• United States
Executive Editor

What’s holding Netscreen back from SSL?

Sep 04, 20032 mins
Network SecurityNetworkingRemote Access

* Netscreen still only “looking into” SSL

Secure Sockets Layer remote access continues to grow in popularity – to the extent that the major IPSec VPN vendors are making some provision to offer it to their customers.

The notable exception so far is NetScreen, always listed by market-watching analysts as among the top four or five IPSec VPN vendors. Of the others, Nortel and Check Point have at least started to support SSL remote access by enabling access to certain classes of applications. And Cisco, while remaining silent on details, promises on its Web site to offer SSL remote access sometime this fall.

Rumors about Netscreen being on the verge of buying an SSL remote-access company have been rampant for months, with some relatively knowledgeable industry observers even projecting specific days when such an announcement would be made. Those days came and went without announcements.

In a recent interview a Netscreen spokesman said its customers are well aware of the technology and want it. SSL remote access is acknowledged to be easier to set up, manage and maintain, and offers sufficiently secure access to satisfy the needs of the bulk of end users. Overall, it is less expensive as well, with one analyst estimate claiming SSL remote access costs about a quarter of what an IPSec remote access network costs.

The spokesman wouldn’t state the company plans in this area, but said significantly that the company is looking into it.

With Netscreen having a rare successful stock offering and with revenues increasing steadily over the past year, the company should be in good enough shape to buy the technology if it wants to. And if it wants to satisfy its customers, it should want to soon.