Tech Outlook 2004: A Look Ahead at Networking

Andrew Garcia looks forward to the fruits of NetScreen, Symantec, and F5 Networks acquisitions.

The SSL VPN market took a quantum leap toward market acceptance this year, as established security and networking companies trampled one another in a race to purchase startup technology while others developed their own approaches in-house.

Next year, we will begin to see the fruits of these acquisitions, as NetScreen Technologies Inc., Symantec Corp. and F5 Networks Inc. integrate the technology into their existing product lines. We anticipate initial offerings to launch as stand-alone appliances, bringing extensive network application support to the table via thin-client ActiveX or Java plug-ins.

These appliances will come with their own management interfaces, but we expect each company to eventually integrate the devices into their respective enterprise management applications.

Meanwhile, the two 800-pound gorillas in the encrypted remote access space—Cisco Systems Inc. and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.—look like they will take similarly reserved approaches, complementing their IP Security solutions with SSL-based functionality focused on securing clientless applications (such as Web, e-mail and file sharing).

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