Nordlayer VPN Review of 2022 [April] | #macos | #macsecurity


When it comes to the Company’s security, you can’t be too careful, and a lot of data is lost because network connections are intercepted. It’s not enough to protect your server because, when your employees work from home in all corners of the world, you need to ensure the security of all connections. The solution is to use a powerful VPN to protect all your network’s endpoints and secure their communication channels. Our recommendation is NordLayer, and here we will address all its best features, improvements and changes that recommend it as a modern VPN to secure your connection and privacy.

More and more companies are adopting a hybrid way of working, allowing teams to work from any location. With NodLayer’s features that enable zero-trust identity confirmation, secure, intelligent remote access from the site to the site, and file sharing, organizations can work from anywhere. At the same time, IT administrators have tools to monitor and ensure network operations. Despite the benefits of remote work, it also brings challenges related to corporate data security, remote access and device security risks.

What is NordLayer

You’ve probably heard of NordVPN, one of the leading providers on the VPN scene today. You might be using it right now! In that case, you’ll be happy to know that NordLayer is developed and operated by Nord Solutions, the company behind NordVPN. NordLayer is a brand new service launched in 2021 but has quickly gained recognition among users due to its already well-established name. It is a dynamic network access security solution that adapts to evolving business needs.

NordLayer effectively encrypts employees’ Internet traffic and provides them with secure access to a company’s secure network, regardless of their geographic location. Originally called NordVPN Teams, the product was renamed NordLayer in September 2021. According to the company, the reason is that this new name facilitates the transition to the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) framework. As a result, NordLayer has evolved into a full-fledged security solution where a VPN is just one of the many services offered.

NordLayer Interface

One thing we like about the NordLayer dashboard is how effortless it is to use. It’s purely web-based, but it’s still a great way to manage your VPN. When you add employees, you enter their email addresses and click a button. You can add several employees at once by entering multiple email addresses. After entering the email addresses, you can choose which VPN version you need. You can receive an invitation to download an app for PC, Mac, iOS, or Android. You can divide your employees into teams, hence the name of this service. These can be physical offices, corporate departments, or both. In the basic version of the service, you can list your employees alphabetically and find them in other ways.

You can access their profiles or reset their passwords from the administrator dashboard. The advanced service offers a bit more features. You can see when a user last logged in and what devices they used. This makes it easy to ensure that your employees use the VPN properly. NordLayer client applications are more straightforward than those of the standard service. Users can log in and log out and choose the type of security protocol they use. They can also choose which country they want to log in from. The interface differs slightly from platform to platform. However, by and large, the Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS apps offer the same features.

Encryption and Protocols

NordLayer encrypts your data using industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption. To put this into perspective, 256-bit encryption is 2128 times more secure than 128-bit encryption, making it virtually unbreakable given the current state of the art. So even in the event, your data was intercepted, it would be impossible to decrypt. Besides, NordLayer uses two of the most trusted VPN protocols:

  • IKEv2
  • OpenVPN (UPD) and OpenVPN (TCP)

IKEv2 is a state-of-the-art VPN protocol that offers stability and ease of use with its groundbreaking auto-reconnect feature. According to NordLayer, the list of protocols will soon include the NordLynx protocol. NordLynx is a new-generation protocol based on WireGuard that combines the lightning-fast speed of WireGuard with the robust security features of NordVPN.

NordLayer Security

If you’re looking for a VPN provider dedicated to security, NordVPN is hard to beat. Here’s a quick anecdote that shows how dedicated the company is to protect its users’ data. In 2019, the company announced that one of its servers had been hacked. This server did not store identifiable information due to NordVPN’s strict “zero logs” policy. In other words, no customers were harmed.

Nonetheless, NordVPN has retooled all of its servers out of sheer prudence. None of the servers uses physical memory, except for a tiny partition with the operating system itself. They operate solely on RAM, so no customer data is stored. It can’t even happen by accident because there is no memory to store it. This upgrade wasn’t cheap and illustrates NordVPN’s commitment to protecting customer data.

Another advantage of NordVPN is that it uses AES 256-bit encryption. The usual standard of 128-bit encryption usually cannot be cracked by anyone unless it is a government actor. Why would you want a system that is twice as secure? Simply put, it’s not just twice as safe. It’s 2128 times as safe, a number long enough to be displayed logarithmically on our calculator. Even the NSA would have to work to the heat death of the universe to crack an AES-256 key. In simple words, even in the dubious event that someone intercepts your data, it is indecipherable to them. When you make your connection, NordVPN employs other additional data protection techniques. You can opt for the “Onion Over VPN” option. This is something like a double VPN.

Your data goes to the NordVPN network, then through the Onion network, and then to the recipient. Even if someone tracks down the location of one of the connection servers, they won’t find both. And unlike many Onion routing services, you don’t need to set up any additional services or software. You select the Onion option in your VPN dashboard, and NordVPN takes care of the rest. With this setting, your traffic will be routed to one NordVPN server and then to a second NordVPN server. From there, it will be forwarded to its destination. With both methods, there can be bottlenecks in the data traffic. VPNs – and the Onion – are slower than the regular Internet by their very nature. When you connect these connections, the speed can drop even further. But depending on which servers you use, you can still achieve speeds of over 50 Mbps. That’s sufficient for most business applications.

Performance

We tested NordLayer by running several speed tests from a UK data centre, using SpeedTest, NPerf, Netflix Fast.com, and other benchmarking apps and websites. Results were reasonable at 200-300 Mbps and adequate for most tasks. But if you want more, don’t give up on NordLayer just yet. The service is in the process of adding support for its WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol, and our regular NordVPN tests yielded speeds of up to 880 Mbps. Unblocking streaming services isn’t a NordLayer priority, but we tested the service anyway and found it to work well. As with many VPNs these days, Netflix coverage is spotty (it works in some countries, not others), but all other services we tried were unblocked, and performance is better than many different providers.

App security is essential, so we stress-tested NordVPN’s Windows kill switch, which fortunately was unsuccessful. There could be occasional confusion, as the app doesn’t warn users when the connection drops or warn them that the connection is being restored, and users might find that their Internet access has disappeared. But this didn’t affect our privacy, as the kill switch blocked our Internet access as soon as the VPN connection dropped, and we were never unprotected.

NordLayer’s best features

  • Multi‑layered network security
  • Simple service administration
  • Global access to a reliable server infrastructure
  • Multiple platform access
  • Active threat protection

Plans and pricing

NordLayer offers the following monthly and annual pricing plans:

  • Basic, monthly – $9.00/month per user
  • Basic, annual – $7.00/month per user (22% discount)

The Basic plan offers the following features: Cloud VPN, centralized billing, kill switch, 2FA, license transferability, 33 server locations and 24/7 customer support. There’s also SSO with Google, Azure AD and Okta.

  • Advanced, monthly – $11.00/month per user
  • Advanced, annual – $9.00/month per user (18% discount)

The Advanced Plan has all the Basic Plan features, plus a dedicated account manager and 24/7 Priority Support. You can also get a dedicated server at more than 20 locations with a fixed IP address for $40.00/month. The Enterprise plans are highly customizable and no longer charge per user. In addition to all the features of the Basic and Advanced plans, Enterprise tier customers are eligible for volume discounts, centralized configuration and management, LDAP Active Directory, API access, dedicated on-site servers, 24/7 phone support, dedicated servers on your premises, custom premium features, and custom logos and application colours.

Final Words

The benefits of an enterprise VPN are many. With so many companies relying on the Internet to do business, security is more important than ever. Running your internet over a VPN that can also block malware will significantly improve your security, not expose personal IP addresses or work server IPs, and filter out malware. Working from home has become a new normal in the last two years, whether full-time or a blended approach. If you have employees that work remotely, the ability to work on the same virtual network offers significant benefits.

They can connect directly to internal work servers, share folders and collaborate seamlessly as a team, even if they’re not in the same room or building. The ability to quickly change IP addresses and locations also benefits businesses. I still consult in the online marketing space, and the ability to test Google results from different countries or check how geographically targeted ads work is critical. The cost of the service also seems reasonable, it is cheaper than Perimeter81 and $108.00 per user per year + $40pcm for a dedicated server is not a huge cost for a business.



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