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  • VPN Protocols: IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP), OpenVPN (TCP)
  • Connections: Up to 6 devices per user
  • Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
  • Customer Support: Live chat, email, blog, knowledge base

minimum price:

around £6/month

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NordLayer Review

Coming from one of the most trusted names in the cybersecurity world, it seems like NordLayer is off to a good start. But what else other than its renowned name does this VPN service have to offer? Keep reading this NordLayer Review to find out.

NordLayer Review

minimum price:

around £6/month

Visit Website
  • VPN Protocols: IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP), OpenVPN (TCP)
  • Connections: Up to 6 devices per user
  • Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
  • Customer Support: Live chat, email, blog, knowledge base

Best For

Small and mid-sized businesses

STRENGTHS

  • Multi-user management
  • Large network of servers
  • Centralised billing
  • Licence transferability
  • Cross-platform support

WEAKNESSES

  • Lack of no-logs policy
  • No trial period
  • No phone support

Remote working may have many benefits for employers and employees alike, but have you ever wondered what’s at stake? Today, remote workers using unsecured wi-fi networks to access work resources is the number one cause for cyberattacks and data breaches against businesses.

Fortunately, that is where VPN services come in.

Enterprise-level VPNs have now become an indispensable part of any business’s IT infrastructure. They provide workers, both at home and in an office setting, with access to sensitive business data without compromising security. 

This NordLayer Review aims to give you an insight into one of the leaders in today’s enterprise VPN market, NordLayer. This business version of the world-renowned VPN service, NordVPN, is equally impressive and robust as its personal VPN counterpart.

If you are curious to know whether NordLayer is a good fit for your business needs, check out the details below. 

  • What is NordLayer?
  • Services and Features
  • Pricing Plans
  • Privacy and Registration Process
  • Customer Support
  • Alternatives
  • Customer Support
  • Online Reviews

What is NordLayer?

You have likely already heard of NordVPN, a market leader in the VPN scene today. You may even be using it right now! In that case, you will be pleased to know that NordLayer is created and owned by Nord Solutions, the same company behind NordVPN

NordLayer is a brand new service, established in 2021, but it 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’ web traffic, allowing them safe access to a company’s secure network regardless of their geographical location.

Originally named NordVPN teams, in September 2021, it was rebranded as NordLayer. The reason for this, the company claims, is this new name facilitates its move towards the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) framework. As a result, NordLayer has evolved into a fully-fledged security solution, with a VPN being only one of the many services it offers.  

Services and Features

Control Panel

NordLayer has a centralised control panel that permits multi-user management, guaranteeing maximum simplicity and ease of use. Here are only some of the options that you will have access to with the NordLayer control panel

  • Add new users 
  • Manage user accounts
  • Build your work teams 
  • Fully manage your team settings and members
  • Create dedicated gateways
  • Monitor user activity and server load
  • Centralised billing
  • Account transfers

Furthermore, as an admin, you can choose which team members have access to which gateways, assign specific servers, and create virtual locations. 

Creating a gateway on a single dedicated server will also enable you to activate the Smart Access feature directly from the control panel. Smart Access allows you to connect endpoint to endpoint when connected to the same server. That will, in turn, give users the ability to see each other’s endpoints without even being on the same LAN.

Through the control panel, you can also transfer accounts to new users, a feature that can really come in handy in the event of staff change. 

Another option available is centralised billing, which means you will receive only one invoice for all employees at the end of the month. What’s more, NordLayer will automatically handle all payments whenever a new employee joins in, significantly reducing the workload for large businesses in particular.

Kill Switch 

NordLayer also has a Kill Switch feature. This feature automatically cuts the internet connection on your device if the connection to the VPN server fails even for a second. A Kill Switch is one of the core features to look for in a VPN service as it prevents data leakage and ensures that none of your sensitive data is ever exposed online.  

Servers

NordLayer currently has servers across 33 countries worldwide, including most European countries and across Australia, Asia, and the USA. The number of servers sits presently at 1100+, but it’s consistently growing.

A wide network of servers helps relieve traffic load and ensures smooth and reliable network connectivity regardless of where your employees are located. 

Also, even though the regular NordVPN provides far more servers worldwide, 5,000+ to be exact, with NordLayer, you get more options. For example, as mentioned previously, you can add your custom gateways and decide which users and teams have access to them. 

In this way, you can easily route your remote team to a UK server with just a few clicks. 

Moreover, with NordLayer’s Advanced and Enterprise plans, you can purchase and set up dedicated servers in 20+ locations, giving users access to fixed IP addresses only they can use. That will enable you to allow-list specific IP addresses for remote access, prevent intruders from accessing your VPN, and set up a site-to-site connection.

Two Factor Authentication and Single Sign-On

NordLayer offers access to two-factor authentication and Single Sign-On for an extra layer of protection. Whenever users try to log in to their account, they will be first asked to enter their password and then receive a one-time code on their mobile phone to confirm their identity. 

Additionally, Single Sign-On allows you to use one set of credentials across all your cloud applications. Namely, users can log in using their already existing credentials with Azure AD, Google Authenticator, Okta, or OneLogin

Encryption and Protocols 

NordLayer will encrypt your data with industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption. To put that into perspective, 256-bit encryption is 2128 times as safe as 128-bit encryption, making it virtually unbreakable by today’s level of technology. So, even on the off chance your data is intercepted, it would still be impossible to decipher. 

Also, 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 delivers both stability and ease of use with its groundbreaking auto-reconnect feature. 

According to NordLayer, their list of protocols will also soon include the NordLynx protocol. NordLynx is a new-generation WireGuard based protocol that combines WireGuard’s lightning-fast speed with NordVPN’s robust security features. 

Pricing Plans

NordLayer offers two pricing plans, Basic and Advanced. With each plan, you can choose to pay yearly or monthly. Here are your options: 

 

Basic Advanced
Monthly $9 (around £6) $11 (around £8)
Yearly (discount price) $84 (around £62) $108 (around £50)

 

Discounted prices apply to yearly subscriptions, with 22% off the Basic and 18% off the Advanced plan. 

The Basic plan includes the following features and benefits:

  • Cloud VPN
  • Intuitive Control Panel 
  • Kill Switch
  • Centralised settings and billing
  • Licence transferability
  • Two-factor authentication 
  • Single Sign-On with Azure Ad, Google, Okta, OneLogin
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Auto-connect
  • Threat block
  • No traffic and user limitations
  • Shared access to 30+ server locations

 

 The Advanced plan includes all the benefits in Basic, plus the following features:

  • Dedicated account manager
  • The purchase of dedicated servers from 20+ locations
  • Priority 24/7 customer support

 

NordLayer also offers a third plan called Enterprise, which is a fully customisable network security solution. The Enterprise plan has no fixed pricing structure, so companies need to reach out to NordLayer’s technical team to get a tailor-made solution based on their needs. Here are some of the high-end features available to enterprise-level clients.

  • LDAP Active Directory
  • API access
  • Site-to-site VPN
  • On-premise dedicated servers

 

While there isn’t a free trial available, all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee

Privacy and Registration Process

The NordLayer registration process is quick and easy, and it will only take you a couple of clicks to sign up to the platform and start using its services. The first step to register is to click on the Sign-Up button underneath the plan you are interested in getting. 

Alternatively, you can also register without activating a plan and proceed with the payment later. To do that, just click on the Sign-Up button at the top of the official NordLayer webpage.

On the next page that opens, you will need to fill out a form with your name, the name of the company, your work email address, and the number of employees your company has. 

NordLayer Registration Process | CyberCrew

Then, you will be prompted to enter your Organisation ID and confirm your identity with a six-digit pin that will be sent to you via email

NordLayer Registration Process | CyberCrew

Once verified, all that’s left to do to complete the final sign-up process is create a strong password. You will then be able to access NordLayer’s centralised control panel, from where you can build your teams and manage their members and settings.

NordLayer Registration Process | CyberCrew

To subscribe to one of the available plans, just click on the Active now button. You can pay by credit card, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

That should cover all the basics of registering with NordLayer. As you can see, the registration process is seamless and can be completed in minutes. 

Ease of Use

NordLayer’s control panel, which serves as the main dashboard to manage all aspects of the service, is intuitive and easy to use. For example, the process of adding new users to NordLayer is as easy as typing down their email address into a text box and clicking on a Send Invitations button.

If you have many employees, you can simply add a list of all of their email addresses, and the system will send out the invitations to each of them at once. Furthermore, you can easily assign users to different teams and choose to have each team representing a separate branch in your organisation. 

You can also access each user’s profile from the administrator dashboard and see when they were last logged in and the device they were using. That makes it easy to see whether your employees are using the VPN regularly as they should.

Client Apps

NordLayer is also available across all the major platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, with a client app available for each one of these platforms. 

The NordLayer Windows and macOS apps offer virtually the same features, with only slight differences in their interface. Both apps are straightforward to use with a minimalistic design.

For instance, the Windows app consists mainly of a sidebar with a list of countries from which users can log in. In addition, when launching the app for the first time, users need to enter their company’s unique ID, which the employer sends out as invitations via email.

Convenient features include having the app launch automatically when Windows starts and auto-connect to a gateway upon launch and when it detects unsecured wi-fi. In addition, users can choose which protocol they want to use, log in and out of their app, toggle the Kill Switch feature, and connect to a gateway all through the NordLayer app

The Android and iOS apps come with an equally lightweight and user-friendly interface as the desktop versions.

Privacy 

NordLayer is built around the Zero Trust principle, granting users and teams access to only those parts of the network necessary to fulfil their duties. In such a system, if one device is compromised, it cannot cause system-wide damage. This “trusted users only” policy identifies all users as untrustworthy before they have been authorised to gain access to the network. 

As is typical for enterprise VPNs, NordLayer doesn’t have a no-logs policy. As a result, this service collects access logs, IP addresses, browser and login information, payment information, and connection timestamps, among other user details. 

The company justifies its lack of a no-logs policy by claiming that it is crucial to protect against DDoS attacks and avoid hacking attempts.

NordLayer has recently relocated from Panama to the USA, claiming that this move allows it to be closer to its customers, most of which are based in North America. In contrast, NordVPN remains under the jurisdiction of Panama, so this move does not affect its users. 

In terms of privacy, Panama is a much more privacy-friendly country. The reason behind this is that it doesn’t have any data retention laws, which is not the case with the USA or any other country belonging to the Fourteen Eyes alliance. 

Customer Support

The NordLayer customer support team is available through multiple channels. For more pressing issues, you can reach out to a support agent directly through live chat and email. Alternatively, for more common questions, you can browse through its comprehensive blog and knowledge base, which is a rich source of cybersecurity articles, guides, and research. 

The quickest way to get help is by reaching out to a support agent via live chat. When testing the live chat option, I found the support agents provide fast and accurate responses to inquiries, and the service is available 24/7

In addition, the Advanced plan includes priority 24/7 live support, with an impressive average response time of less than one minute. 

Overall, NordLayer’s customer support is excellent, especially considering it is still an up-and-coming VPN service. That said, the lack of phone support is the only slight drawback, and it would be great if NordLayer worked on providing that option as well. 

NordLayer vs NordVPN

Although NordLayer and NordVPN were essentially built on the same backbone, the two services differentiate in more than one way. 

If you are unsure whether to pick NordLayer and NordVPN as your VPN solution, you must first understand the differences between a personal and a business VPN service

A personal VPN solution, such as NordVPN, is used by individuals for personal reasons, such as unblocking streaming content or preserving their online anonymity. In contrast, NordLayer is a private network service used to protect a company’s network and give remote workers safe access to its work resources.

So, the first core difference between NordLayer and NordVPN lies within their purpose of use. Also, NordVPN is designed for a single user and lacks the multi-user management features businesses require. In contrast, NordLayer provides all members of an organisation with a user licence, and each of them can secure up to six devices. 

With centralised billing, you won’t need to arrange a payment each time a new user joins NordLayer, as it is handled automatically. However, as that is a feature unique to NordLayer, with NordVPN, each user has to pay for their own licence. 

With NordLayer, you can also purchase a dedicated server with fixed IP addresses, allow-list specific IP addresses and create custom gateways for access control. None of these features is available in NordVPN. 

Contrastly, NordVPN users can choose between a shared IP address or a dedicated one solely for their use, which is far less likely to be tracked and excluded by websites. 

Finally, while both VPNs provide two-factor authentication, NordLayer takes login security one step further with Single Sign-On. As a result, NordLayer users can log into their accounts with their existing credentials with Azure Ad, Google, and Octa

To conclude, if you are looking for a cybersecurity solution for business, NordLayer is by far the most suitable option. While NordVPN cannot cover the complex needs of an entire organisation, it is still an excellent VPN provider for personal use. You can read our full review of the service here.

Alternatives

The most viable alternatives to NordLayer are other enterprise-level VPNs such as Perimeter 81 and Twingate.

NordLayer vs Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81 is a secure network management platform that consistently tops lists of the best VPNs for businesses. Its core features include dedicated servers, centralised user management, always-on VPN, network-based split tunnelling, and two-factor authentication. 

It is also one of the safest VPN providers on the market that, unlike NordLayer, uses the WireGuard protocol, in addition to the OpenVPN and the IKEv2 VPN protocols.

Like NordLayer, Perimeter 81 is a cloud-based service, which removes the need for investing in expensive external hardware or installation. 

 

NordLayer vs Twingate

Similarly to NordLayer, Twingate is another cloud-based service based on the Zero Trust principle designed to provide safe remote access to business resources. 

But, rather than a traditional VPN service, Twingate is a zero-trust network that sets access permissions at the application instead of the network level. 

That makes this service more secure and maintainable than a traditional VPN service, as it is invisible on the internet. Like NordLayer, Twingate can also be implemented quickly without the need for infrastructure changes. 

To ensure only authorised users access resources, Twingate also collaborates with some of the major single-sign-on providers, such as Azure Ad, GSuite, and Okta. So for anyone looking for the highest level of business data security, Twingate is an excellent option and arguably even better than a traditional VPN solution. 

User Reviews

As it is a relatively new service, there aren’t too many NordLayer reviews online. However, from the handful of available reviews, it is evident that an overwhelming number of users who tried the service were satisfied with how it works. 

For instance, on Reviews.io, there are currently 104 reviews in total, with a rating of  4.6 out of 5 stars. Moreover, an impressive 92% of reviewers recommend NordLayer to other users. Most of the five-star reviews are related to NordLayer’s services, ease of set-up and use, and good customer support experiences. 

 

Wrap Up

With its already renowned name in the cybersecurity world, this VPN automatically sets a high standard for itself, and it definitely meets the high expectations of users.

Although still a work in progress, this NordLayer Review showcases that this cybersecurity solution is slowly but surely becoming a leader in the business VPN market. Offering military-level encryption, private gateways, and multiple high-end security measures, NordLayer will ensure your sensitive data is safe from prying eyes. 

Especially in a world where work from anywhere is increasingly becoming the norm, not implementing a secure network solution like NordLayer is an unnecessary risk to take.

FAQ

Is NordLayer safe?

Yes, NordLayer guarantees the protection of your business by implementing multiple security measures. Some of them include Kill Switch, AES 256-bit encryption, two-factor authentication, Single Sign-On, and the option to allow-list fixed IP addresses for secure remote access to work resources. 

How does NordLayer work?

Every aspect of NordLayer is handled through the centralised control panel that permits multi-user management. From there, admins can manage user accounts, build work teams, monitor user activity, create dedicated gateways and many other options.

How many servers does NordLayer have?

NordLayer has 1100+ servers in 33+ countries worldwide.

What VPN protocols does NordLayer use?

NordLayer uses the most trusted VPN protocols: IKEv2, OpenVPN (UPD), and OpenVPN (TCP).  According to NordLayer, this list will also soon include the NordLynx protocol, a WireGuard based VPN protocol that enhances security and improves connection speeds. 

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