NordLayer features in review: VPN split tunneling

NordLayer VPN split tunneling

Maintaining secure network connections is paramount when our lives merge with technology. However, striking an optimal balance between security and performance remains a complex task, especially in our fast-paced business environments.

At NordLayer, we understand this complexity, which is why we're excited to introduce our VPN split tunneling feature—a cutting-edge solution that empowers organizations with granular control over their network traffic.

Split tunneling allows you to specify which traffic should traverse the secure VPN tunnel and which can access the internet directly. By "splitting" the traffic based on user-defined rules, you can tailor your network security approach to meet your organization's unique needs.

Our VPN split tunneling functionality offers a tailored approach to traffic management, enabling you to selectively encrypt and route specific data streams while maintaining optimal speeds for non-sensitive traffic. This innovative feature provides a fresh approach to network security, paving the way for enhanced productivity, flexibility, and peace of mind.

How does VPN split tunneling work?

Traditional VPN connections route all internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel, providing robust security but potentially impacting performance for certain applications or services. VPN split tunneling breaks free from this one-size-fits-all approach by enabling you to specify which traffic should traverse the secure VPN tunnel and which can access the internet directly.

How NordLayer VPN split tunneling works

The process is remarkably straightforward: IT administrators define rules based on IP addresses, subnets, domain names, or even specific applications. By tailoring the rules to the organization's needs, they can determine which network resources require the added protection of encrypted tunneling. This granular control ensures that mission-critical data associated with specific applications remains secure while other traffic, such as regular web browsing, flows uninterrupted. This optimization of network performance reduces potential bottlenecks, enhancing the user’s experience.

VPN split tunneling with NordLayer

At NordLayer, we've made it our mission to simplify the implementation of advanced networking solutions. Our VPN split tunneling feature easily integrates with our existing suite of products, providing a seamless and user-friendly experience.

To harness the power of VPN split tunneling, simply navigate to the “Network” section of the NordLayer Control Panel, select the desired server, and configure the split tunneling settings. Here, you can input the specific IP addresses or subnets you wish to route through our secure VPN servers, ensuring that only designated traffic utilizes the encrypted tunnel.

You also have the option to enable URL-based split tunneling directly from the Control Panel. Go to “Settings” and choose “Browser Extension Settings” to add specific domains you want to exclude from the encrypted VPN tunnel. This allows certain internet traffic to bypass encryption for optimized performance while maintaining security for other resources.

With our Core and Premium subscription plans, you gain access to this feature, unlocking new realms of network control and optimization. Premium subscribers can further leverage the Site-to-Site and Cloud Firewall capability, allowing secure access to private network subnets through the NordLayer gateway.

Differences between URL-based and IP-based split tunneling

While VPN split tunneling is not a novel concept, NordLayer's implementation stands apart, offering a flexible split tunneling solution with both URL-based and IP-based filtering options. This dual approach addresses the needs of modern organizations by allowing customized network security configurations.

URL-based split tunneling vs IP-based split tunneling

URL-based split tunneling

URL-based split tunneling for the Browser Extension allows you to create exceptions by excluding specific domains from the encrypted VPN tunnel. This method is ideal for scenarios where you want to bypass VPN encryption for certain domains to optimize the internet performance while keeping the security for organizational resources.

IP-based split tunneling

On the other hand, IP-based split tunneling, our newly released feature for desktop and mobile apps, takes a more targeted approach. Instead of excluding domains, it allows you to include specific IP addresses or subnets for encryption through the NordLayer VPN tunnel. It provides less sensitive web browsing traffic to bypass encryption while keeping the protective layer on through the use of NordLayer’s Secure Internet Access features, such as DNS Filtering by Category and ThreatBlock. 

This granular control enables you to pinpoint the exact network resources that require the heightened security of encrypted tunneling, while all other traffic traverses the internet directly. 

Together, these two methods create NordLayer's comprehensive VPN split tunneling feature, providing unprecedented flexibility in tailoring your organization's network security posture. By combining URL-based and IP-based split tunneling, NordLayer enables you to customize your network security posture according to your organization's specific needs and use cases.

Benefits of VPN split tunneling

The advantages of implementing NordLayer's VPN split tunneling are multifaceted, catering to the diverse needs of IT administrators, end-users, and the organization as a whole.

  • Selective encryption for resource access: By encrypting only the traffic destined for specific resources, IT administrators maintain optimal performance for non-sensitive data streams, ensuring critical resources remain secure

  • Increased flexibility for network access security: IT admins can choose whom to grant access to specific resources

  • Better VPN and internet performance: VPN split tunneling helps when users experience latency or disruptions by optimizing traffic flows

  • Optimized bandwidth usage: Some traffic bypasses the corporate network, reducing VPN congestion and improving overall performance

  • Enabling access to restricted sites: Certain websites like financial services or government portals may block VPN connections, but VPN split tunneling allows making exceptions while keeping other traffic secure

For IT administrators

Enhanced control over network traffic allows tailored routing policies based on organizational priorities. Additionally, streamlined management from the Control Panel provides the flexibility to configure the feature to suit the organization's unique requirements.

For end-users

Improved productivity stems from encrypting only selected sensitive traffic, reducing potential latency and performance bottlenecks. VPN split tunneling also increases flexibility and freedom to access organizational resources or specific domains or applications without compromising speed or user experience.

For organizations

Optimized network efficiency results from selectively routing traffic through the VPN tunnel, reducing congestion and optimizing bandwidth usage. Furthermore, elevated security and risk mitigation are attained by directing critical internal systems through a VPN while allowing web browsing traffic to bypass encryption.

Should you use NordLayer's VPN split tunneling?

The answer to this question lies in your organization's specific needs and priorities. If you're seeking a solution that strikes the perfect balance between robust security measures and uninterrupted performance, NordLayer's VPN split tunneling is an invaluable asset.

This feature is particularly beneficial for organizations with remote or hybrid workforces, where employees require seamless access to both corporate resources and the open internet. By selectively encrypting traffic to internal systems and applications, you can maintain a high level of security without sacrificing productivity or user experience.

Additionally, VPN split tunneling can be a game-changer for businesses operating in regulated industries or those with strict compliance requirements. By granularly controlling the flow of sensitive data, you can ensure adherence to industry-specific regulations while optimizing network performance.

Take control of your network traffic with NordLayer

In the realm of cybersecurity, where threats evolve and network demands surge, mastering the delicate balance between security and performance becomes paramount. NordLayer's VPN split tunneling feature empowers organizations to take control of their network traffic, ensuring sensitive data remains secure while maintaining optimal speeds for non-sensitive activities.

Embrace the power of VPN split tunneling and experience a new level of network control, flexibility, and peace of mind. Don't settle for compromise—choose NordLayer's VPN split tunneling to level up your network security and performance. Reach out to our team and discover how this innovative solution can transform the way you approach network management.

Together, let's redefine what's possible in the world of secure networking.

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