NordLayer Review: Flexible VPN For Agile Businesses

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The exponential growth in cloud computing and remote working has paved the path for modern businesses, allowing people thousands of kilometers apart to collaborate simultaneously on a project in real-time. It even saves us precious time and cuts down on expenses in plenty of ways.

However, the same network that connects people also leaves us vulnerable to proverbial bad actors. Hackers or phishers are constantly trying to gain access to our personal information and data-sensitive company account credentials. A security breach can be quite a nightmare, whether you run a small business or a part of a large enterprise.

Many of you are probably already familiar with such risks. It’s no secret that when you visit the web, you are prone to click an unsafe link that might infect your device with malware or adware. That said, individuals and businesses can easily avoid such things using some security tools. Anti-virus software suites are a good example, offering client-side protection with a network firewall for added security.

But some of you may wonder, “What about the cloud? How do I keep my sensitive data safe online?” Glad you asked. The solution is a VPN, which also stands for Virtual Private Network.

Private networking or the PN in “VPN” is exactly what it sounds like. It keeps your network traffic safe by masking its origin. When you are communicating with someone, your network traffic would transmit from your system directly to that individual. In such instances, your traffic is an easy target for MITM or man-in-the-middle attacks. When connected to a VPN, the source data will be routed through an anonymous server first and then to its target destination.

Suppose you are running your business in Dallas, but appear on the web as if you are located in Berlin. Put simply, a VPN can be beneficial for your company’s security. In fact, it’s a must-have if you don’t want to end up on the news for exposing customer data.

If you are looking for a centrally-managed VPN service for your business, chances are you have come across NordLayer. It’s also why you are here. Hence, allow us to walk you through some of NordLayer’s features and discuss the benefits of its enterprise-scale usage.

What is NordLayer?

NordLayer, previously known as NordVPN Teams, is a powerful, flexible, business-oriented secure network access solution that enables straightforward and secure remote access to corporate data and resources, wherever you or your employees might be. It’s based on the same backbone and technology as NordVPN but has been redesigned to better serve an enterprise audience.

For those who didn’t know, NordVPN is one of the leading privacy products in the industry. It operates out of Panama, which isn’t a part of the Five Eyes or Fourteen Eyes alliances, and doesn’t have data surveillance laws. You can expect the same level of commitment from NordLayer as well.

NordLayer Features

NordLayer is a cloud-based VPN service, but it isn’t without its tailored privacy and security features. Here’s a rundown of everything you get with NordLayer:

Scalable, Easy to Deploy

Business owners can set up NordLayer in minutes. It includes signing up for the service, creating gateways, setting up permissions, and adding your workers with Single Sign-On (SSO) options like Azure AD, GSuite, and Okta.

NordLayer is also a scalable platform, with support for unlimited users. You can add more company gateways, create dedicated servers, and user licenses as your organization grows. The licenses are also transferable in case of personnel changes.

Top-Notch Security

NordLayer utilizes the AES-256 encryption standard like its sibling, NordVPN. It means your company information and assets always stay secure regardless of your team’s device and network.

All of the workspace members can safely access the company resources from wherever they are in the world. Even in an unlikely event of a security breach, your sensitive data traffic will be indecipherable thanks to NordLayer’s use of a robust, military-grade encryption process.

Furthermore, the inclusion of 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) ensures secure login sessions for your whole team. It works with Authy, Google Authenticator, and phone-based authentication.

Extensive Infrastructure

At the time of writing, NordLayer has 1100+ servers in 32 countries around the globe. While it’s still less than what NordVPN offers, you get the added advantage of setting up dedicated servers in 20+ countries of your choice. Plus, NordLayer’s wide network of reliable, anonymous servers allows your employees to work securely from various locations worldwide without interruptions.

Users can add custom gateways and assign them to specific teams and branches. For instance, you can route your marketing team in Dallas through a server in Denmark or any other country to test out and monitor foreign markets.

24/7 Dedicated Support

NordLayer has certified, professional support teams ready to assist their customers no matter when and what query they may have. You can get in touch with them via live chat or expect fast and informative answers via email.

Additional Useful Features

  • All-in-one control panel for network management
  • Dedicated account management
  • IP whitelisting, no unwanted user access
  • Killswitch (Cuts off internet access in case of VPN disconnection)
  • Next-gen site-to-site VPN tunneling
  • Centralized billing system (Say goodbye to multiple invoices)

How Easy is it to Use NordLayer?

NordLayer is mostly about its web-based dashboard, where you can manage your network, add members, and monitor session logs. Adding employees is as simple as typing down their email addresses into a text field and clicking a button. You can also invite multiple of them at once instead of doing it one by one.

You can assign the joined members to different “Teams,” representing various departments or branches within your organization. Apart from that, you can easily set up private gateways, dedicated servers with and without fixed IPs, configure IP whitelist, manage user licenses, and more from the same control panel.

NordLayer’s client-side app is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS devices. It’s also relatively straightforward and intuitive to use, with options for choosing countries or gateways, switching between different VPN protocols, toggling kill switch, etc. The interface is sleek and navigation-friendly on all platforms.

NordLayer Plans & Pricing

NordLayer comes with two plans: Basic and Advanced, with a special Enterprise plan for those who want a fully customized network security system tailored to their preferences. There is no free trial available as of now.

The Basic plan costs $9/mo per user when billed monthly and $7/mo per user when billed annually. It covers nearly all the essential features but lacks dedicated servers, dedicated account management, and 24/7 priority support.

The Advanced plan gives you access to those nifty perks along with all the Basic features. It costs $11/mo per user when billed monthly and $9/mo per user when invoiced yearly.

If you want to go overboard with features like LDAP active directory, on-premise dedicated servers, centralized management system, site-to-site tunneling, key account manager, API access, and 24/7 phone support consider reaching out to NordLayer’s sales support for a quote on the Enterprise plan.

Once again, it’s worth mentioning that all three plans have a centralized billing process, so business owners will only have to deal with one invoice. NordLayer also offers a 14-day money-back guarantee policy in case you want to reconsider.

NordLayer: Verdict

NordLayer isn’t just an enterprise-scale VPN; it’s a fully-featured, dynamic, highly-scalable secure network access solution, providing the essential protection every small and large organization needs. The ease of use, centralized administration system, and extensive network infrastructure makes NordLayer a viable option among its competitors.

That said, we are a little bummed about the exclusion of 24/7 priority support from the Base plan. However, most companies will opt for the Advanced plan for its premium features anyway. If you put that aside, there’s actually a lot to like about NordLayer!

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