Merger\/acquisition mania continues in the Secure Sockets Layer remote access arena, with Symantec buying SafeWeb last week. SafeWeb made an SSL remote access gateway that fits in the mainstream of gear from other SSL remote access companies such as Aventail, Neoteris, Netilla and Whale.Neoteris was bought up recently by IPSec VPN vendor NetScreen. Then Rainbow Technologies, another SSL remote-access company, merged with SafeNet.All this has happened within the past few weeks, which means the predicted consolidation of SSL remote access is well underway. It is interesting to note that the companies doing the buying fall into two distinct groups, those creating all-in-one security platforms and those selling single-function platforms.Symantec has been focused on building a security gateway that includes a set of security applications including support for IPSec VPNs. It says it will add SSL remote access support to the platform next year.NetScreen, which also makes appliances that include IPSec VPNs, recently bought Neoteris but plans to keep the Neoteris gear separate from NetScreen's platform. While the company is adding anti-virus software to its equipment, it is steering away from adding SSL. The company says its customers prefer to keep the remote access function separate from the site-to-site function of the IPSec gear.SafeNet makes a variety of security software and hardware including IPSec VPN clients and encryption software. It says it has no plans to incorporate the SSL technology into a broad security platform.If there are distinct markets for all-in-one security platforms and discrete, single function platforms, then both groups of SSL vendors will survive. But if one or the other gains dominance, expect even more shakeout in SSL remote access.