SSL VPNs: Not So Simple (c2006)

Corporations looking for new ways to enable roaming users to connect securely to their internal networks have latched onto Virtual Private Network Secure Sockets Layer (VPN SSL) gateway products. Unlike older VPN products that use secure TCP/IP protocols, the SSL products primarily make use of Web browsers to establish their connection. This, the theory goes, makes them easier to install and more parsimonious in their client software, thus useful for unmanaged situations. We found these claims are for the most part unrealized, the products are still just as complex as IPsec VPNs. However, the SSL products still require a great deal of administration, configuration, and support.

I review five SSL VPNs for Information Security magazine, including the first comparison to include Cisco’s ASA 5540 product, in this month’s issue. The other products include Aventail’s ST EX-2500, F5 Networks’ FirePass 4100, Juniper Networks’ Secure Access (SA) 6000 SP and Check Point Software Technologies’ Connectra NGX R61. Juniper comes out on top.

And you can check out my special page summarizing recent SSL VPN reviews on my site here.

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