Complete Guide to Perimeter 81 – Your New Business Partner!

Perimeter 81 is a Zero Trust Network. It is a service intended to simplify secure network, cloud and application access for the modern and distributed workforce. You can get simplified secure access to your local networks, cloud infrastructures and business applications with one unified platform, perimeter 81. In simple words, it is a complete network security platform. 

Perimeter makes online security simpler for employees, enabling them to work securely using remote access. By allowing this approach regardless of where your employees work, the service uses a next-generation Cloud VPN solution and hardware-free cybersecurity innovations to transform the traditional corporate VPN experience. This service is also most desirable for multiple-device users, especially those who often switch devices with one another.

Perimeter 81 includes more than just security. Business owners and IT security leaders get their hands on unparalleled network visibility. As soon as there’s any unusual activity detected, you will be able to identify it as quickly as possible, because its customizable cloud management platform gives you a 360-degree view of your network security. This means that you can oversee both your team and server settings as well as the employee network and service access.

This all with no more manual configuration and hours of setup. It is completely built-in. It manages and secures your network from its multi-tenant cloud. Perimeter 81 offers businesses a modern cloud-based option to the traditional corporate VPN model. It is produced by SaferVPN and is a rebranding of SaferVPN for Business product.

Why Is a VPN Necessary For Businesses?

Well, it has become crucial, nowadays, to maintain a high level of security and privacy for any business. Especially, a business that depends upon the mobile workforce. A VPN is a must-have these days in order to ensure security and much more. There are a ton of VPNs available in the market these days. However, it is very important to keep a few things in mind while choosing a VPN. In a colony of VPNs, it becomes difficult to choose which one suits your needs as well as functions perfectly so as to ensure no security is being compromised. Some of the main features to look for in a good VPN are:

  1. Security features
  2. Ease of use
  3. Affordability
  4. Server locations

A lot of people use a VPN for streaming and unblocking Netflix. However, Perimeter 81 is unable to unblock Netflix. So, if you are looking for a VPN for streaming, perimeter 81 is not an option. Having said that, while it is not an excellent option for individual users, it is a perfect choice for businesses.

Looking at the greater side of perimeter 81, it is a feature-rich VPN which provides exceptionally safe, easy to use, and fast services. It is an ideal VPN for a small business or enterprise. Perimeter 81 provides the conventional business VPN experience with a single-click deployment and unlimited bandwidth. 

The golden point-earning feature of perimeter 81 is its innovative Cloud VPN architecture. This way you won’t need any external cybersecurity hardware. It is also an ideal VPN for multiple-device users, even at home, provided if the key feature you’re looking for is security as its security features are unmatchable.

What Is Zero-Trust?

It is a foolproof approach designed especially for enterprises to carry out micro-segmentation of users’ data and their locations. This technique allows the enterprise to decide whether to trust the user, robot or machine attempting to access the enterprise digitally.

Why Organizations Need Zero Trust Application Security

These days traditional perimeter security is not enough to protect organizations from advanced attacks and modern hackers. Organizations should not think that everything behind the firewall is safe, instead, they should know that breaches can happen in any way possible or impossible. Once an attacker breaks the perimeter, they are free to move ahead and access services, applications, and data inside the network, which could result in a significant loss for the organization.

Such situations become more critical with the increase of microservices and cloud-native applications, which require a totally different mindset from security for legacy applications. With the appropriation of containers and Kubernetes, microservices and cloud-native applications have become more dynamic and can expose many more attack surfaces. They ask for new solutions to establish more efficient and effective protection around and close to each service and application.

Choosing a zero trust model becomes an assuring way to address these types of provocations. Zero trust means “never trust, always verify”. In such a pattern, every request to a service or application should be encrypted, authenticated and approved, even inside the controlled network. 

Features Of Perimeter 81

It provides some great features like:

Secure Cloud and Network Access

Perimeter 81 ensures user-centric and adaptive, policy-based network access to on-premises resources, SaaS applications, and cloud environments.

Zero-Trust Application Access

By using perimeter 81, you can reduce the attack surface by implementing zero-trust technology, fully audited access to web applications, SSH, RDP, VNC or Telnet without an agent.

Facilitates Team Management

Perimeter 81 lets you add private servers with dedicated IPs and assign them to different teams. This facilitates team management and gives each team access to specific resources. 

Protection against Wi-Fi Security Threats

Various Wi-Fi hotspots have a weak or completely no form of encryption. They also often have shared passwords or no authentication which makes it easily approachable by cybercriminals and responsive to breaches and attacks. The provider guarantees your employees are protected when they have to connect to these hotspots while working on-the-go with features such as automatic Wi-Fi security and superior configuration, among others.

SMB-Friendly Advanced Cloud VPN

As many fast-growing SMBs are appealing teams that work on-the-go, Perimeter 81 recognizes the threats faced by your workforce when relying on cloud-based solutions. This covers geo-restrictions, online censorship in certain regions, and unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots. Therefore, the VPN software guarantees your network traffic is fully encrypted using single-click apps, automatic Wi-Fi security, and cloud management portal, among others. The service, which is available for an extensive array of devices such as Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and Chromebook, also has a single-click web management console.

Devices Supported

  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Android
  • iPhone/iPad
  • Mac
  • Web-based

Easy Pricing Plans

Apart from their simple solutions, Perimeter 81 also offers simple and candid pricing options that users can choose from based on their needs. Their plans are scalable to match your demanding needs. Users can simply choose from solutions for SMBs and companies.

The Business Plan of Perimeter 81 costs $8/team member plus $40/month per dedicated gateway. Rather dubiously, “24/7 spontaneous support” is mentioned as being always available, while it is actually available with a 24-hour long email support window. An Enterprise plan is also available with bulk discounts, an advanced activity API, and “24/7 VIP support” (instant assistance, with 1-hour email support). 

Reliability & Support 

You simply can’t get lost with Perimeter 81. First off, self-assistance is still sailing, as the website is very informational and has a complete guide section. In these guides, you can find out answers and solutions to all your questions and worries and you can also benefit from troubleshooting steps for specific technical issues.

If you fancy human interaction, there’s a customer support team accessible around the clock that you can reach via email or by submitting a ticket. We contacted them and got a swift, professional response with answers to our questions within just a few hours. 

Dedicated support is also available 24/7 for corporate clients. They also went the extra mile by helping us choose the most fitting subscription. We should note, however, that although it’s stated on the website that there’s a live chat support channel available, we couldn’t find it.

Enterprise Security with Full Versatility

Large enterprises regularly face the challenge of managing larger volumes of teams and departments that need different network access. Some problems generally faced by this type of infrastructure are DDOS attacks, limited basic firewalling, costly in-office VPN concentrator, and unscalable ad-hoc solutions. Perimeter 81 solves these challenges with innovative cybersecurity solutions that are simple and quick to set up. Its SDP aka ‘Software-Defined Perimeter’ architecture is an extensive management platform that leverages security when accessing applications,  private cloud networks, data centers, SaaS apps, and the entire Internet. It supports OpenVPN, PPTP security protocols, IKEv2, and L2TP that keep the clients at peace with 24/7 high-end security.

This enterprise solution shoulders at least 5 to more than 100 devices. That’s not all, you can even further up its number according to the size of your enterprise. It has over 700 servers in more than 35 locations which bestow users with above-average speeds when using the service. Another feature that sets this provider aloof from others is its strict no-logging policy that ensures your information isn’t saved in their system.

Ease of use

At the center of Perimeter 81 is the web portal that lets you manage team members, servers, and permissions. It also allows you to observe your team’s engagement with the VPN platform. The tab named ‘Team’ shows you all team members. Here, you can invite new members and see when team members last logged on. Moreover, you can designate them “roles” within your company, each of which allows team members to have different types of permissions.

Administrators can create groups, designating which team members can access which private servers. Since each private server can be configured to access a variety of resources, this provides administrators with a high level of specificity when picking which team members can access which resources. 

Without a doubt, the coolest feature of the service is the ability to create on-the-fly private VPN servers. These are software VPN servers that run on virtual machines (VPS instances). The VPS hosting provider used depends somewhat on where the private server is located, but we found that many were hosted by Digital Ocean.

Creating new servers is remarkably easy. Many servers can be created in the same location, or in various locations around the world. Right now it is possible to create private servers in various US locations, Toronto, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, Singapore, Bangalore, Paris, Sydney, and Tokyo.

If you need another server, it only takes a minute or two to purchase a new license. As already remarked, you can remove one server and create another on the same license. Once a server has been created, it takes about ten minutes to become active.

Private servers can serve as secure gateways to corporate resources. Instructions are given for connecting to LAN resources through a firewall, in addition to various private cloud resources such as Amazon Cloud Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Heroku Private Spaces.

For example, AWS and CGP can be accessed by whitelisting incoming connections from the private server or setting up IPSec Site-to-Site VPN from those cloud services to Perimeter 81.

Perimeter 81 tells us that it is working on injecting Wizards to make the setup process for various services easier.

Customer Service

There is vast documentation on the website, including examples of how Perimeter 81 can be beneficial for various kinds of businesses. Customer support can be reached via a Live Chat client, but the response is ‘email only’. This is confusing given that although described as “instant 24/7 support”, an email response is only guaranteed within one day for regular Small Business customers. In use with our trial account, we received email replies from anywhere within an hour to a whole day. We are satisfied to say the quality of the responses was high. 

Protocols and Encryption

IKEv2 

OpenVPN 

PPTP 

L2TP/IPsec 

Perimeter 81 practices the following OpenVPN encryptions:

Data channel: AES-256 cipher with SHA256 hash authentication.

Control channel: AES-256 cipher with RSA-2048 TLS handshake encryption and SHA-256 authentication. Perfect forward secrecy (PFS) is permitted courtesy of DH-4096 Diffie-Hellman key exchange

These settings are highly reliable and meet or exceed our minimum recommendations.

Perimeter 81 also:

  • Gives much more flexible access to a broad range of less traditional network resources – such as cloud networks and IoT resources.
  • It can be dynamically scaled with on-the-fly creation of private VPN server gateways, each with its own static IP address.
  • Allows administrators to allow granular access permissions on a need-to-know basis. Multiple user groups with team permissions can be controlled from an easy-to-use centralized management portal.
  • Allows administrators to keep an eye on network activity like bandwidth usage, monitor which resources are used, and to troubleshoot anomalies and problems with the network.
  • It provides user-friendly apps on major platforms like macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. These apps include a kill switch.
  • Offers computerized WiFi protection when using unknown or unsecured WiFi networks.
  • Authorizes the use of two-factor authentication for additional security.
  • Blends with identity providers for improved user authentication. Supported providers include Google Suite, Okta, OneLogin, and Microsoft Azure Active Directory. Perimeter 81 can also own the company’s On-Premises Active Directory through your network’s Active Directory/LDAP Connector.

How To Set up Perimeter 81

Since Perimeter 81 is particularly designed for business use, the app is more management-oriented than the average VPN providers. Setting it up and making it ready to use is very straightforward. You just have to follow the following simple steps:

Step 1

After creating an account, you’ll find that your account page is well organized and has multiple management options including team view, network view, and an activity view. You can create new groups and add particular server locations of your need and choice.

Step 2

To kick start, you simply need to invite your team, create user groups, and install the apps. The installation process itself is a cakewalk. To download the app on any platform, just click the download link given on the website’s download section. 

Step 3

Afterward, you should just follow the wizard to finish your installation. The app’s interface is quite sleek,  user-friendly. intuitive, and customizable too.

Step 4  

You don’t need any IT background to work your way through it. Just choose the VPN location (organization or public) by clicking on the relevant icon next to the green ‘Connect’ button and then click “Connect.” 

There are also kill switch and automatic WiFi protection options that raise your network security when enabled, along with the option to choose between different protocols.

If you get lost or miss something, Perimeter 81 VPN provides a detailed guide section on the website with step-by-step user manuals on everything. From how to properly get the VPN working to the very trivial tweaks that help your network run as smoothly as possible.

Concluding Thoughts

Broadly conversing, we think that Perimeter 81 is an impressive product that is well executed. Small to medium businesses (SMBs), especially, will appreciate the ability to deploy a corporate VPN network without high costs in terms of both hardware and skilled staff traditionally associated with a setup like this.

The management console provides easy and granular control over the actions and permissions of a team, and the client software works great and is easy for team members to use.

The strength to create on-the-fly VPN servers, each with their own permissions, and then assign team members to them in a flexible way, is a revelation. This versatility, though, does come at a price. Therefore, what we ought to expect is that software VPS instances hosted on physical services on a shared basis, unfortunately, cannot offer amazing speed performances. 

The IPv6 leaks we saw on all servers (including the public servers used by the SaferVPN network) are a concern, although IPv6 connectivity can be manually disabled on devices.

So, we can certainly say that this product is worth a try especially for corporate use.