Nord-Surfshark Merger: What it Means for Users

Nord-Surfshark Merger: What it Means for Users

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NordVPN’s parent company, Nord Security and Surfshark “finalized a merger agreement, which will reveal technical knowledge-sharing opportunities and enable more focused market diversification” in February 2022 according to statements released by both services.  

In other words, the two providers are teaming up, and the VPN landscape is a little smaller accordingly. 

The newly merged company has been named “Cyberspace”, and is registered in the Netherlands.

They say that “nothing changes concerning our brands, infrastructure, company management, employees, and product development. The idea behind the deal is to align on a tactical level in reaching mutual goals while keeping the autonomy of our operations.”

Here’s what you need to know about the Nord Security/Surfshark merger, and what it means for users of either service.

NordVPN/Surfshark Merger

Following the news that NordVPN and Surfshark are planning to “align on a tactical level in reaching mutual goals,” Nord Security Co-Founder Tom Okman said:

The increasing complexity of cybersecurity and digital privacy is a growing challenge worldwide. We believe that this industry requires radical simplification and ease of access, both for consumers and businesses. Together, Nord Security and Surfshark create the largest internet security powerhouse in the market, ready to bring advanced solutions for customers.

Tom Okman, Nord Security Co-Founder

The sentiments were echoed by Surfshark founder and Chief Executive Officer Vytautas Kaziukonis:

Quote Callout

“Consolidations in the global consumer cybersecurity market indicate the industry’s maturity. They also bring new competitive challenges. Nord Security and Surfshark joining forces will set the ground to scale in different digital security dimensions, which is necessary to meet the growing requirements of our customers.”

This means that they’ll be better equipped to take on the likes of Kape Technologies, who added ExpressVPN to their expansive roster for $936m in September 2021, which consists of CyberGhost, Private Internet Access (PIA), and Zenmate VPN.

It’s big news for the industry, although it would arguably be better to have a choice from a range of independent services, rather than selecting from VPNs owned by two competing cybersec giants. 

At the current time of writing, no real details about the merger have been made public, such as potential changes to their leadership structure or any agreed fees. 

What This Merger Means for Users

What does the merger mean for the average NordVPN/Surfshark user? According to NordVPN, there should be little to no difference as they will operate independently.

Nord Security and Surfshark have their own user bases, which is not going to change. Both brands will continue to operate independently, serving their customers and improving their own products.

NordVPN

There will be no increase in pricing, and they promise “there will be no changes in how we secure user data.” Also, the newly merged company has been named “Cyberspace”, and is registered in the Netherlands. (This won’t affect NordVPN, which is based in the privacy-friendly region of Panama.)

Given they mentioned “technical knowledge-sharing opportunities.” this may come in the form of similar updates in the future, with benefits shared across multiple VPN services. However, the Nord merger statement says:

“Both companies will continue to develop their own cybersecurity solutions, encompassing personal data protection, device security, file security, and more.”

For example, Surfshark won’t offer its own version of the proprietary NordLynx protocol, and their respective VPN servers are unlikely to be bundled together. 

Surfshark and Nord Security are remaining autonomous brands, and they are making no changes to their Terms of Service or Privacy Policy.

A Smaller VPN Landscape

Once again, the VPN landscape gets a little smaller as larger conglomerates continue to close ranks, offering the illusion of choice via competing services.

I found no mention of Cyberspace on either website until I went digging, locating a single blog post about the merger by each provider. It’s clear that as far as they’re concerned, it’s business as usual, even if their ownership structure has now changed significantly. 

In 2021, TechRadar reported that NordVPN and Surfshark were developed under the same Lithuanian business incubator, named Tesonet. Surfshark and Nord have consistently claimed that their plan was to remain separate entities, although that’s obviously all changed as of now. 

I would have assumed that Nord Security would be buying Surfshark, given their size and respective user bases. However, Nord reiterated to PC Mag: “This is not an acquisition, Nord Security is not buying Surfshark; this is a merger.”

Final Thoughts

The average user will see no real difference in terms of the service they receive, while the companies aren’t making a big deal about the news on public channels. 

The decision to rename the company Cyberspace is a strange one and makes me think of the Metaverse. It’s somewhat generic and might not be the best descriptor in terms of what they actually offer. With the new name, though, they are able to cast an even wider net.

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The move is likely to see both companies expanding their list of cybersecurity solutions in the future, while they mentioned ease of use and simplification to achieve greater mass appeal. 

For now, the plan is clearly to keep the brands separated, which makes sense to some extent. They’re both VPNs, but Surfshark is more of a budget offering whereas NordVPN is one of the more respected names in the sector in terms of privacy

They already target different sections of the market, and they will be relying on separate infrastructures and product roadmaps in the future. You can check back here in the coming months and years for the latest updates on this new union.

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