Software as a Service (SaaS) and VPN Dependencies Explained

There’s a widely shared idea, especially among non-technical folks, that a virtual private network (VPN) represents the height of computing security. That might explain the popularity of all those banner ads screaming, “Protect your identity with a VPN!”

Workplaces have been guilty of this kind of thinking too. As the adoption of software as a service (SaaS) increased, many organizations implemented SaaS solutions that were VPN dependent. While these might have been SaaS in a loose sense, their reliance on VPNs offset some of the security advantages that real SaaS solutions bring to the table.

And now that the sizes of remote workforces have exploded, IT departments are quickly discovering the limits and risks of VPNs. Even before the pandemic-related rise in remote work, one article by InfoSecurity highlighted the many problems with VPNs

Without mincing words, that same article described VPNs as a “devastating point of initial compromise.” Ouch. 


What’s so bad about VPNs?

VPNs are dangerous because of the immense faith we place in them. It’s kind of like handing out keys to your house to trusted family members or friends. If those keys were to fall into the wrong hands, whether by accident or intent, a rogue actor now has the potential to do an awful lot of damage.

With VPNs, the nature of the vulnerability is similar. Whoever holds the key has unlocked the front door to the organization’s network. And the prevailing assumption is that anyone who’s using your VPN to access software as a service is legit—even if they log in from a totally new location or show odd activity patterns.

To make matters worse, it gets even harder to tell who’s sanctioned and who isn’t when a large number of users are mobile and in uncontrolled computing environments.

This has made VPNs a hot target and an attractive attack surface for cybercriminal and nation-state hacking groups since the widespread shift to remote work models. One group of hackers even exploited a cocktail of VPN and Windows bugs to attack federal as well as state, local, tribal and territorial (SLTT) government networks.


Avoiding VPNs by avoiding VPN-dependent SaaS

The way to sidestep all these VPN problems is to find SaaS solutions that aren’t VPN dependent. As shorthand, I’ll call these “real SaaS” solutions. This is because they don’t introduce a whole bunch of footnotes and caveats to the idea of software as a service.

Finding non-VPN-dependent alternatives is sometimes easier said than done. When it comes to SaaS print management, VPN requirements are often par for the course. If they’ve even considered a SaaS solution for their print environment at all, many organizations assume that it will call for some form of VPN access.

After all, how else would end users connect securely to printers?


PrinterLogic and the serverless printing infrastructure

PrinterLogic SaaS was designed from the outset to be a real SaaS solution—one that realizes the potential of software as a service without compromise. At its core is the serverless printing infrastructure. This is exactly what it sounds like: A robust, highly available printing platform that delivers enterprise-grade print capabilities without the need for print servers. It unites a centralized, web-based Admin Console with proven direct-IP printing, which means:

  • IT gets powerful SaaS print management from a single pane of glass. There’s rich IdP integration and no GPOs.
  • End users enjoy seamless, secure SaaS printing. Print jobs remain safely on the local network.

With PrinterLogic SaaS, you can get rid of those risky (and costly) VPNs for your remote and work-from-home employees. That eliminates potential VPN problems and other vulnerabilities while ensuring smoother, more reliable printing.

If you’re intrigued by the benefits of SaaS print management but are justifiably wary of VPNs, rest assured that software as a service and VPN dependency don’t necessarily go hand in hand. PrinterLogic is what real SaaS solutions were meant to be.