The SSL-VPN (secure sockets layer-virtual private network) market is expected to heat up with NetScreen's recent US$265 million ($461.1 million) acquisition of Neoteris.

Although the deal is expected to be completed only by the end of the year, NetScreen has already outlined plans to operate Neoteris as a distinct product group of its business and maintain the brand for the foreseeable future.

According to research firm Frost & Sullivan, of the more than 25 vendors of SSL-VPN technology, Neoteris has 36 per cent share of the market.

Paul Serrano, senior director of marketing Asia Pacific, NetScreen Technologies, said Neoteris' SSL-VPN products complement NetScreen's current IPSec VPN solutions. "While IPSec is the better technology for site-to-site VPN deployments, SSL-VPN solutions can be the alternative solution for new and expansion of existing, remote access deployments," he said.

According to Johna Johnson, president and chief research officer at Nemertes Research, SSL defines a secure, encrypted communications mechanism between applications, most commonly between a web browser and server, and is independent of the underlying protocols, particularly IP (see also page 14: The next-generation VPN).

IPSec, on the other hand, provides a secure, encrypted communications mechanism at the IP layer. It is independent of the application, meaning that any application that uses IP can run across it, she explained.

SSL-VPNs are a growing market segment. According to Infonetics Research, this new market is expected to exceed US$600 million in sales by 2006.

Michael Warrilow, senior analyst, Meta Group Asia Pacific said, "SSL-VPN technology has begun changing the face of remote access. By providing clientless access to internal resources from a browser, access can now be extended both to a larger user audience as well as to machines outside the organisation's perimeter and out of corporate control."

"The market is now evolving in two opposite directions � first, the addition of full network -access features allows vendors such as Aventail, F5 Networks and NetScreen to target their offerings directly against IPSec -remote access packages. However, some vendors are also targeting the SSL-VPN technology at the extranet access space."

source: ComputerWorld

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