Ensuring secure remote connections to company networks and resources is one of the most significant challenges facing enterprise owners. This concern has been amplified by the findings of a recent IBM® report, which estimates the average cost of a data breach in 2023 to be $4.45 million.
As a result, the deployment of enterprise-level virtual private network (VPN) solutions has become a critical priority for many businesses, particularly with the increase in remote employees. These security solutions are essential for protecting sensitive data and maintaining the integrity of corporate networks.
What are the benefits of using an enterprise VPN?
Enterprise VPN solutions serve as a secure gateway, connecting employees to their corporate networks from any location. They come equipped with features like management via command line interface (CLI), RESTCONF application programming interface (API), graphical user interface (GUI), or IT automation platforms like Ansible®, SaltStack®, Puppet®, or Chef™.
They are also equipped with support of multiple VPN protocols, advanced logging and monitoring, virtual routing and forwarding (VRF), and more.
These features enhance the management and security of enterprise networks, safeguarding against unauthorized access and potential breaches.
How do VPNs work?
The core function of a VPN is to create a private network over a public internet connection, offering the VPN client anonymity, online privacy, and protection from hackers. It effectively hides the user's IP address, reducing their digital footprint, and secures and encrypts their connections.
This can be visualized as a secret, encrypted tunnel between the user's device and the internet, or between two VPN endpoints, where only the user and the intended recipient can view the data being transmitted.
This level of cybersecurity is crucial for large enterprises as well as small businesses, especially those with employees who frequently use public Wi-Fi networks for online activities or remote work. Enterprise VPNs, also known as business VPNs, not only encrypt connections to prevent unauthorized access but also enable administrators to establish granular access controls, further enhancing network security.
In this article, we will discuss which enterprise VPN solutions are considered top-tier for businesses in 2024. We will examine the key features of these solutions, including user experience, VPN connection type, user data protection, and more to help you identify the top VPN solutions on the market.
This comprehensive overview will help you select the most appropriate enterprise VPN solution to safeguard your digital assets and maintain secure network operations.
Top 6 enterprise VPN solutions
Here are six leading solutions on the VPN market that you should consider for 2024.
1. TNSR High-Performance VPN Concentrator
TNSR® High-Performance VPN Concentrator offers high-speed routed site-to-site and remote access VPNs via WireGuard® or IPSec.
The product provides versatile management with a CLI, RESTCONF API, and GUI, as well as advanced monitoring and troubleshooting with SNMP, Prometheus Exporter, and IPFIX Exporter. Standardized Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), and Routing Information Protocol (RIP) are also available.
See features here.
24x7 TAC Pro or Enterprise support is included for TNSR High-Performance VPN Concentrator, depending on the number of connected devices.
Customers with up to 50 connected devices can get expert answers within 24 hours via email or the support portal. They can also upgrade their support subscription to a four-hour response time and live phone support. Customers with 100 or more connected devices can get expert answers within four hours via email, phone, or the support portal. A community forum is also available.
TNSR software documentation is comprehensive and well-structured. From installation to advanced configuration, it covers a wide range of topics and includes examples to aid understanding.
The following are some of the leading features of TNSR High-Performance VPN Concentrator:
There are multiple ways to manage TNSR software, including CLI, RESTCONF API, and GUI.
TNSR software configuration through both CLI and RESTCONF API enables the product to be managed by IT automation platforms like Ansible, SaltStack, Puppet, or Chef.
VPN & Tunneling
TNSR software supports WireGuard and IPSec (site-to-site and mobile) VPN protocols.
Logging & Monitoring
Virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) is supported in TNSR. VRF enables multiple routing tables on a single router. The technology is used in VPNs to provide secure, segregated routing over shared infrastructure.
TNSR supports Layer 2, Layer 3, and Layer 4 access control lists (ACLs), scalable to over 100,000 rules.
In TNSR, user authentication is done using either passwords or user keys.
2. pfSense Plus Software
This software offers a wide range of VPN features, including site-to-site and remote access VPN, support for IPsec, OpenVPN®, and WireGuard® protocols, IPv6 support, split tunneling, multiple tunnels, VPN tunnel failover, NAT support, automatic or custom routing, and compatibility with a variety of Google Android, Mac iOS, and Microsoft Windows devices.
See the full list of features here.
For pfSense Plus software, TAC Lite is included with Netgate appliances and cloud instances. Customers can also purchase additional technical access center (TAC) support: Pro ($399/Year) or Enterprise ($799/Year). A community forum is also available.
pfSense Plus software documentation is well-regarded for its thoroughness and clarity. It provides detailed guides and instructions for a smooth customer experience.
Here are some of the features offered by pfSense Plus:
pfSense Plus software is primarily managed using the GUI, which features a dashboard and configurable widgets.
Basic maintenance tasks can also be performed from the pfSense Plus system console. The console is available via SSH using optional key-based access.
Logging & Monitoring
pfSense Plus software provides monitoring through its GUI, with a dashboard for tracking firewall and network status. The software also offers logging for system activities.
The software supports Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) logging and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). It also supports monitoring add-on packages like NtopNG and DarkstatIPFIX. Switch Port Analyzer and Encapsulated Remote Switch Port Analyzer (SPAN/ERSPAN), and Amazon CloudWatch are currently not supported.
pfSense Plus does not support VRF.
pfSense Plus software is a powerful firewall with features like stateful packet inspection, IP/DNS-based filtering, captive portal, time-based rules, Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) external user authentication, and more.
See the full list of features here.
3. Perimeter 81
CheckPoint Perimeter 81® offers network security as a service and is a popular secure access service edge (SASE) and enterprise VPN solution. It allows both in-office and remote users to securely access company resources stored in on-site data centers or in the cloud. The VPN service is cloud-based and intuitive, managed from a simple user-friendly interface.
Support for Perimeter 81 is included and based on product tier.
Essentials, the lowest product tier, provides support during business hours via a ticketing system, chat, or email. Response times range from 20 minutes to one business day, depending on issue severity. Enterprise, the highest product tier, includes 24/7 support via phone, chat, email, or the ticketing system.
Perimeter 81 offers well-organized documentation with guides that make it easy to get started.
Top features of Perimeter 81 include:
VPN & Tunneling
Perimeter 81 supports IPSec, WireGuard, and OpenVPN protocols.
Logging & Monitoring
Perimeter 81 provides a Monitoring Dashboard that provides real-time visibility into network usage, including active sessions, utilized member licenses, gateway licenses, and apps. Views can be filtered by time range, network, region, and gateway.
The documentation also provides guidance on collecting log files, which can help in diagnosing agent and network-related issues.
Perimeter 81 offers network segmentation by creating tailored, cloud-based networks. Administrators define network specifics like name, region, and gateways. They also set unique configurations for different user groups through configuration profiles.
Perimeter 81 includes a range of VPN security features like agentless zero trust network access (ZTNA), automatic Wi-Fi protection, secure web gateway (SWG) web filtering, malware protection, Domain Name System (DNS) filtering, and advanced identity access management with multi-factor authentication.
4. OpenVPN Access Server
OpenVPN® Access Server is a self-hosted VPN solution that can be deployed on bare-metal COTS hardware as a virtual network function (VNF), or in cloud environments like AWS® and Azure®. It comes with a web-based GUI and widely compatible OpenVPN Connect client installers for easy deployment.
OpenVPN offers support for OpenVPN Access Server through a support ticket system and community forum. There is no live phone support and no guaranteed response time.
Here are some important features of OpenVPN Access Server:
OpenVPN Access Server uses the OpenVPN protocol.
Logging & Monitoring
OpenVPN Access Server provides monitoring through its Admin Web UI, which displays log information. Administrators can view user connection times, data usage, and basic error messages related to authentication or connection issues.
The product also supports Prometheus Exporter. IPFIX, SPAN/ERSPAN, and Amazon Cloudwatch are currently not supported.
OpenVPN Access Server does not have native VRF.
OpenVPN Access Server supports ACLs. It offers identity-based access control through Google Authenticator, LDAP, RADIUS, and Active Directory servers.
5. VyOS Universal Router
VyOS® Universal Router is a software router that can be deployed on AWS and Azure, as well as other platforms. It can be used as an enterprise VPN gateway.
The documentation for VyOS Universal Router is sparse. This can lead to a frustrating experience if users can't find what they need.
These are the key features of VyOS Universal Router.
VyOS Universal Router can be managed using CLI and GraphQL API. RESTCONF API is currently unavailable, and there is no GUI. VyOS software supports automation tools like Ansible, Saltstack, and Puppet.
VyOS Universal Router supports IPSec, WireGuard, and OpenVPN protocols.
Logging & Monitoring
The router supports SNMP, SPAN/ERSPAN, Prometheus Exporter, and IPFIX Exporter for monitoring, as well as DHCP logging. Additionally, the product includes an amazon-cloudwatch-agent package to make it easy to monitor VyOS instances on AWS using Amazon CloudWatch.
VyOS Universal Router supports VRF.
6. AWS VPN Server
AWS® VPN solutions, including AWS Transit Gateway, AWS Client VPN, and AWS Site-to-Site VPN, are services provided by Amazon Web Services that act as a scalable cloud VPN server. They are accessible via the AWS Management Console and are part of the AWS ecosystem of networking services.
The AWS Basic Support Plan is included and provides one-on-one responses to account and billing questions, support forums, service health checks, and access to documentation, technical papers, and best practice guides.
Customers can also purchase additional support, which comes in four tiers: Developer ($29+/Month), Business ($100+/Month), Enterprise On-Ramp ($5,500+/Month), and Enterprise ($15,000+/Month). See pricing details here.
AWS documentation provides detailed guidelines on setting up and managing AWS Transit Gateway and AWS Client and Site-to-Site VPN. It includes information on configuration and best practices for usage.
Here are some of the leading features of AWS VPN Server:
AWS VPN solutions can be managed using GUI, CLI, and API.
GUI - The AWS Management Console and AWS Global Networks for Transit Gateways console can be used to access, visualize, and monitor transit gateways.
CLI - AWS CLI provides commands for AWS services, including Amazon VPC, EC2, S3.
API - The AWS API provides a comprehensive interface for interacting programmatically with AWS.
The products can also be managed by IT automation platforms.
When used with AWS Client VPN, AWS Transit Gateway uses the OpenVPN protocol. When paired with AWS Site-to-Site VPN, Transit Gateway uses the IPSec protocol. WireGuard is not supported.
Logging & Monitoring
AWS VPN solutions metrics can be accessed using Prometheus Exporter. The products do not support DHCP logging, SNMP, IPFIX Exporter, or SPAN/ERSPAN but rely on AWS-native tools for logging and monitoring, including Amazon CloudWatch, Transit Gateway Flow Logs, VPC Flow Logs, CloudTrail logs, and Network Manager.
AWS VPN solutions support VRF.
AWS Transit Gateway uses Network Access Control Lists (NACLs) to provide an optional security layer. It does not have other firewall capabilities but can be used with AWS Network Firewall.
AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) enables control over access to AWS resources, including transit gateways.
Key features of enterprise VPN solutions
While there are a variety of options when selecting an enterprise VPN, here’s a breakdown of how popular VPN solutions address essential features necessary for performance and secure network access.
The ability to manage VPN solutions through various interfaces is crucial for flexibility and efficiency. Most enterprise VPN solutions offer management via multiple interfaces, such as CLI, RESTCONF API, and GUI. Many can also integrate with IT automation platforms like Ansible, SaltStack, Puppet, or Chef. This flexibility allows for seamless integration into existing IT workflows and systems.
Support for multiple VPN protocols is essential for ensuring compatibility and security. Different solutions offer various protocols. For example, Perimeter 81 supports IPSec, WireGuard, and OpenVPN while OpenVPN Access Server only supports the OpenVPN protocol. Variety ensures that businesses can select a solution that aligns with their specific requirements.
Logging and Monitoring
Advanced logging and monitoring capabilities are vital for maintaining network security and performance. TNSR software is a good example of an enterprise VPN solution with strong capabilities, supporting SNMP, SPAN/ERSPAN, Prometheus Exporter, and IPFIX Exporter for comprehensive monitoring. It also supports DHCP logging. These tools help in proactive network management and troubleshooting.
Segmentation and Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF)
VRF capabilities allow for multiple routing tables on a single router, providing secure, segregated routing over shared infrastructure. This feature is crucial for organizations that require isolated network environments within a single physical infrastructure.
Many enterprise VPN solutions, like AWS VPN Server and TNSR software on AWS and Azure, are designed for compatibility with cloud environments. This feature is crucial for businesses leveraging cloud computing, ensuring secure and seamless integration with cloud services.
Customization and Scalability
The ability to customize and scale the VPN solution according to the business size and needs is a key consideration. Solutions like AWS VPN Server and TNSR software on AWS and Azure offer extensive customization and scalability options, making them suitable for a wide range of business sizes and types.
In summary, the key features of enterprise VPN solutions in 2024 revolve around:
- Flexible management options
- Robust security protocols
- Comprehensive logging and monitoring
- Network segmentation
- Cloud integration
These features, combined with dependable support and documentation, make these VPN solutions indispensable for businesses looking to secure their networks in an increasingly connected and digital world.
Enterprise VPN FAQ
What should you be aware of when using a VPN?
When using a VPN, it's crucial to consider the strength of the security protocols in place, as they are fundamental in protecting your data and network traffic. For example, protocols like WireGuard and IPsec, as used by TNSR software, are known for their robust encryption.
Another consideration is the impact of VPNs on network performance. While they enhance security, they can sometimes slow down network speeds.
It's also important to be mindful of legal and compliance issues, especially if operating across different countries, as VPN usage and data privacy laws can vary. The server locations can influence both performance and jurisdictional concerns, so selecting a VPN with strategically located servers is beneficial.
Additionally, understanding the VPN provider's logging policies is essential, as different businesses have varying needs for privacy. Features such as access controls and network segmentation, like the VRF offered by TNSR, are important for managing and safeguarding sensitive corporate data.
Finally, ensure that the VPN is compatible with the devices and platforms your business uses, as not all VPN solutions support all types of devices.
How do I choose the best VPN solution for my business?
Choosing the best VPN solution for your business involves assessing your specific needs, such as the number of users, the type of data handled, and your security requirements. It is important to compare the security features of different VPNs, focusing on strong encryption protocols and additional security measures like firewalls.
The ease of management and integration with existing IT infrastructure is another crucial factor. Solutions offering various management interfaces provide greater flexibility. The performance and reliability of the VPN are also key considerations, as high performance without significant speed loss is ideal.
Customer support and the quality of documentation are indicative of the reliability and user-friendliness of the VPN solution.
Cost is always a significant factor, so it's important to consider how the VPN fits into your IT budget, keeping an eye out for transparent pricing structures. Researching the reputation of the VPN service provider can give insights into their reliability and customer satisfaction.
Lastly, utilizing trial periods or demos can be a practical way to test how well a VPN solution fits into your environment before making a long-term commitment.
Is VPN outdated?
While VPN is a technology that’s been utilized for quite some time, it is also a tried and tested technology. It’s rare to take revolutionary jumps in tech. Rather, concepts build and grow. Much like tape to spinning disk to solid state.
VPN, or point to point encryption, will most likely never go away. However, the way in which it’s utilized will change over time. Zero trust network architecture (ZTA) will utilize VPN in a more secure manner, but will still leverage the technology. For more information on ZTA, refer to the following section.
So, is VPN outdated? Like any technology…yes and no. As long as you are using modern encryption, patching your systems, and leveraging new technologies to assist with security, VPN is a crucial aspect of any security posture.
What technologies are replacing VPN?
Zero trust network architecture, or ZTA, is the evolution of VPN and firewall. ZTA will leverage VPN technology and expand on it to enable the concept of mesh VPN. This is where an edge device will create a VPN directly to the targeted application, or the closest router that can terminate that VPN before that application.
This VPN will bypass every other form of security along the way, such as firewalls, IPS/IDS, etc. As this is a secure tunnel, and can only be created if the user has permission to create the tunnel in the first place. They will authenticate in a similar manner to today.
However, this does not mean that the user will gain access to the application itself, just to the “front door.” The same application boundary will still exist. Just like if you have someone’s home address, it doesn’t mean you can just walk into their house. They still need to let you in.
The application will then check the credentials of the user, and grant access or deny. Either way, that conversation will happen over the “single use VPN,” and once that communication is done, the VPN will then be torn down.
Mesh VPN is essentially many point-to-point conversations, only with systems that the user is allowed to establish communication with. How is this zero trust? By establishing many point-to-point VPNs, and then authenticating with the systems themselves, the user is not allowed to gain access to the systems that are also on the same subnet/VPC. They can only see the application to which they are allowed to communicate.
After they knock on the door, the application will authenticate the user for the level of access they have to the application. Today, once a VPN is established to a network, they have access to anything within the network. That permission doesn’t exist in ZTA.
What is the difference between personal VPN and enterprise VPN?
Personal VPNs are intended for individual use, emphasizing online privacy, internet security, and access to restricted content. They offer user-friendly interfaces, simple setup, and features like server selection and ad-blocking. However, they may not meet complex organizational security requirements.
In contrast, enterprise VPNs cater to organizational needs, providing employees secure access to company resources. These VPNs come with advanced security features, including end-to-end encryption and robust authentication methods, and they are equipped for network administration, regulatory compliance, and integration with enterprise tools.
They are designed to support a large and globally distributed workforce, making them more suitable for business environments than personal VPNs, which prioritize ease of use and privacy for individual users.
Which type of VPN is the preferred choice?
The preferred type of VPN largely hinges on the user's specific requirements. Individuals prioritizing online privacy, desiring secure internet connections (especially in public spaces), or wishing to access region-restricted content typically find personal VPNs more suitable. These VPNs are user-friendly and geared toward protecting individual privacy and bypassing geographical restrictions.
On the other hand, businesses and organizations with a focus on securing internal networks, managing access for on-premises employees and remote workers, and adhering to compliance standards are better served by enterprise VPNs.
These offer more robust security features, administrative controls, secure remote access for employees’ laptops and other mobile devices, and the ability to handle a large number of users, making them ideal for organizational use. Therefore, the choice between a personal and an enterprise VPN is dictated by whether the user is an individual seeking privacy or an organization aiming to safeguard corporate data and regulate network access.
What is the strongest type of VPN?
The concept of the "strongest" VPN is multifaceted, depending largely on factors like encryption standards, protocols used, privacy policies, and additional security features. A VPN employing AES-256 encryption is generally considered robust, as this is a widely recognized high-security standard.
Protocols play a significant role too, with options like OpenVPN and WireGuard known for their optimal balance of speed and security, with WireGuard especially noted for its modern approach.
Privacy-wise, VPNs adhering to a strict no-logs policy are stronger, ensuring user activity isn't recorded. Enhanced security features such as a kill switch, leak protection, and multi-factor authentication further fortify a VPN's strength. The security of the VPN servers themselves, both physically and virtually, is equally crucial. Moreover, a VPN's jurisdiction can affect its privacy strength due to varying international data retention laws.
Therefore, the strongest VPN depends on individual needs, whether prioritizing privacy, speed, or a combination of factors, and it's vital to select a service that excels in areas most pertinent to these specific requirements.
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