SSL VPN market heats up

Watch out, IPsec

In the past, IT organisations choosing secure remote access solutions either trade off ease-of-use or higher levels of security, writes John McIntosh of Bloor Research.

For example, many SSL VPN products limit users to accessing only Web and simple client/server applications. As a result, users are unable to get access to the full set of applications they need to do their jobs. Until now, this has always been the way IPSec vendors have pushed back against SSL upstarts.

Two SSL VPN appliance vendors are pushing hard to get ahead and stay ahead of the field and put some heat into the competition. The first of these is Aventail. Its SSL VPN appliances offer a full spectrum of clientless and agent-based access options. The company recently announced a range of new access options to strengthen its SSL VPN proposition.

Connect is a Web-delivered Windows agent that provides simpler installation and maintenance for access to client/server applications from corporate laptops. New features include Agent AutoUpdating that checks the user's version of Connect and delivers the latest version. Support for Microsoft Windows Installer simplifies installation of multiple applications at once.

OnDemand 3.0 supports secure clientless access without sacrificing simplicity in administration or delivered as a non-persistent Java agent. New features include Dynamic Redirection to eliminates DNS changes. Dynamic Port Application Support provides access to applications like SAP and Siebel. And One-Click Configuration eases large-scale deployments.

Aventail is probably the most widely deployed SSL VPN on the market, serving more than half a million users and more than 500 of the world's leading corporations.

Neoteris is close behind. It takes a different solution approach, in the form of an Application Security Gateway.

Neoteris has extended the range of access options available through the Neoteris Access Series product family by adding support for resource-intensive business applications.

The new Network Connect Upgrade option for the Neoteris Access Series product family enables network connectivity to a broad range of resources and applications, including support for complex protocols such as H.323 and SIP. Network Connect also supports broadly deployed and emerging wireless LAN standards.

The Network Connect technology is one of three connectivity options available within the Neoteris Access Series. Users of the Instant Virtual Extranet-based Access Series gateways can choose from clientless Web access, thin-client support for client/server applications, and full network connectivity for resource intensive applications, such as VoIP and streaming media.

In contrast to Aventail, the Neoteris IVE requires no client-side software. Secure clientless access to corporate resources is available from anywhere in the world using only a standard web browser supporting SSL.

Another player not to be ignored is Netilla Networks with its Netilla Security Platform.

The NSP's remote access capabilities are divided into three types: Web-based, client/server and local. Windows and Unix client/server applications do not require a VPN client or additional software installed on the remote computer.

With Release 4, Netilla adds two important new capabilities: secure access to enterprise intranet and Web applications via an HTTP reverse proxy (and desktop client/server application access via Netilla's Virtual Adapter, which allows users to exchange data with central servers from any PC-based applications through an SSL tunnel.

We expect SSL VPN to dominate the remote access market by 2005. ®

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