The internet is the backbone of today’s businesses. No matter the scale, every corporation tends to the net for providing better services. Even if they can’t use the web as a service, they include the internet in their backend or support team. Thus, the internet and networking are an integral part of any management. However, this is a double-edged sword, as the vulnerabilities are highly relevant to a company. As such, many vendors offer digital security, as you’ll see in our Cisco AnyConnect VPN review.
Cisco is undoubtedly one such name that comes to mind when online security is concerned. The company has been in the VPN business for as long as this technology has existed. Hence, it’s no surprise it offers the new and improved AnyConnect VPN to facilitate cybersecurity and remote working.
What is a corporate VPN?
Corporate VPNs are multidimensional, unlike individual VPNs that cater to a specific network, device, or user. They are not only a service, but those who employ such VPNs also need them as networks. As a result, corporate VPNs protect the network and create a new one after combining different remote networks into a central entity. It aims to facilitate remote working. It means that it has to connect different remote workplaces and workforces under the central management to increase the efficiency of the job.
VPNs (virtual private networks) are essential to a business. Combining different networks also helps the administration with monitoring and control. Furthermore, it also provides security to the network, since it oversees the transfer of data and encrypts the traffic. There are numerous implementations of a corporate VPN, such as site-to-site VPNs or remote access VPNs. Both are necessary and contribute to the firm.
Cisco AnyConnect VPN overview
Cisco AnyConnect is a VPN client that provides endpoint security to the remote workforce. The client uses multifactor authentication to establish an encrypted tunnel to help businesses ply the treacherous internet. Cisco has taken extra effort to tailor the client to the needs of corporations in particular. The encryption and security protocols are state-of-the-art, allowing companies to increase their remote workforce without fearing cyber threats common to the public domain. The client also allows the businesses to monitor endpoint behavior and use it to improve internal security.
Also, Cisco AnyConnect can prevent non-compliance devices from gaining access or even establishing a connection. Cisco has made it with a motive to defer all the common drawbacks relevant to a VPN. Thus, it can, to some extent, prevent such scenarios.
For example, the client shields the device even when the VPN is disconnected. The product is available in different ranges and has the following features:
- API (Application Programming Interface) support
- Multifactor authentication
- Mobile workforce control and monitoring
- Multi-country/language/location support
- Policy management
- Remote access and control
- Access to statistics
- Works with SSL
- Web Inspection
- Endpoint compliance
- Off network protection/DNS layer security
- Basic and advanced VPN
Here is a tabular overview of the Cisco AnyConnect VPN –
|Release Year||Initially released in 2004|
|Encryption||Varies based on configuration|
|Authentication||Supports various authentication methods|
|Logging Policy||Logs can be configured by administrators|
|Split Tunneling||Available with administrative control|
|Endpoint Security||Offers advanced security features|
|Multi-Factor Auth||Supported for enhanced login security|
|Client Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android|
|Network Visibility||Provides insights into connected devices and users|
|Device Compliance||Ensures devices meet security requirements|
|Client Updates||Can be managed by administrators|
|Deployment||Can be cloud-hosted or on-premises|
|Customer Support||Cisco support services|
|Price||Enterprise solution, pricing varies|
Features of Cisco AnyConnect VPN
Now let us take a closer look at the various perks of Cisco AnyConnect VPN.
Security is the epitome of a VPN. The Cisco AnyConnect is formidable and ticks all the right boxes. AES-256 is welcome, even if other, more nuanced encryption profiles are available. The same goes for protocols, as they offer flexibility and reliable tunneling protection. Users can choose IPSec, SSL, and IKE, and they can toggle between them. Other features include IP anonymization, NVM, and ISE (Identity Services Engine). These cover malware protection, authentication, and in-depth real-time analysis.
Cisco AnyConnect is based in the United States. Thus, it is imperative to understand that the focus will be on reliability, speed, and security over privacy. Although the VPN doesn’t collect any PII (Personally Identifiable Information), it still logs a lot of data, such as:
- Any interaction with the customer service
- The number of devices connected
- Log in time and data usage statistics
- Any crash reports
- IP addresses during connection
- Browsing history under the guise of potential threat
- Any aggregate data
Although users can manage it to some extent by turning off a few features, Cisco still collects a huge amount of data. But as we mentioned, there is no PII. However, Cisco isn’t a traditional individual VPN service, so the impact isn’t as extensive. Hence, as a business tool, it works the way intended. That is to gather data, use it to refine a product, cooperate with third parties and develop other versions.
The VPN isn’t for streaming, gaming, or torrenting. Thus, speed isn’t the number one priority. Therefore, speed drops are expected. However, abnormal drops like an 80% reduction need to be addressed. Thankfully, the technical support is up to the mark that can alleviate most issues remotely.
As a corporate VPN, after-sales services are a critical player in decision-making. Since the VPN is a network, it needs maintenance. However, the good news is that you will benefit from being a part of the giant Cisco community. Their Customer Care package includes:
- In-depth personal support
- 24/7 voice communication
- Online chat during business hours
- Email support
AnyConnect VPN platform support and client installation
Although resource-heavy, the VPN client supports the following platforms:
- Android (4.0 and above)
- iOS (version 10.3 and later)
- Blackberry (OS 10.3.2 and later)
- Windows 7 and above
- Mac (OS X 10.8 and later)
However, these clients may not hook up with other modules like ISE. Since the company is renowned, we would’ve liked to see the client support smart TV, consoles, and routers.
Plans and pricing for Cisco AnyConnect
You will need a license to run the Cisco AnyConnect VPN. There are two different tiers. And the fees differ according to the tier, the number of users, and the length of said contract. The basic plan for a single user, called AnyConnect Plus, for a year, costs $4 while Apex costs $7. Furthermore, there is no free trial or money-back guarantee. Once you are in, extracting refunds would be insurmountable. Thus, plan carefully before investing.
- Comes with innovative encryption and the latest protocols
- Easy to set up on any supported device
- Employs ISE to facilitate endpoint protection
- Allows for flexible permissions, making it suitable for any platform
- Upgrading a subscription is easy
- After-sales support is excellent
- Has multiple IPs for added protection
- Allows IP switching
- Admin can monitor traffic
- It is remote access VPN
- It can provide security on the go
- The client can access the active directory and run LDAP
- Supports dual two-factor authentication
- Hails from the States, which is concerning
- Potential speed issue that renders the network incapable
- No money-back guarantee or free trial
- One-click connectivity is an exploit
- Has network stability issues
- FTD on AnyConnect is bare-bones
- User interface needs work
- Troubleshooting often requires uninstallation
- No FQDN support, even Split DNS is only for IP-based objects
- Resource-heavy and harder to run
- No biometric support
- Lacks Linux compatibility
- Licensing is expensive
- Too dependent on the Cisco ecosystem
To conclude our Cisco AnyConnect VPN review, we can only say this isn’t a service for the everyday user. The prices are fine, and it supports most platforms, but the terms they use in their knowledge base suggest it’s adequate for experienced users. They offer 24/7 Customer Service, which is nice, and boast superb security and a decent selection of protocols, but the VPN server (the number is unknown at this time) lags compared to VPN industry giants. The fact it’s based in the United States may be an instant dealbreaker for some users, too.
Cisco AnyConnect VPN Review
Cisco AnyConnect is a client that comes from a well-known network-oriented company in the United States. The country it hails from is a turn-off for many users, but its logging policy redeems them. It’s ideal for advanced users who want to up their security, but first-timers may find more beginner-friendly and cheaper options.