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Executive Editor

Whale fine tunes remote access

Jul 22, 20033 mins
NetworkingRemote AccessSecurity

* Whale e-Gap times out a session if no keyboard/mouse activity is detected

 Whale Communications is continuing to expand its support for remote access to specific corporate applications with the addition of 20 software modules to its e-Gap remote access appliance.

The modules fine tune Whale’s underlying technology that can connect remote computers with client software for corporate applications to host servers for those same applications. These connections are made via the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) capabilities of Web browsers and so are protected by encryption.

Other vendors such as Neoteris and Aspelle do this by downloading agents to the remote browsers that enable them to connect application clients to their respective servers. Whale is trying to set itself apart by customizing support for individual applications so customers get better security and management features for those applications.

For example, Whale’s e-Gap supports a feature that will time out a session if there is no keyboard or mouse activity from a remote machine for a set period of time. The assumption is that inactivity indicates the machine is connected but has been left unattended so an unauthorized user could exploit the connection.

That’s a good feature, but some applications have auto-update features that periodically ping the server, which looks exactly like keyboard or mouse activity that would prevent an auto-timeout by the e-Gap.

This is the case with iNotes, the Domino Web messaging and collaboration platform from IBM, says Whale’s CEO Elad Baron. The iNotes client periodically checks for new e-mail. With its support for iNotes, e-Gap recognizes this feature and ignores the periodic auto-checks when it is looking for mouse and keyboard activity. If there is no client activity except the auto-updates for a set interval, e-Gap will shut down the connection, Baron says.

So far Whale has been writing this customized support without help from most of the application vendors, but the company hopes that the features will become successful enough that the vendors cooperate. It can only be good for end users looking to better protect and manage via SSL remote access sessions.



Pricing of NetScaler SSL remote access systems are different from how they were described in a recent newsletter. Their systems range in price from $25,000 to $75,000, which includes hardware, software and support for five simultaneous remote users. Licenses for more remote users cost extra, ranging from $5,000 extra for up to 100 users, to $70,000 for up to 2,500 users. If customers want to add support for accessing native client/server applications, they pay $10,000 extra.