When you’re looking into tools to protect your business network, VPNs or Virtual Private Networks are considered a go-to solution. Many businesses are using them to encrypt their connections to internal company resources. Encryption hides your data from the public internet and makes it harder for snoopers to find out what data you are exchanging.
NordVPN immediately comes to mind for many consumers, but it isn’t suited for business usage cases. Therefore, the same company launched a separate business product called NordLayer. It’s presented as a secure service access edge solution that incorporates various networking technologies to make your network segmentation and management easier.
We decided to look into it, so in this NordLayer review, we’ll go through its pricing, features, customer support, and anything else you should know before buying. Let’s begin.
- Easy to pick up
- Fast setup
- Compatible with most existing systems
- Affordable pricing
- Good connection speeds
- Low-maintenance software
- Includes all the business essentials
- Network policies affect only server/IP level
- No application access policy capabilities
- No agentless option
We have already given you the basic info about NordLayer, now let’s get more information deeply below.
One of NordLayer’s ace cards is its pricing. Compared to other similar business network security solutions, NordLayer is one of the most affordable. Depending on your organization’s needs, you can choose between Basic, Advanced, and Custom plans.
Basic — includes only public gateways. You will be able to connect anonymously to the listed countries, but it acts as a NordVPN with fewer places to choose from in this mode. This option also allows license transferability, making it better suited for business usage.
Advanced — a full edition of NordLayer that includes both public and private gateways. This is the one you’d want to pick if you intend to create an internal company network. It also has plenty of additional features.
Custom — it’s a tailor-made Advanced plan with custom scaling or other technical implementations. Also, it includes premium 24/7 customer support.
While you aren’t really spoiled for options, each pricing plan has particular usage cases, making NordLayer a good fit for diverse needs.
From additional safety precautions to quality of life additions, NordLayer provides something on all fronts. Despite being a pretty simple addition, it’s one of the best lightweight business networking security tools on the market.
With NordLayer, you can set up various authentication methods to match your risk profile. It’s even possible to increase it as you counter potential threats.
There’s always an option of using username/password combination, but it’s also possible to allow third-party single sign-on methods. So, if your organization is already using Google SSO, Azure AD, Okta, or OneLogin, you can easily use them as a sign-in option for NordLayer.
Two-factor authentication or 2FA adds additional checks after passing the first check, i.e., typing in a correct password. It makes log-in a two-step process and currently can be set up via SMS messages or time-based one-time codes from apps like Authy or Google Authenticator.
That way, every time an employee logs in, it also has to confirm the secondary check. It can tremendously help if your employee’s username/password combo is revealed.
You can set up biometric authentication through face recognition or fingerprint scanning. It relies on the device’s fingerprint or facial recognition sensors, so if your device has them, you will be able to set up this feature. Biometric authentication won’t work if there are no sensors to pick up the data.
All business networking cybersecurity solutions include network management options. This allows network administrators to see what is happening in the internal network. That way, it’s easier to optimize resources and detect weak points that a hacker could exploit.
Network segmentation is NordLayer’s advanced feature which allows you to segment your network into Teams and Gateways. Teams are created by assigning any number of members to the team. All teams can be assigned private gateways to connect through. You can set up multiple gateways so that every team would have a separate gateway which also helps with your load management.
You can set up a site-to-site VPN connection to connect your other branches into a unified LAN network. Their webpage provides instructions on how to do it on Ubiquiti EdgeRouter, Linux server, Palo Alto, and other devices.
So if you already have some business hardware in place, you can easily configure it to allow NordLayer’s connections to pass through. This works both with existing physical and virtual networks.
You can get a dedicated server with an assigned IP address that only you’ll be using for an extra cost. With it, you set up the whole system so that only allow listed IP addresses are accepted, blocking all other connections.
This makes it easy to access your remote resources and set up site-to-site connections. Plus, there are many locations to choose from according to your locale.
Smart Remote Access
This feature allows you to connect two endpoint devices when connected to the same server. It works as an extension of your LAN, while both devices could be using two completely different networks.
This feature will come in handy if you’re collaborating with other users on the same files you need to share. You can also re-share currently shared files to be also accessible via Smart Remote Access.
NordLayer Privacy and Security
NordLayer team heavily invests in security to be a reliable companion against many online cyberthreats. With their solution, your connections to access sensitive internal company data remain encrypted and do not reveal the message contents even if the hacker uses the same Wi-Fi hotspot.
Once enabled, ThreatBlock will automatically filter out potentially harmful websites. The logic is that without the ability to access the sites themselves, no malware should be able to infect your user’s device.
Additionally, it also blocks known ad hosts doubling as an ad blocker, so you should see less annoying pop-ups, and auto-play ads. However, it’s important to note that some genuine websites might also fall under this block.
It’s possible to set up a custom DNS resolver on your dedicated NordLayer server. However, you’ll have to contact their customer support team to reconfigure it.
NordLayer Client Setup
Setting up NordLayer takes only a couple of minutes. First, you have to register as an organization and choose a plan. Then, you’ll have to select your preferred platform and log in with the organization ID. Once that is done, you can start connecting to shared gateways or connect to a private organization gateway — completing your setup. Later on, you only have to send out the invites to employees who will only have to accept your invites and install the software.
NordLayer offers 24/7 customer support on all its plans. Users can reach out to NordLayer customer support agents via email or live chat, so you won’t have to be on hold when calling them. In our experience, the wait times didn’t take too long, and customer support agents were savvy enough to reply to even the highly technical inequities.
All in all, NordLayer is a superb network security addition to your enterprise. It’s minimal by design, but it does tick all the essential boxes to keep you safe. It will be easy-to-use and easy to set up, so if you never expanded the network with working from home capabilities, this proves an easy getaway solution. Not only you can customize it to fit your unique business case but you’re also making your employees’ data exchanges safer.