Microsoft DirectAccess vs VPN: Difference and Comparison

Microsoft DirectAccess and VPN are two technologies that are very popular among IT professionals. Each of them is used to access intranet connectivity through the internet.

They are mistakenly confused to be the same technology solution. However, this is not the case.

Despite the similarities that they possess, there are numerous differences between them.

Key Takeaways

  1. DirectAccess is a Microsoft technology that automatically connects remote devices to a corporate network, while a VPN requires manual connection and authentication.
  2. DirectAccess uses IPv6 and IPsec protocols for secure communication, while VPNs use encryption protocols like SSL, TLS, or L2TP.
  3. DirectAccess is integrated into Windows operating systems, while VPNs can be used on multiple platforms and devices.

Microsoft DirectAccess vs VPN

Microsoft DirectAccess is a remote access solution that enables secure, seamless, and always-on access to an organization’s internal resources without the need for a traditional VPN connection. A VPN requires users to manually initiate a connection whenever they want to access network resources.

Microsoft DirectAccess vs VPN

Microsoft DirectAccess has a very similar architecture to VPN. It also serves a similar purpose.

People use it to access the intranet whenever they are connected to the internet. However, DirectAccess is a much newer technology in the market.

It facilitates secure and authenticated connections that too automatically on connecting to the internet.

Meanwhile, VPN is a much older technology as compared to the former. It serves a similar purpose but needs to be turned on and off whenever someone needs to use it.

Due to this, it is more time-consuming and complex. Despite this, VPN is way more expensive than DirectAccess.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMicrosoft DirectAccessVPN
VersionIt is a newer version.It is an older version.
FunctionalityIt functions automatically on being connected to the internet.It needs to be turned on and off every time by the user.
SecurityIt has better security features.It does not have as many security features.
UsesIt is used to facilitate secure remote access for IT managed devices.It is used to facilitate secure remote access for non-IT managed devices.
PriceIt is budget-friendly.It is more expensive.

What is Microsoft DirectAccess?

Microsoft DirectAccess also commonly goes by the name ‘Unified Remote Access’. Essentially, it is a very similar technology to VPN.

Also Read:  Cisco MDS vs Nexus: Difference and Comparison

It is used to connect devices to the intranet when they log on to the internet. However, DirectAccess is a much newer version and has many features that traditional VPNs do not have.

One of the most stand-out features of Microsoft DirectAccess is that it starts functioning automatically as soon as the user connects to the internet. Due to this, a lot of time and manual labour is saved.

This, in turn, leads to higher efficiency and productivity.

The first version of Microsoft DirectAccess was made for Windows Server 2008 R2. This was targeted towards clients in large corporate environments who used Windows 7 and Windows 8.

There were many upgrades made to this technology, through which its deployment became much simpler. Moreover, it became one of the most secure technologies in the market.

One of the most beneficial features of Microsoft DirectAccess is that it can be used for multiple sites at the same time. Moreover, this can be done at a very cost-effective and budget-friendly price.

However, one drawback of this technology is that it can only be used for IT-managed devices. This means that it is not as flexible.

What is VPN?

VPN is an acronym for ‘Virtual Private Network.’ It allows users to have a private network while using a public one.

This means the user can now send and receive information while acting as if the device is connected to a private network. By doing this, the security and management of the network can be done much more easily.

However, unlike Microsoft DirectAccess, the functionality of VPN is not automatic. It needs to be turned on and off by the user every time it is used.

Also Read:  Cisco Tetration vs Illumio: Difference and Comparison

This must be done while the device of the user is connected to the internet.

VPN does have many other drawbacks when compared to Microsoft DirectAccess. One of the major ones is that even though it is more expensive, it is not as efficient.

Moreover, it involves relatively more manual labour, making it more complex and time-consuming. This can be forgiven, considering that VPN is only an older version of Microsoft DirectAccess.

Another criticism that VPNs faces is that it is not as secure. However, this is only in comparison to newer networks.

VPN can easily make online connections anonymous without any error. It can be used to save private information from getting into the wrong hands.

vpn

Main Differences Between Microsoft DirectAccess and VPN

  1. Microsoft DirectAccess is a newer version, whereas VPN is an older version.
  2. Microsoft DirectAccess functions automatically on being connected to the internet, whereas VPN needs to be turned on and off every time by the user.
  3. Microsoft DirectAccess has better security features, whereas VPN does not have as many security features.
  4. Microsoft DirectAccess is used to facilitate secure remote access for IT-managed devices, whereas VPN is used to facilitate secure remote access for non-IT-managed devices.
  5. Microsoft DirectAccess is budget-friendly, whereas VPN is more expensive.
References
  1. https://www.theseus.fi/handle/10024/45540
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=eZhSAQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT8&dq=microsoft+direct+access+and+VPN&ots=2SzArxehrP&sig=xr0KY5C97jUHEtm2zb15lJuad_8

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

13 thoughts on “Microsoft DirectAccess vs VPN: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Using DirectAccess for IT-managed devices and VPN for non-IT managed devices will help in achieving a more secure network. It is important to know the differences to decide the best solution for each situation.

    Reply
  2. DirectAccess and VPN serve similar purposes, but DirectAccess seems to have more advanced features and better security. The cost is also a significant factor to consider.

    Reply
  3. The comparison table provides a clear overview of the main differences between Microsoft DirectAccess and VPN. It is evident that DirectAccess offers more automatic functionality and better security features, making it a preferred choice for many organizations.

    Reply
  4. These technologies are very similar to each other and it can be confusing to know the differences between them. I find it helpful to have a detailed comparison available for reference.

    Reply
  5. The article is very comprehensive. After reading it, I am now able to understand the differences between DirectAccess and VPN.

    Reply
  6. I was not aware of the differences between DirectAccess and VPN. This article has provided great insights into these technologies, and the differences are clear. It is interesting to see how these technologies have evolved over time.

    Reply
  7. Even though it might seem like a trivial issue, there are significant differences between DirectAccess and VPN. One of the most beneficial features of Microsoft DirectAccess is that it can be used for multiple sites at the same time.

    Reply
    • I agree with you. VPN does have many drawbacks when compared to Microsoft DirectAccess. However, in the end, it depends on the user’s needs and budget.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!