Only a few years left for SSL VPN?

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A leading SSL VPN vendor has admitted that the window of opportunity for SSL VPN -- today's main rival to IPSec VPN -- may only last another few years.

A leading SSL VPN vendor has admitted that the window of opportunity for SSL VPN -- today's main rival to IPSec VPN -- may only last another few years.

Sven Radavics, sales director at US-based SSL VPN vendor WatchGuard, conceded at a media and analyst briefing this month that the market for SSL VPN was probably limited to less than another five years.

Radavics said the US-based Sysadmin, Audit, Network, Security (SANS) Institute for information security and certification was "quite dark" on SSL.

"They're saying IPSec is going to be ubiquitous and it is much more secure and in a few years they're going to want [much bigger] keys and you can't do that with SSL," he said.

However, genuine reseller opportunities to earn on SSL VPN were out there and WatchGuard was striking while the iron was still hot, Radavics said.

"I think the revenues for SSL speak for themselves," he said. "In a few years, they're going to be buying new kit anyway."

IPSec VPN had been shown to have problems with firewalls and sometimes clashed with drivers or other applications. That created a temporary opportunity for SSL VPN to be a best option in some current networks, Radavics suggested.

"I think SSL is going to have a run for the next few years," Radavics said. "I think we've got at least two or three years of a really booming market."

James Turner, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said that IPv6 was also going to solve a lot of problems for VPN but would be "massively expensive" to deploy.

"So that's not going to happen for a few years," Turner said.

Radavics said WatchGuard had just launched its mid-market-focused Firebox SSL to the channel. WatchGuard was 100 percent channel sales, he said.

"IPSec client deployment is a new pain point for end-users' IT departments," he said.

Firebox SSL was fruit of a WatchGuard and Citrix partnership. The appliance for five to 205 users worked with Citrix Access Gateway, Radavics said.

It also was optimised for VoIP. "Feedback from the channel was that this is something they are looking for. People are working with IP solutions  and the performance is so poor for IP phones," Radavics said. "And it includes security across client capabilities, such as integrated endpoint security."

"Firebox SSL addresses the needs of SMB companies looking for a professional-grade solution specifically designed for the mid-market," he said.

Citrix was supplying quota credits for its sales team as part of the partnership, Radavics said.

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