Juniper Networks Inc. made a bid last week to dominate the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) VPN space among small and midsize businesses with a new line of low-cost appliances.
The NetScreen Remote Access 500 appliances start at $4,000 and provide remote access for any browser-based client without requiring software on the end station.
The appliances authenticate users, authorize resource access and support major standard authentication protocols, including PKI (public-key infrastructure), RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service), LDAP and others.
According to officials at the Sunnyvale, Calif., networking company, the RA 500s strike the right balance of price, packaging, ease of implementation and features for SMBs.
“One of the factors that has hindered the adoption of SSL VPNs in the SMB space has been the complexity of the Chinese menu of options,” said Joseph Dell, chief technology officer at Atlanta-based Vigilar Inc. and an early tester of the 500.
“Juniper has taken the most logical options, packaged them in an easy-to-configure fashion and made them available at an attractive price point for the SMB market.”
In fact, SMBs are adopting SSL VPNs at a faster rate than enterprises, according to Infonetics Research Inc. “The middle of the market has been the fastest-growing segment for a while. This is a natural evolution for players that have been mainly targeting large enterprises,” said Jeff Wilson, an analyst at Infonetics, in San Jose, Calif.
The only caveat is that a combination of site-to-site and remote access usage favors IP Security VPNs because they are simpler to configure for both types of access, Wilson said. The appliances also leverage Junipers Network Connect virtual IP network adapter, which is delivered via a Microsoft Corp. Windows ActiveX control.
The appliances range in price from $4,000 to $7,000, depending on the number of concurrent users, starting with 10. They are available now.
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