VPNs made simpler to use with SSL

Aventail is promoting virtual private networks (VPNs) based on Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology as an alternative to the...

Aventail is promoting virtual private networks (VPNs) based on Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology as an alternative to the complex deployment of IP-Sec systems, writes Eric Doyle.

VPNs create a secure "tunnel" between users across the Internet. Until recently, Internet Protocol Security (IP-Sec) has been promoted as the underlying VPN standard but SSL VPNs may gain ground because of the simplicity with which they can be deployed.

The main difference between the systems is that an IP-Sec VPN requires software to be installed at both ends of the tunnel whereas SSL software is built into most popular browsers.

Analysts from Giga Information Group have predicted that 60% of large enterprises will begin deploying site-to-site VPNs in 2002. IP-Sec has been designed for node-to-node connections but the increasing need for VPN communications will demand a simpler system, which is where SSL VPNs could win through.

The increasing use of wireless connections in public places using a range of devices requires secure connections which can be set up and torn down without user intervention. Aventail said SSL connections would be ideal for this because they work over broadband and fixed connections and can be used across firewalls.

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