One of the top challenges facing enterprise owners is ensuring secure remote connections to company networks and applications to stay safe from data breaches. Considering that a recent IBM report estimated the average cost of a data breach in 2022 was an eye-shattering $4.35 million, it is no surprise that deploying enterprise-level virtual private networks solutions has become a top priority for many businesses.
Enterprise virtual private network solutions provide a secure gateway for businesses to connect their employees to their corporate networks. With a VPN, all web traffic is encrypted and routed through a server, making it difficult for attackers to pry on online communications. Using a VPN can serve as a powerful first line of defense and assist in preventing cyber attacks on enterprises. Multi-factor authentication, disabling split tunneling, implementing a maximum connection-time window after which employees must re-authenticate and mandating complex, rotating passwords are several examples of how to bolster enterprise VPN security.
Given the proliferation of VPN solutions in the market, here is a roundup of the top enterprise VPN solutions in 2023.
SEE: VPN: Picking a provider and troubleshooting tips (TechRepublic free download)
Top 6 Enterprise VPN Solutions
1. Cisco AnyConnect: Best for easy setup
Cisco AnyConnect uses multi-factor authentication and establishes a 24-hour usage window after which the connection drops and the user is required to log in again.
AnyConnect has many security options. It performs a system check on authentication to determine whether the workstation meets certain requirements like anti-malware software or corporate domain membership before it permits access to the company network. This ensures only company-managed systems are allowed on the network. AnyConnect can block access to untrusted servers, display security products installed, and run diagnostics to gather information for analysis and troubleshooting. It disables split tunneling, meaning when you’re connected to the VPN you can only access corporate resources and nothing on your local home network or the internet.
- Allows access to the enterprise network, from any device, at any time, in any location.
- Provides visibility and insight into endpoint behavior.
- Offers multi-factor authentication.
- Offers always-on support.
- It is easy to download and install.
- It can be used on multiple devices.
- Provides great customer support.
- There is no free trial.
- Lacks kill switch capability.
- Check with the vendor for pricing.
SEE: Tips for choosing the best VPN for your needs (TechRepublic free download)
2. Checkpoint Secure Remote Access: Best for web-based client support
Checkpoint Secure Remote Access VPN is a reliable and robust solution. With it, users can create custom install packages pre-configured with targeted IP addresses for clients to authenticate to. Checkpoint’s VPN is secured using multi-factor authentication (either hard tokens or soft tokens, which operate as an app on mobile devices).
Split tunneling is disabled, and for hackers to get to the internet clients they would have to configure the company proxy server settings, which only permits access to public-facing internet sites for business usage (social media sites were blocked, for instance). Group memberships determine who can connect where, and Checkpoint firewalls can be used as the management interface for both the VPN and the firewall settings with a “single pane of glass” offering.
Checkpoint Site-to-Site VPNs feature links two remote areas together so traffic reaches networks on either side.
- The VPN offers a central management platform.
- IPsec and SSL VPN support.
- Secure hotspot registration.
- It offers VPN auto-connect.
- Multi-factor authentication support.
- SSL support provides web-based access without the need to install a VPN client.
- Compliance scanning support.
- Runs on multiple devices, including Windows, Mac and Mobiles.
- Offers threat prevention capability.
- It does not support threat prevention on iOS, Android and Linux users.
- Incident analysis is only available for Windows users.
- Contact the vendor for pricing details.
SEE: Cybersecurity: Let’s get tactical (TechRepublic free download)
3. SonicWall Global VPN Client: Best lightweight enterprise VPN
SonicWall Global VPN Client is fast and efficient, providing RADIUS/certificate/Smart Card/USB authentication, VPN session reliability to redirect clients to other VPN gateways if problems occur, 168-bit key 3Data Encryption Standard and AES Advanced Encryption Standard security, specific subnet access and command-line options for installation, making it easy to deploy through automated software mechanisms.
- It can be configured either as an IPsec or SSL end-point agent.
- Supports multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- Offers easy setup and configuration.
- Detailed logs and reporting for network administrators.
- Offers strong encryption and authentication to protect against cyber threats.
- It is easy to download and configure.
- Compatible with a wide range of platforms and devices.
- Offers logs and reporting features to monitor VPN usage.
- There is no free trial or demo.
- No web-based version.
- Contact sales for pricing details.
4. Fortinet Forticlient: Best for offering wider VPN security options
Fortinet Forticlient relies on certificates for integration and deployment and offers web filtering and firewall rule access. Endpoint protection security, which uses automated behavior analysis, is included, a solution so sophisticated it was found to have blocked 100% of malware in a 2019 report while also yielding zero false positives.
Its interface provides a centralized way to configure, deploy and manage a VPN as well as check client status and engage in vulnerability scanning and patching.
The solution also offers two different types of VPN solutions, IPSec and SSL, and is designed to be integrated into an organization’s overall endpoint security strategy, providing a reliable VPN security option for companies that have employees working remotely.
- Fortinet supports multifactor authentication.
- Supports SSL or IPSec tunneling protocols.
- Offers malware protection and anti-exploit support.
- Offers multiple tunneling protocols, including Point-to-Point, Layer 2 and Secure Socket tunneling protocols.
- There is a free trial option.
- Fully customizable authentication settings.
- Integration with anti-virus and threat-detection tools makes it a little bit clunky.
- Reach out to the vendor for pricing options.
5. Palo Alto GlobalProtect: Best for implementing security policies
Palo Alto GlobalProtect offers multi-factor authentication, high security (cookie or certificate-based authentication are two strong features), web filtering and threat protection. It relies on Zero Trust principles.
GlobalProtect also identifies what devices are connecting to the VPN and whether they are managed (company-owned or operated) or unmanaged (employee-owned), and provides access accordingly (devices deemed suspicious or unauthorized can be blocked entirely). It can determine certificates present on devices, operating system and patch levels, anti-malware versions and status, running software and whether disks are encrypted and data is being backed up by a product.
- Provides least-privilege access support for remote employees.
- Supports multi-factor authentication.
- The software supports threat prevention.
- Offers full visibility across all applications, ports and protocols.
- There is a demo option to check out the product.
- Offers analytics and visibility for network traffic,
- There is an always-on, secure connection support.
- Deployment may be difficult for first-time users.
- Reach out to the vendor for a quote.
6. ZScaler Private Access: Best for zero-trust network access
ZScaler Private Access is a cloud service that provides access to applications in cloud environments or on-premise systems via a distributed architecture. The twist here is that the applications connect to authorized users via secure encryption rather than vice versa, so users never actually access the remote networks involved.
It uses standard policy-based access depending on users and applications. ZScaler touts the ease with which mergers and acquisitions can be facilitated due to the reduced infrastructure setup times and lack of need for additional networking equipment.
- Multiple device support.
- Provides multifactor authentication.
- AI-powered network segmentation.
- Supports different types of segmentations, including user-to-app, user-to-device and workload-to-workload segmentation.
- There is an option for a demo.
- Applies the principles of least privilege to give users a secure connection.
- There is security compliance support.
- ZScaler Private Access offers multiple plans, but no price quote is attached.
Key features of enterprise VPN solutions
Enterprise VPNs have key features that separate them from the traditional private VPNs. Below are some of the differentiating factors.
Support for Secure VPN Protocol
Support for secure VPN protocols is a crucial feature of enterprise VPNs. These protocols are designed to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and authenticity of data transmitted between remote users and the corporate network. Enterprise VPNs typically support multiple secure protocols, such as OpenVPN, IPSec, and SSL/TLS, to provide a variety of options for connecting to the network securely. The use of secure VPN protocols helps to protect sensitive information from interception, eavesdropping, and other types of cyber threats, making them an essential component of enterprise security infrastructure.
DNS Leak Protection support
DNS leaks can compromise the security of enterprise networks by exposing employees’ online activities and potentially allowing unauthorized access to sensitive company data. As a result, enterprise VPN solutions need robust DNS leak protection mechanisms to ensure that all DNS queries are routed through the encrypted VPN tunnel and not leaked outside. Most enterprise VPN solutions have built-in DNS leak protection support that prevents DNS leaks and provides employees with a secure browsing experience, regardless of location.
Centralized management support
A centralized management system allows administrators to quickly and easily configure VPN settings and policies, monitor VPN traffic and usage, and troubleshoot network issues. It also provides a consistent experience for remote users, who can access the VPN from anywhere and be confident that they are connecting to the correct network.
In addition, with a centralized management network, admins can enforce policies, such as access controls and data retention policies, across the entire VPN network, ensuring that all users comply with company security policies and industry regulations.
High availability is another critical feature of enterprise VPNs because downtime can disrupt business operations, preventing remote workers from accessing corporate resources and potentially causing revenue losses. To ensure high availability, enterprise VPN solutions typically use load balancing and other techniques to ensure that VPN traffic is distributed across multiple servers or gateways. If one server or gateway fails, another takes over, ensuring that VPN connections remain active.
While there are several VPN services out there, not all offer solutions at an enterprise level. To arrive at our list of the best enterprise VPNs, we based our selection on the following parameters: strong security features, stable connection, multi-device and operating system capability and customer support. Apart from using some of the solutions, we also checked out reviews on Gartner to gather third-party opinions on some of the VPN solutions.
How do I choose the best VPN solution for my business?
Before opting for any VPN software for your business, you should consider the following factors.
Consider your business security needs
First, consider your security needs and check if your potential VPN solution can meet those needs. For instance, if your security need is beyond just a secure VPN connection to include, let’s say, compliance support, you should go for a VPN solution that offers both. Similarly, you should also consider how you want to deploy your VPN software. Do you want a solution offering only a cloud-based or downloaded client? Your answer should inform your decision to pick the best VPN software for your business.
Consider security capabilities
While all VPN solutions offer similar security capabilities, some do this more than others. Remember that security should be the top priority when choosing an enterprise VPN solution. You should go for solutions that provide strong encryption, secure authentication, and other security features to protect against cyber threats.
Check for compatibility
Compatibility is another factor to consider before opting for any business VPN solution. The VPN solution should be compatible with a wide range of platforms and devices, including desktops, laptops, mobile devices and different operating systems. This ensures that your employees’ devices can easily connect to the VPN without spending money on additional devices.
Consider the cost of the VPN solution, including any hardware or software licenses, maintenance and support fees, and any other expenses associated with implementation and management.
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This article was originally written by Scott Matteson. It was extensively updated by Franklin Okeke.