The SSL Alternative

    Date17 Nov 2003
    CategoryCryptography
    4395
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    More and more companies are letting staffers work remotely. In fact, the number of U.S. employees who work remotely at least one day per month has increased by nearly 40 percent since 2001, according to a recent study conducted by The Dieringer Research Group.. . . More and more companies are letting staffers work remotely. In fact, the number of U.S. employees who work remotely at least one day per month has increased by nearly 40 percent since 2001, according to a recent study conducted by The Dieringer Research Group.

    But most of these companies still rely on IP security or Point-to-Point Tunneling VPNs to ensure secure access to internal resources. Sure, these protocols keep out prying eyes, but these setups have some inherent problems: Typically, VPNs struggle with NAT (network addres translation) traversal, access control for traffic in the tunnel and client anagement.

    As an alternative, you should consider Secure Sockets Layer VPNs. SSL VPNs eliminate nearly all the problems associated with IPsec and PPTP VPNs. The term SSL VPN is a bit of a misnomer, however. A VPN typically establishes the remote client as a node on the protected network; an SSL VPN extends secure access to protected resources for remote users.

    Other pluses: Users connect to the network over the Web; with the browser as the client, everything the user needs is readily available. And SSL over Port 443 is allowed nearly everywhere, so there is little chance your remote users won't be able to access corporate resources.

    However, like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. According to our estimates, the average per-user price of an SSL VPN is more than the $40 to $75 per user you'd pay for a traditional VPN setup. But for those companies with slightly deeper pockets, the increase in mobility and the decrease in support and maintenance costs make these products worth considering.

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