MCI has announced a Secure Sockets Layer remote access service based on Aventail's ASAP appliances that make it possible for MCI's customers to pay a monthly fee for a managed service rather than buying the gear and managing it themselves.Shelling out $2,700 a month at the low-end of the price range for the service may not be for everyone, but apparently there are those for whom it works.MCI says many customers don't want the hassle of managing their own service and regard the incremental cost as worth it when rolled up with other WAN services they buy from the service provider. Customers can access the Web interface to the service via MCI's remote access management platform called Enterprise Services Management, keeping management less complex.For customers that buy the service, MCI installs an Aventail appliance at the site that houses the servers to be accessed. The devices are then managed via Aventail's network operations center. Customers can access usage reports via a Web interface and can order custom reports if the standard ones don't give enough information.Customers can also submit requests for changes to user lists, passwords and privileges. These are then carried out by NOC staffers. Such changes can be scheduled for set times if that's what customers want.Some customers, including some Aventail customers, say they don't want anyone else to control their security, so they manage their SSL remote access in-house. With SSL gear available for less than $50,000, monthly service fees would pay for the gear within two years.Customers do apparently want these services. MCI is following the lead of AT&T and Sprint in partnering with Aventail to provide them.The MCI service is called IP VPN Remote Services-SSL and is available now to corporations based in the U.S.