Cisco, others, shine a light on VPN split-tunneling

Cisco, Microsoft and others play up VPN split-tunneling features to handle growing enterprise remote workload security

VPN / network security
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As work-from-home becomes the norm due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for secure access to enterprise resources continues to grow and with it the demand for ever-more VPN.

For example demand for commercial virtual private networks in the U.S. jumped by 41% between March 13 and March 23, according to research from Top10VPN.com, a VPN research and testing company in the U.K. The VPN market will hit $70 billion by 2026, according to market research and management consulting company Global Market Insights. In an April blog AT&T pointed to a 700% increase in connections to its cloud-based SD-WAN Static Network Based (ANIRA) VPN service.

That increased traffic puts more stress on enterprise VPN infrastructure, but one of the most effective ways to ease that stress is split tunneling.

Basically split tunneling is a feature that lets customers select specific, enterprise-bound traffic to be sent through a corporate VPN tunnel. The rest goes directly to the internet without going throuogh the tunnel. Otherwise all traffic, even traffic headed for sites on the internet, would go through the VPN, through enterprise security measures and then back out to the internet.The idea is that the VPN infrastructure has to handle less traffic, so it performs better.

Inadvertent split tunneling can also arise when enterprise VPN concentrators don't support IPv6, resulting in all IPV6 traffic from remote users going directly to the internet and avoiding corporate security controls, a situation known as IPv6 VPN breakout.

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