Updated · Sep 14, 2022
Best for: Small to medium enterprises
NordLayer is a cloud security service offering remote access with additional security features. Functioning within a service edge model, it’s a cloud-powered solution that can be easily deployed on users’ endpoints. And it lets you manage everything from a single dashboard.
All it takes is to install the easy-to-use app on your computer or smartphone running:
- Or Android
The company is based in the United States, with offices across the globe. It oversees servers in 30+ countries, so you’ll always have a nearby point of presence.
Where NordLayer truly shines is its user-friendliness and how easy it is to set up and work with.
Now, let’s take a deeper look into what the company offers.
We tested each NordLayer feature to learn more about the service and its performance in real-life situations.
NordLayer operates servers in more than 30 countries. While that number might pale in comparison to consumer VPN providers, business clients usually purchase their dedicated servers. This means that NordLayer can provide as many servers as needed.
Its points of presence include Poland, Finland, Israel, Japan, the US, and many more. Regardless of your business’ location, you’ll have plenty of options for a nearby server.
NordLayer provides the ability to connect to an internal business network using a site-to-site VPN. This helps if you have different branches scattered around the globe or just want to allow your employees to connect from outside the office.
You can access your data through any device. However, only authorized employees can enter the internal network, as various security additions are in place to stop unauthorized attempts.
Zero Trust Application Access
NordLayer is faithful to the Zero Trust Application Access approach. It enforces a strict “trust none-verify all” mantra ensuring every device and connection on the network is authenticated. This makes it much harder for hackers to infiltrate the network. Even if they somehow got in, their access privileges would still be severely limited, negating privilege escalation.
You can supplement the Zero Trust model by adding additional security policies to achieve the optimal level of protection needed in your organization.
Due to the high number of people now working remotely, organizations might struggle with traffic management. Split tunneling is a great solution, allowing you to route some incoming traffic via secured channels while sending the rest directly through the internet.
However, NordLayer has made a much safer improvement. Its split tunneling splits after the user has already connected through the NordLayer gateway. That way, no traffic is left exposed to the dangers of the internet. You can always remain connected, and the encryption will be active only when accessing work resources.
Secure Web Gateway
SWG or Secure Web Gateway enables access to various SaaS applications using only internet browsers. You just need a web plug-in to allow entry to applications that would otherwise require NordLayer’s app. This can be an excellent solution for organizations that enforce strict locking of devices.
If your organization needs more advanced features, here’s what NordLayer offers:
Jailbroken Device Detection
While you can install NordLayer on most devices, this doesn’t mean all of them meet the minimum security requirements to be allowed to join the network.
Its jailbroken device detection alerts network administrators when unlocked iOS or Android smartphones join the network. To allow additional functionalities, their firmware is altered through some type of exploit. This means such devices are a huge risk as they could easily be infected.
It’s a very simple addition that makes it much harder to log into NordLayer using leaked credentials. Even if they’re correct, the user must provide an additional confirmation via a second factor – email, password, or biometric authentication. This helps dispel doubts about whether the person is really who they claim to be, preventing unauthorized access.
NordLayer uses DNS filtering to block websites and hostnames belonging to a specific content category set up by network administrators. This makes it much easier to supervise what your employees are doing online to ensure they’re not threatening the endpoints or network.
If you ever need to hop around the world and check how different countries see particular websites, that’s easy to do with one of the basic NordLayer features – shared gateways. It works the same way as a consumer VPN, but it’s integrated into a single app. On the other hand, if you don’t need the feature, you can disable it from the control panel.
Security and Protocols
Here’s how NordLayer’s security features fare.
NordLayer uses AES 256-bit encryption to secure the connection from your device to the gateway. This layer of protection makes your traffic undecipherable to hackers, so you don’t have to worry about your data being compromised en route.
The service supports many tunneling protocols, so you’ll have a lot of options to set up stable connections. You can choose IPSec/IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP versions), and NordLynx. The latter is its proprietary tunneling protocol based on WireGuard. NordVPN utilizes the same tunneling protocol.
Ease of Use
One of NordLayer’s strongest aspects is its simplicity. It’s easy to install for end users and equally simple to manage for network administrators. It lets you do everything remotely and doesn’t require additional hardware or complex setups.
You can effortlessly purchase a dedicated server, segment your user base into teams and assign them private gateways. This keeps your users organized and facilitates setting up security policies.
NordLayer has 24/7 email and live chat support. So no matter what issues pop up and at what time, there’s always someone to assist you.
Additionally, the company offers an extensive knowledge base to guide you through simpler issues and help you learn more about the platform.
There’s even the option to request access to beta NordLayer features just by filling out the form from the control panel.
NordLayer offers three plans: Basic, Advanced, and Custom.
Let’s take a closer look:
$9/user/month or $7/user paid annually
Provides shared gateways, customer support, control panel, multi-factor authentication, and management tools.
The Custom plan is similar feature-wise, but it’s reserved for business clients with special requests.
Neither plan has a minimum user requirement, so they’re suitable for even the tiniest of organizations.
The company doesn’t offer a free trial. However, you can take advantage of its 14-day money-back guarantee in case you’re unsatisfied with the service.
NordLayer can be a beneficial addition to your cybersecurity assets. It’s fast, reliable, and provides numerous tweaks for network administrators. At the same time, it doesn’t overwhelm casual endpoint users.
Its only drawback is the lack of some features (like stealth and double VPN) and the comparatively few points of presence. On the flip side, this can also be a plus when a simple solution is needed above all else.
All in all, NordLayer is an affordable and versatile service that delivers on its promises.
Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.
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