Perimeter 81 is a business-oriented VPN from the same company and team as SaferVPN. It’s designed to offer cloud-based VPN to small business in a scalable, manageable way, and an onsite enterprise option is also available.
Perimeter 81 is a great choice for a small to medium size business that’s hoping to expand. Designed to be scalable, it doesn’t have the device-per-subscription restrictions of a typical consumer VPN. Instead it’s designed to offer a software-based solution to the security problems distributed businesses face, based on VPN technology but with additional features and a business-oriented control dashboard. The emphasis is on security for the organization rather than privacy for the individual, and a simple per-seat pricing system means it scales with its customers.
Reviews are positive, and that’s borne out by our experience. It’s fast, secure, private and easy to use, with great support.
Using Perimeter 81
Perimeter 81 is as simple to use as a consumer VPN, for the most part. But unlike a consumer VPN, it has two types of users: team members and administrators. End users have access to a one-click VPN client whose parameters are set up by admins. Administrators, by contrast, have access to a dashboard showing them usage and other stats, and letting them configure user accounts.
Perimeter 81 tests well for speed. Connection speed is good, there are no bandwidth limits and the service comes out above-average for speed, with dedicated streaming servers in Europe and North America leading the field.
Taking a cue from apps like Slack, Perimeter 81 uses a Workspace as its central dashboard. Log in here and you can manage users, VPN servers and more. You can download the native apps for Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android, manage settings like turning Automatic WiFi Security on and off.
For team members, the user interface is a lot simpler: a one-click sign-in with settings controlled by administrators, and which can be configured to be always-on, launch at startup or launch when the user connects to an unsecured wifi network.
Perimeter 81 leaves administrators with significant control over every aspect of how the product functions. That includes setting up and managing user accounts, rejecting users from the service, and controlling settings like credentials required at sign-in.
Administrators can invite new users and buy additional user licenses directly from the dashboard. When team members are invited, they automatically receive a download link for the Perimeter 81 client app.
User roles and groups
Administrators can define roles for new users. There are four user role types:
Owners can modify permission settings and assign roles to other team members.
Managers can add and delete team members and view network activity.
Billing administrators can adjust billing information and update payment methods.
Users can access the apps and app download screen.
Groups allow administrators to assign access to specific resources to entire groups at once — sales and product development might need access to different resources, for instance.
Team members can have their role definitions altered direct from the dashboard, in a drop-down menu accessed by hovering over the three dots next to their name in the dashboard.
Setting up Perimeter 81
Perimeter 81’s setup flow is simple and you don’t have to be a paying customer to set up a workspace. All you need to sign up is an email and a password — though be aware, they are very strict about password quality, and in a rare UX slip-up, there’s nothing to let you know your password’s too weak apart from a generic ‘make sure your password’s strong’ reminder.
Once a workspace has been set up, Perimeter 81 is at your fingertips — you can buy new user seats, control user accounts and alter settings.
Cloud management platform
The workspace is independent of device and location, giving you full administrator control wherever you are.
- Dedicated gateways
- Shared gateways in 35 locations
- Fast and easy gateway deployment
- User and role management
- Activity audits & reports: Administrators can see reports on user activity and audit user accounts, groups and activities.
- Easy-to-use apps: Perimeter 81 comes with one-click apps for major platforms, so users don’t need to be skilled to use it and it doesn’t eat into productivity.
- Automatic Wi-Fi Security: Automatically turns on VPN when connecting to an unsecured wifi network: handy to automate security if your team frequently travels, for instance.
- Single Sign-On capabilities: Access multiple tools through a single sign-on.
- Two-Factor Authentication for improved security
- Unlimited data usage
- 24/7 support: Perimeter 81 users can access support tickets right in the dashboard.
Perimeter 81 is priced per seat, at $8/mo if you pay yearly or $10/mo if you pay monthly.
Enterprise pricing is on a custom basis.
Security and privacy
Perimeter 81 collects some usage statistics, and displays some of these to administrators to enable them to optimize it for their business needs. As such, Perimeter 81 isn’t as private for individual users as a top-flight consumer VPN.
‘We collect minimal usage statistics to maintain our quality of service. To protect your business and provide the business owner with valuable audit and monitoring data,’ the company also records administrator and team member actions.
All administrator actions are recorded, including inviting and deleting team members, changing team permissions, creating new cloud-based access gateways and all other management portal actions.
For team members, Perimeter 81 records connection and login timestamps, login successes and errors, device location at connection, hostnames of connected team member devices, which server the team member connects to and the timestamps of those connections. When team members access private access gateways, Perimeter 81 records origin IP addresses, but this is not done for public locations.
Payment data is also recorded.
For security, Perimeter 81 is top of the line. Its AES 256-bit encryption is effectively unbreakable, and it independently manages encryption keys and practices Perfect Forward Secrecy, rotating encryption keys every 60 minutes.
Perimeter 81 has a good reputation for tech support. Customer support via Zendesk is available from a button in the dashboard. We found they were very quick to respond: a message to the support team via the Zendesk tab on our dummy administrator dashboard got a response from a named rep within ten minutes and a boilerplate acknowledgement within minutes. That support team ticket system is backed by extensive documentation.