NordLayer vs. NordVPN: how are they different?

Nordlayer vs NordVPN

Increasing digitalization is a global phenomenon that touches all spheres of modern life. However, this is also a catalyst for cyber criminals threatening businesses and individuals. It incentivizes them to look for vulnerabilities in your devices and networks, making cybersecurity a priority for businesses.

However, many cybersecurity tools can also be very confusing. It’s not always clear what does what, especially when the same company offers a broad range of cybersecurity products. Case in point, Nord Security is a parent company of both NordLayer and NordVPN. While they may seem very similar from the outset, they offer very different functionalities. Here’s an overview of how the two services are different and alike.

What is NordLayer?

Before there was NordLayer, there was a NordVPN spin-off — NordVPN Teams. It was a business Virtual Private Network service catered for organizations rather than individuals. Introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the service had a dashboard for network administrators, allowed transferable licenses, and had centralized billing. This distinguished the service from other consumer-based VPNs.

Over time, NordVPN teams greatly expanded their feature suite to the point that calling it solely a business VPN was misleading. This called for a rebranding to reflect changing mission and vision. In 2021, NordVPN Teams completely changed its branding, introducing a new name — NordLayer.

The focus area changed significantly, as well. NordLayer moved towards the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) framework with an emphasis on Secure Service Edge (SSE) capabilities.

As a blueprint for a future-focused cybersecurity suite, SSE combines various technologies. NordLayer relies on network security solutions like FWaaS, SWG, and ZTNA into a single, cloud-native service. The goal is to provide advanced cybersecurity in the most accessible and organization-friendly way possible.

What is NordLayer used for?

NordLayer is primarily used by businesses aiming to improve their agility and capacity when responding to various cybersecurity risks. Hence its most popular use cases include:

  • Enable secure remote access for hybrid work. After the pandemic, the employee’s needs shifted, pushing network administrators to look for ways to ensure secure access to internal company resources. NordLayer can be a facilitator in establishing a secure tunnel into your company’s data.

  • Secure employee internet access. When using company resources, employees can unknowingly click on suspicious links endangering the organization. NordLayer applies various filters to limit the malicious links that your distributed workforces could access.

  • Enabling bring your own device policies. For companies that allow users to connect their devices, it can be hard to establish a baseline that would be easy to set up for the users. As NordLayer only requires installing an app, this is something that can save network administrators a great deal of pain.

  • Helps to pursue regulatory compliance. Some industries are heavily regulated, especially when it comes to sensitive user data. NordLayer brings a lot of functionalities that can contribute to the cybersecurity environment, helping you to reach regulatory compliance certification.

  • Productivity improvements. NordLayer improves management productivity with single invoicing, centralized policy enforcement, and user provisioning.

NordLayer Control Panel banner

What is NordVPN?

In contrast, NordVPN is fully targeted at the consumer market. The service operates large-scale, globally distributed anonymity networks accessible for a subscription fee. After logging in to the service, the users are greeted with a map of various countries and servers and can hop around the world, changing their IP and location with a click of a button.

Some users are looking to increase their cybersecurity by using an encrypted connection. Meanwhile, others use it simply for streaming or bypassing censorship. It’s a simple everyday cybersecurity addition that seamlessly integrates within your daily internet usage.

What is NordVPN used for?

NordVPN is mainly used for various consumer-oriented use cases. It’s really intended to be a home user’s product. Here are some of its main use cases:

  • Secure internet access. VPN encrypts your connection, making it indecipherable to your Internet Service Providers or hackers. You’re also not leaving breadcrumbs around that could be used to identify you.

  • Public wifi security. Connecting to public wifi is always a gamble. You can never be 100% certain about what’s also on the network. It’s a perfect opportunity for hackers to intercept your connection by secretly stealing your data. VPN connection encryption helps to prevent such attempts.

  • Taking advantage of better deals. Some regions are blessed with frequent discounts and sales, others — not so much. A VPN helps you to virtually change your location so that you can also find better deals that are region-locked.

  • Contributes to your anonymity. VPN services don’t collect usage data that goes through their servers. This makes it possible to keep your online activities private.

  • Circumvent censorship. If you’re living in a country where the government has a tight grip on free speech, a VPN helps to rip a few holes in the net. As VPN traffic is encrypted, it’s much harder to control, allowing you to have an open window into the free press.

Is NordLayer the same as NordVPN?

While having a lot of overlaps and similarities and being developed by the same parent NordSecurity company, NordLayer and NordVPN are hugely different services.

NordLayer — a business product offering network access security. It’s managed by your organization’s network administrators to set up secure remote access to work resources via dedicated servers and IP whitelisting.

NordVPN — a consumer VPN service provider that helps users to change their location and IP address by connecting to their server fleet. It’s an anonymity and cybersecurity tool intended for home users.

As you can see, both services deal with cybersecurity, but there are different accents. NordLayer focuses on business network cybersecurity, while NordVPN enhances users’ internet experience and makes it safer. Their functions are entirely different.

Main differences between NordLayer and NordVPN

Let’s look at their features to put both services’ differences in perspective.

Nordlayer vs NordVPN features comparison Table new

This should help you distinguish them much better, as there are many overlaps between the services. This can be explained by the fact that NordLayer was initially a spin-off of NordVPN. Yet, there are still overlaps like DNS filtering, plus you can buy dedicated servers from both service providers. Though, in NordVPN’s case, nothing really can be customized.


As data breaches are becoming more frequent, there’s a growing interest in cybersecurity tools for businesses and individuals. For newcomers, all of this can seem very daunting. Such is the case between cybersecurity tools targeted at businesses like NordLayer, and consumer tools like NordVPN.

While NordLayer aims to protect its client’s workforces and business data, NordVPN focuses more on anonymity and internet flexibility. NordLayer integrates some NordVPN-like features, like Virtual Shared Gateways, that function similarly to their consumer product. This isn’t the main focus of the service. In contrast, NordVPN has much more dedicated features to bypass censorship or protect your identity.

NordLayer vs. NordVPN comparison shows that both services bring different aspects of cybersecurity adapted for different use cases. NordLayer is a SaaS provider focusing on network access control and multiple accounts security, while NordVPN is an anonymity service for individual users.

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