Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce you to a market leader online security solution for enterprises: Pulse Secure VPN. The company (Pulse Secure, LLC) behind this VPN and other related solutions is located in San Jose, California. This means US jurisdiction and Five Eyes surveillance. However, this time, it doesn’t really matter.
Pulse has an impressive background in this field with “15 years of innovation and refinement” and a portfolio of several products. If your enterprise or university needs next-generation secure access, Pulse Secure VPN may be a good candidate.
In fact, 20,000 enterprises and 80% of Fortune 500 companies have already decided to protect corporate resources with this VPN.
What is it good for
Pulse Connect Secure is indeed a leading SSL VPN solution for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) mobility. BYOD has become huge in recent years since most companies now allow their employees and third parties to use their own devices to access their data centers or Cloud for work. Therefore, protecting corporate data has also become vital, and this is when Pulse Connect Secure comes into play.
This SSL VPN uses the Secure Sockets Layer protocol or, rather, its successor, Transport Layer Security (TLS) for secure, remote access with end-to-end encryption. In other words, no prying eyes like cybercriminals can eavesdrop on your online activities.
With Pulse Secure VPN, you can access corporate resources from anywhere with any online device (smartphone, laptop, or tablet). This cybersecurity solution has support for VMware, KVM, and Hyper-V hypervisors as well as Cloud deployments like Azure and AWS.
Security and privacy
Since Pulse Secure VPN is a flagship security product used by over twenty thousand major enterprises, it has to be safe. However, apart from the secure and encrypted SSL VPN tunnel, there are other factors to consider.
On April 20, 2021, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced that this VPN has serious vulnerabilities. They allow the attacker to gain system access and control the enterprise network. CISA recommends scanning computers and other devices with the Pulse Secure Integrity Tool to find out whether some of them have been exploited. Hopefully, the provider will patch its service soon.
When we usually talk about online privacy and anonymity in the same sentence with VPNs, we want your personal data nowhere near the providers.
Pulse Secure VPN may collect personal information.
From this angle, we don’t like the amount of personal data Pulse Secure knows about its users. Apart from your full name, email address, and job position, Pulse Secure may also collect information about your connection, connected appliances, firmware, software, and the use of its products.
If it weren’t a trustworthy and renowned company, the fact that they “may have access to personal information, but does not collect it” would probably freak us out. Because your (personal) information is retained as long as your account is active, for one. And “in certain situations, Pulse Secure may be required to disclose personal data in response to lawful requests by public authorities[…].”
How to download and install it
Since Pulse Secure VPN requires a special environment (virtual machine) to run, the full package installation is only recommended for system administrators. Once the whole server version is running, the individual employees will have access to download their client as per the instructions and credentials coming from the enterprise admins or the university.
To download the full server package, you need to visit the official website and go to the Products menu. Now, choose Pulse Connect Secure VPN from under Remote Access VPN. Next, click on the Download button.
After redirecting to the download page, you’ll have to enter your full name and your business email address. Click Continue. Before you’d think you’ll download this VPN that easily, the next page will probably “shock” you.
Here, you’ll need to provide all kinds of other details:
- Your role at the company
- Phone number
- Company name
- Company size
- Full address, including country
First of all, you can reach the Pulse Secure support team over the phone 24/7/365. Apart from the local phone numbers for several countries and email contact information, you’ll also find a good knowledge base and guides on the website.
However, if you need premium support, Pulse Secure offers Platinum Support and Gold Support, which offer somewhat different services and quality.
The Pulse Connect Secure VPN is not your common VPN service. It was designed for enterprises and universities to let employees and students access applications and databases remotely. The Pulse Secure client is easy to use and should keep your online communications secure and private while connecting to your company servers.
However, if you’re looking for the best enterprise VPN service you could use for your private needs (Netflix streaming, online gaming, geo-unblocking, or anonymity), you may want to look elsewhere.
Ethan is a security researcher and digital privacy advocate. He spends his time unraveling various anonymity and security tools, plus contributing to open-source projects. Otherwise, he keeps a low profile by hiking or cycling around the countryside.