Pulse Secure VPN review

Ethan Payne
Ethan Payne | Writer
Last updated: July 4, 2022
Pulse Secure VPN review
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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.

Privacy concerns

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[…].”

Since Pulse Connect Secure VPN is mostly used by enterprise employees or university students to access apps and work-related data, we aren’t really concerned about the US jurisdiction and the Privacy Policy. If you’re a Pulse VPN user, just stay on the legal side of the law, and you should fear not.

On the other hand, if you want a reliable VPN from a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, consider checking out NordLayer.

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. In case you’re looking for a personal VPN for changing IP and encrypting your traffic, we recommend our #1 service – NordVPN.

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

Then, you can click Continue again. Now, you’ll have to accept the Privacy Policy on the next page. Only then will you get an email with all the necessary download links, including a Virtual Machine (e.g., VMWare, KVM, and Azure). You’ll need these to be able to set up the whole Pulse Connect Secure environment.

Customer support

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.

Bottom line

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.

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  1. Paul spencer

    I use Pulse secure professionally. Never in my time have I witnessed such a bloody awful user experience in my entire professional life. It’s Truly fucking awful.

  2. Matthew H Iskra

    I must be honest here. I have to use a wide array of VPNs as each of my clients has their own particular one they use. The Pulse VPN is used by only one, and it has been the worst VPN. Connection drops are the highest of any VPN I use. The Pulse Security Application Launcher routinely fails. The Host Checker is slow and is reinvoke after every failed connection, making a simple reconnect take 5 to 10 minutes each time a connection is dropped. Often the Application Launcher doesn’t detect itself and forces another reinstall. Perhaps it is an improper setup by the client, but at this point I cannot assure the client of timely responses to any problem they have due to their use of the terrible VPN,
    YMMV, but I have grown to hate this VPN.
    The one I like? Cisco AnyConnect. It just works every time and is used by the majority of my clients.

  3. Jeff

    I agree with Jacob Agar. Pulse Secure frequently drops connection, so how secure is that? Plus, it does not work well with NordVPN, which I have been using for a long time and been satisfied with for its stability.

  4. Jacob Agar

    Good start but too unstable and unreliable for me. I get an “Untrusted Certificate” error far too often, even when I’m able to connect to the same server from the desktop version. Also, I think the Support could be more responsive.

  5. Indumathi

    ExpressVPN is still the best, at least for me. I am happy with it so far. No complaints. Considering the fact that pulse secure is not good for Netflix would probably reduce the target market

  6. 77kln

    I wonder if Pulse is still better than the top VPNs out there even when it comes to those specific things you talked about. I would still prefer NordVPN or ExpressVPN over this one no matter what my requirements were.

  7. Erminio Genovesi

    Pulse Connect sounds like a good VPN for very specific situations (such as the ones mentioned like giving university students access for applications, etc.). I doubt if I’d use it for my personal needs but I have one for that right now. Nothing wrong with using Pulse Connect as long as you know it’s not the same as something like NordVPN.

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