A new company led by famed Web pioneers Jim Clark and Krishna "Kittu" Kolluri is scheduled to introduce today its first product, designed to significantly reduce the cost and complexity of deploying secure remote networks for employees and partners.
Neoteris produces network appliances that simplify the process of deploying a virtual private network for accessing enterprise applications. According to a recent report by IDC, only 30 percent of companies surveyed in 2000 had deployed Internet-based VPNs. And in most of those businesses, less than 10 percent of the employees actually used them, because of the difficulties involved in setting up VPNs.
"Why cant it be just as easy to get access to corporate applications as it is to get Web e-mail?" asked Kolluri, Neoteris CEO, explaining the reason behind the company.
Kolluri co-founded WebMD, formerly Healtheon, along with Clark, whom he met when they both worked for SGI. Clark went on to co-found Netscape Communications, and is now Neoteris chairman of the board, as well as a major investor.
Neoteris uses an "Instant Virtual Extranet" appliance, which serves Web-based applications to users coming to the network over the Internet. Unlike standard VPNs, Neoteris requires no software on the users machine - just a standard Web browser that will encrypt traffic with 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer before transmitting it over the Internet to the companys network.
"I think the Neoteris solution is part of a companys overall remote access solution, but certainly not the be all and end all," said Zeus Kerravala, director of e-networks and broadband access at The Yankee Group.
Kerravala said that Neoteris could dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of a wide-scale VPN rollout. However, in most cases, I-managers will still need to use VPNs so people can access applications that arent Web-enabled.
That sums up the way Patrick Wilson, director of IT at Finisar, is deploying it. So far, the company has supplied 217 of its 1,000 employees worldwide access to the Neoteris system. "Its an augmentation for our remote users and frees up resources for the IT staff so we dont have to install clients on every single laptop that goes out," Wilson said.