F5 Network Offers Ipsec Option

By Paula Musich  |  Posted 2003-10-06

F5 networks inc. is championing an alternative to IP Security as a client-side VPN technology with a new offering that delivers greater flexibility and control.

The vendors FirePass Controller delivers SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) as the alternative to IPSec for client-side VPN access, according to officials. It allows secure access from kiosks and PDAs, as well as PCs and laptops, and it can control access to applications.

IPSec point-to-point VPNs dont allow a more direct interface between enterprises and partners, said Eric Giesa, senior director of product management at F5, in Seattle. The ability to more directly interface with partners "has been a big driver [for SSL VPNs], along with the growth of mobile devices," Giesa said.

As the load balancing vendor continues its drive into remote security, it is expanding its offerings with new technology acquired last summer with uRoam Inc.

F5 enhanced uRoam FirePass Controller with the ability to secure kiosk access to corporate networks by deleting temporary files. The controller also determines that the access attempt is coming from a kiosk by the lack of a digital certificate and enforces policies established for that type of access. Although policies are determined in the controller, access rights and groups are captured from a variety of sources, such as Microsoft Corp.s Active Directory, a Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service server or an LDAP server.

At the application level, F5 added protection against cross-site scripting, preventing malicious application-layer attacks. The new version of the controller also scans continuously for active firewall, virus scan and other client-side security programs to validate client integrity. In addition, F5 extended access to Linux or Unix systems running X Window System applications.

FirePass Controller competes with similar offerings from Aventail Corp. and Neoteris Inc., although those offerings lack remote control capability and Unix access and are more costly, Giesa said.

The new version is due Oct. 16, and prices will start at $10,000.

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