Networking vendor SonicWALL (NASDAQ: SNWL) is set to announce an update to
its SSL VPN (define)
firmware next week. Version 3 of SSL VPN isn’t for everyone. It’s designed for
small and medium-sized enterprises.
As the numbers of remote workers continue to grow the need for secure
remote access solutions shows no signs of slowing down. The new SonicWall SSL
VPN 3 offering also serves to highlight the continuing multi-year shift from
IPsec-based remote access solutions to SSL-based VPNs.
The new offering from SonicWALL shares some technology from its Aventail
division that literally invented the entire SSL VPN space, though there are some
“In the SMB people are looking for cookie cutter,” Jon Kuhn, Director of
Product Management at SonicWALL told InternetNews.com. “What is the
general practice of setting up remote access for security? While the Aventail
platform and the SonicWall SSL VPN share ideas on things generally, the features
do turn out differently, because one is focused on flexibility and other is
focused on cookie cutter ease of use.”
SonicWALL’s Aventail division
had its own major release earlier this year, which targeted the high end of
the SSL VPN marketplace. Kuhn noted that there is a high end and a low end in
terms of SSL VPN buyers; each group has its own requirements.
“Generally the buyers are looking for different levels of features and
performance,” Kuhn said.
One of the features that is specific for the SMB space that is included in
the SonicWALL SSL VPN 3.0 release is a technology called “Virtual Assist.”Kuhn
explained that Virtual Assist give a technician the ability to remotely log in
and control an end user system.
“We find that’s very helpful in SMB business whereas in the larger
enterprise business that is not a requested feature on the Aventail side,”
In version 3.0 virtual assist has been improved with enhanced logging and
reporting capabilities. As well there are improved diagnostics capabilities on
the remote computer if there is a problem.
Kuhn argued that the Virtual Assist technology goes beyond what an end
user would experience by simply using Windows Remote Desktop which does not
provide the same degree of tracking, monitoring and reporting functions.
Overall SonicWALL has improved the graphical user interface on SSL VPN 3.0
to align more closely with how device management is performed on the SonicWALL
Analysts have been reporting and forecasting growth in the SSL VPN
marketplace at least the past four
years. SSL VPN at one point was seen as the logical replacement for IPsec
technology VPN technology. Traditionally the two technologies differed in that
IPsec required a desktop client while SSL VPN did not.
“You’d think that SSL VPN would be penetrated into the SMB environments by
now but we’re still seeing growth at both the low and high ends,” Kuhn said.
“Which tells us that you’re still getting more and more customers that are using
SSL VPN for the first time that had previously used IPsec. So it’s still
catching on we expect to see growth for the next 3 or 4 years.”
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