Whether you're looking to Netflix and chill without geo-restrictions or shore up your security on a public network, there is no shortage of VPN options available. However, organizations often need more from their VPNs, such as more features and security options. For businesses seeking a VPN network access solution, NordLayer VPN is worth checking out. Formerly known as NordVPN Teams, this tool is ideal for organizations of all sizes.
What is NordLayer
While NordLayer provides a suite of VPN features, at its core it is a business VPN manager. Admins can use the VPN to manage VPN setups across a team instead of leaving it to individuals to set up their own private network. With NordLayer, you can manage all VPNs across a team and add/remove users easily.
NordLayer is the enterprise-grade version of the consumer NordVPN.
Available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux, NordLayer sends an email to users, allowing them to download the app and install the VPN. Once on board, the VPN provides over 30 server locations around the world, as well as features such as malware blocking, a kill switch, automatic connection, and AES-256 encryption on all data transactions.
Because NordLayer works across six devices at any one time, team members can install it across their business hardware.
To make the service more streamlined for enterprise customers, there is centralized billing. That means a single admin can receive a single invoice no matter how many users there are using the VPN. NordLayer also supports transferable licenses, allowing you to easily switch team members.
To ensure security during the registration and sign-in process, NordLayer offers two-factor authentication. There are two login options, a traditional username and password combination of Single Sign-On from OneLogin, Microsoft Azure, Google, or Okta.
NordLayer provides a solid number of customization options. For example, it is possible to create and deploy a dedicated server on a private gateway. You can also create VPN groups by separating gateways across teams. So, if you want a separate VPN gateway for your sales and another for developers, you can keep them separate.
As mentioned, NordLayer allows users to connect up to six devices to their VPN. Instead of needing to log in on each device, the VPN supports Smart Remote Access to allow seamless communication and connection across devices.
How Much Does NordLayer Cost?
There are loads of business-centric VPNs that overcomplicate pricing across multiple tiers and various packages. One of the better aspects of NordLayer is that it keeps its pricing model straightforward. This makes it easier to choose the exact package you require. NordLayer is also a rare enterprise VPN that allows just one user to buy a plan instead of enforcing a minimum number of users.
You can pick between just two plans:
- Basic: Costs $9 per user each month, or $7 per month if you pay for a full year. This plan comes with the full VPN alongside the core dashboard and management features, 24/7 live support, Single Sign-On, and two-factor authentication.
- Advanced: Costs $11 per user each month, or $9 on the annual payment plan. Provides all the features of the Basic Plan as well as priority support, biometrics log-in support, a dedicated account manager, purchasable dedicated servers ($40 to $50 per month), IP allow lists, and Smart Remote Access.
It seems to me that NordLayer does have a good pricing model and falls into the “affordable” bracket. Not least because of the ability to get started with just one user. For example, the similarly priced Perimeter 81 VPN platform makes you start with at least five users. Of course, it is worth comparing VPNs to find a service that has the best combo of price and features for you.
At the heart of the NordLayer experience is the central web dashboard, which serves as the hub of the whole VPN and feature set. Here you can manage all aspects of the platform, including your network, users, and more.
NordLayer makes it really easy to send invitations to team members. Past their email into the text box and click the button to send the invite. You can also send multiple invitations at once by pasting more than one email into the box. You are free to customize your VPN groups how you like with the Advanced plan, such as custom gateways and permissions.
With the Basic plan, there are fewer tools, but even here the dashboard allows you to send invites, remove access, track them, and more. Settings are also located in this hub, although you will find more granular controls on other VPN providers. With NordLayer, the limited number of options include choosing a login method (email/password or SSO), auto-updates, and biometrics (advanced only).
Compared to other VPNs, the user monitoring features are limited. In fact, you will only be able to see the last time a team member logged in and which device they used. We would prefer if NordLayer provides more metrics such as the time the user/device was connected to the VPN, IP location, browser, operating system, and more.
While these may seem like a lot to ask for, other VPNs such as Perimeter 81 do provide this data. Of course, that kind of functionality comes with its own share of compromises. For example, Perimeter 81 is extremely hard to use and too complex at times. Certainly, if you prefer to streamline your VPN output and management across an organization, NordLayer is the better choice.
NordVPN is known as one of the best private network solutions, so you can expect NordLayer, which is based on NordVPN, to provide a similar experience. In terms of performance, NordLayer has traditionally scored well across benchmarking applications.
In my research, the consensus is NordLayer is comfortable delivering performance rates of 200-300Mbps. If you're unfamiliar with VPN performance, that is enough oomph to cover most tasks. Of course, there are enterprise users who require more performance than that. NordLayer is currently implementing the new NordLynx VPN protocol that underpins NordVPN from 2022.
Without getting technical, this new protocol increases performance capabilities significantly, running speeds of up to over 800Mbps.
NordLayer Customer Support
NordLayer provides a solid level of support. If you want to know general information about the service, the web knowledgebase is the place to start. While the standard NordVPN provides a more comprehensive information base, you can still find basic details on setting up NordLayer and troubleshooting common issues.
Perhaps the reason the knowledgebase is small is because the NordLayer team is always on hand to help. The company provides 24/7 support across both the Basic and Advanced price tiers.
NordLayer is a hassle-free business-grade VPN service that provides a top-notch experience without over-complicating usability. Sure, there are enterprise VPNs out there that will grab your attention with a slew of features. If you require unlimited functionality, NordLayer may not be for you. However, if you want an affordable way to use a VPN seamlessly across your organization, NordLayer is worth checking out.