SSL VPN vendor Aventail discussing new signings for 2005

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US-based SSL VPN vendor Aventail has begun talking with potential new Australian partners to resell its managed service offering.

US-based SSL VPN vendor Aventail has begun talking with potential new Australian partners to resell its managed service offering.

Michael Ang, Asia-Pacific vice-president at Aventail, said the vendor believed the time was right to expand its Australian channel from next year. Aventail had started talks with "one or two" potential new partners dedicated to services.

"We can't talk more about it until it's finalised," Ang said. "We are talking to one or two potential companies who want to just buy the appliance and then we provide some basic professional services and consultancy."

He indicated that Aventail operated an SSL service as part of its total offering and believed that market was likely to open right up and start growing from 2005. Previously, customers had been concerned that SSL VPN wasn't as secure as IP Sec.

"But we don't want a flood of channel partners," Ang said.

Further, Aventail was taking care not to queer the market for its only Australia and New Zealand partner currently, Kanbay. "It mustn't conflict with what Kanbay is doing. At the end of the day, they're selling the product," he said.

Ang conceded that Aventail was a late entrant in the SSL VPN race. But its market share was growing. Since its 2003 SSL VPN appliance launch, Aventail had gobbled up 12 to 15 percent market share globally and claimed number one spot in South Korea and a number two spot in Japan.

Aventail was mainly targeting the high end but had added an entry level box in July to help it compete with the likes of rival SSL VPN vendor F5 Networks. With the security issues sorted out, Ang believed SSL VPN would become more popular as users would be able to adopt VPN pretty much everywhere.

"Our smart box will make it easier to compete against others," he said. 'In enterprise deals, people say, “why not Nortel? Why not Cisco IP Sec?”.'

SSL VPN was accessible via a browser. Some 20 percent of applications were not web-enabled and it cost companies a lot of money to 'webify' them. SSL VPN gave users an easier way to use networked applications, Ang suggested.

"Some mission-critical applications will not allow browser access, however, so SSL VPN isn't enough," he said. "But in a thin client -- versus an IP Sec fat client -- maintenance updates and upgrades are done automatically."

Aventail has just introduced what it claims is the market's first 'smart' SSL VPN. The company believes its Aventail Smart SSL VPN, built on the eighth version of its own secure access policy platform, sets a new standard for ease of use and security.

The platform will be available on Aventail appliances and via its managed services. It "automatically and transparently" determines and deploys the most appropriate access method, the company said in a statement.

Aventail also claimed it was three times faster than any other SSL VPN to set up. A single rule would do for all types of resources and access. Administrators could set granular access control rules based on the level of trust for an end point. Multiple zones of trust could be created, the company said.

"The end user needs only to click on the desired application link, whether web-based or client/server, and the method needed to access that application is launched behind the scenes in real time," Aventail said.

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