agencies, and other corporations, on its commercial plan.

Via: TechCrunch (opens in new tab)

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.