Microsoft VPN Client for Windows comes like an embedded feature of the operating system and Windows Server, which is its strength and weakness. Windows users will find it easy to set up, while other OS users will find it unavailable. But one important thing to remember is that this client can be used with other VPN services that don’t have their own client or their client doesn’t support a protocol that Microsoft VPN does.
So if you’re OK with having a Windows-only network, continue reading our Microsoft VPN Client for Windows review.
Let’s face it, Microsoft’s name was never a synonym for security. Being the most popular OS in the world, and thus the biggest target for hackers, doesn’t help either. The company has long been using Linux to run many of its servers, so the question is whether Microsoft VPN Client for Windows safe enough to use for your network?
Microsoft VPN Client supports major protocols:
- L2TP/IPSec with certificate or pre-shared key
Let’s also add that starting from Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft offered DirectAccess that uses IPSec to make remote connections secure without a VPN. That’s a nice bonus that comes for free.
Unfortunately, the IKEv2/IPSec protocol is lacking, which provides a good combination of security without sacrificing much of your connection’s speed. This also probably has to do with the fact that IKEv2/IPSec is a joint creation of Microsoft and Cisco.
In contrast, SSTP is a Microsoft’s child, but it can’t be audited independently, raising suspicions about the backdoors being left to pry on your traffic.
What’s more, the earlier your Windows version, the less secure protocols, such as PPTP, will be available for you. Therefore you’ll need Windows 10 to ensure maximum safety.
When it comes to using LT2P/IPSec, you’ll need to use a certificate authority to generate one unless you want to see error messages every time it’s used. As for the pre-shared key, you won’t have this hassle but also won’t have the same degree of security.
Other security features
This VPN also supports USB tokens that can be used to authorize access. Configuration setting can also be passed this way easily if the administrator knows user’s version of Windows.
Nothing good can be said in this part of Microsoft VPN Client review. The company is in the US, a core member of 5 Eyes alliance. What’s more, it has a history of cooperating with the government. Let’s not forget about letting the NSA circumvent the encryption on Outlook.com portal or helping it access the contents of SkyDrive (now OneDrive) cloud service.
If you think that you’re not working on anything that would catch US intelligence interest, feel free to continue reading our review. If not, please check some of the other VPNs for B2B which rate higher in terms of privacy.
Just like with the rest of the best Business VPNs, Microsoft VPN Client provides excellent performance. It won’t be significantly limited, with data transfer rates not slipping below 90% in most cases. As for the RAM and CPU usage, these will also stay low.
We can conclude that Microsoft VPN Client for Windows won’t slow down your network and performance shouldn’t be a decisive factor when choosing a service in this case.
Features, installation, and deployment
The installation part of this VPN is already covered by Windows – now you only have to set it up. Doing that is pretty easy:
- Hit your Windows keyboard button
- Enter VPN
- Choose Add VPN connection
After that it’s just a few drop-downs with server and protocol selection, finishing with sign-in info.
But the best part is that all configuration settings can be saved in a file and sent to the user by mail. There’s also a possibility to configure Microsoft VPN via USB token and do a Silent installation. The worst part is for the administrator who will have to prepare everything manually.
That can be done using one of Microsoft’s management tools, such as Active Directory’s Group Policy or Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). The latter can be used to deploy other VPNs on non-Windows systems. But if your organization is not into SCCM, finding a management tool that suits Microsoft VPN will take some time.
Plans and pricing
Being incorporated in Windows OS, Microsoft VPN Client cost as much as the Windows license. Windows 10 Pro is available at Microsoft website for $199. If you already have Windows, this VPN becomes one of the cheapest solutions one can get, rivaled only by open-source OpenVPN.
You can expect less need for the customer support as Microsoft VPN Client comes already installed in the OS. And should you have any questions managing your network, Microsoft’s TechNet knowledge base is your best bet. Just don’t forget that some issues can be related to a specific Windows version, which should be your starting point when troubleshooting.
You can always talk to Windows Virtual Assistant and if that doesn’t help – speak to a real person via 24/7 live chat.
A great starting point for a small business that uses only Windows OS and doesn’t want to spend extra on its VPN network yet
Pros: Free, Easy to install and deploy, Low CPU overhead and memory usage
Cons: Windows-only, Differs with each Windows iteration, A likely target for hackers
Bottom line: A great starting point for a small business that uses only Windows OS and doesn’t want to spend extra on its VPN network yet