Virtela offers new SSL VPN service for small businesses

* The Virtela SMB SSL VPN service

Virtela is coming out with a new SSL VPN service for small businesses that eliminates the need for these customers to buy SSL gateways of their own.

Called Virtela SMB SSL VPN, the service gives customers access to either F5 or Juniper SSL gateways within Virtela's network. These devices are shared among customers and connect remote computers to business-network resources over Virtela's MPLS backbone.

An individual user would authenticate to the device, and the device would route the connection to the appropriate devices on the customer's MPLS VPN.

The upside for customers its that it is a low-cost option for those businesses that can't justify the cost of their own SSL VPN equipment. It also makes it possible to connect to a single SSL VPN gateway but then be connected to resources that may be physically located at several different sites on a VPN. The alternative would be to have separate gateways at each site and end users would have to connect to each depending on what resource they needed.

One downside for customers is that they are limited to a single security profile made up of two policies. So if a customer wanted different security profiles for different groups of users, they would not be able to get them from this service. Also, the service allows checking the remote computer for only a single configuration parameter such as whether it has a personal firewall running. The service would not support checking for additional parameters such as whether its virus-screening software is updated or operating system patches have been made.

Virtela will continue to offer its Managed SSL VPN Service in which each customer has an SSL VPN gateway dedicated to them and that supports more complex profiles and policies. It also offers more complete configuration checks of the remote machines.

The Virtela SMB SSL VPN service costs $8 to $20 per month per user depending on the number of users. The fee does not include Internet access for remote computers or the cost of Virtela MPLS VPN backbone service that the remote access connections run over.

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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