• United States
Executive Editor

Aspelle swims with the big fish

Jul 10, 20032 mins
MicrosoftNetworkingRemote Access

* How to get ahead in the VPN stakes

With Secure Sockets Layer remote access already winning the endorsements of Nokia and Nortel and with NetScreen and Cisco rumored to be close behind, the major IPSec VPN vendors are clearly about to become a force in this still young market.

What does that mean for the relatively tiny companies that specialize in delivering Internet remote access gear that requires only a Web browser on remote PCs?

Recently the vice president of technology for one such company, Aspelle, shared his company’s view of the situation.

Companies that try to compete against the giants by adding features beyond remote access – such as conferencing – will wind up providing more features but likely won’t win the lion’s share of the SSL remote access customers that’s up for grabs.

Instead, many potential customers will go with a vendor they already do business with and take SSL functionality as an add-on. It’s one fewer vendor to deal with and perhaps the new features will be manageable under an existing management system.

The way for young SSL companies to go is to get close to a major vendor and use that vendor’s customer connections to win business, Johnson says. Aspelle is trying to do this by snuggling up to Microsoft.

Aspelle is basing its software on Microsoft platforms, and presents its products as add-ons to Microsoft servers to enhance what customers have already bought. The point is to add SSL remote access without disturbing the infrastructure they have already installed, he says.

To that end, Aspelle is focusing on adding management tools that make it possible to finely control who gains access to SSL-protected resources. An individual user, for instance, could get different access rights based on the type of machine they are connecting from – a company-issued laptop, a home PC or a PC in an Internet café.  Other vendors such as Whale and Aventail are focusing on the same things, so Aspelle is not alone in its thinking.

But because of its ties to Microsoft – it is about to become a Gold Certified Partner of Microsoft – Aspelle hopes it can ride the popularity of Microsoft’s platforms to success. This is a solid, pragmatic approach to surviving in a potentially huge market where the big fish are about to start feeding.