Vendors Secure Mobile Connections

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As the interest in wireless solutions grows among business users, security vendors such as SonicWall and Ecutel are beefing up wireless access to VPN products to allow secure connections between LANs and WLANs.

SonicWall, Sunnyvale, Calif., recently unveiled a new firewall appliance for the SOHO and small- and midsize-business markets that integrates wireless and VPN technologies in a solution designed to be secure, economical and easy-to-use.

John Gordineer, product line manager at the Internet security appliance vendor, said by creating a "trusted zone for wireless" (TZW), the new SonicWall SOHO TZW enables administrators to enforce IPSec authentication and encryption between the LAN and WLAN. "It's an all-in-one appliance [for] wired and wireless security," he said. "We really see that that's what our customers are looking for."

The SonicWall SOHO TZW appliance is available in a base configuration supporting up to 25 users, with upgrades to 50 or unlimited users, for $895.

Ecutel CEO Sanders Partee says Viatores 4.2 allows users to roam securely between networks.

For its part, mobile VPN vendor Ecutel recently rolled out an updated version of its mobile VPN. Viatores 4.2 allows mobile professionals to roam securely between LANs, WLANs, wireless public networks and private visitor networks, said Sanders Partee, CEO of Alexandria, Va.-based Ecutel.

Partee said Viatores 4.2 features client deployment automation, increased support for third-party authentication servers, client management policies and split tunneling. Viatores 4.2 costs about $110 per user.

According to In-Stat/MDR, 2002 was a big year for WLAN volume growth, driven by increasingly cheap and reliable 802.11b technology. Business Wi-Fi hardware shipments for 2003 are expected to rise 65 percent on an annual basis, the research firm found.

According to IDC's Worldwide Security Server Appliance Tracker, worldwide security appliance manufacturing revenue was $355 million in the fourth quarter of 2002, up 15 percent from the previous quarter.

Firewall/VPN appliances continued to be the leading segment of the worldwide security appliance market, with a 90 percent revenue share during the fourth quarter of 2002, according to the IDC report.

Charles Kolodgy, research director for IDC's security products service, said much of the growth is occurring among products geared for small businesses and branch offices and supporting large data centers.

Chris Pate, senior manager of the mobile wireless technology division at GTSI, a government-focused solution provider in Chantilly, Va., said his company's emerging growth division has pointed to Ecutel's product as a new technology that brings unique value to GTSI's existing solutions.

The move to wireless by local, state and federal governments has been slow but is beginning to pick up as technology begins to more efficiently address security issues, Pate said. While potential government customers almost always ask about security when it comes to wireless solutions, the issue of mobility is often overlooked, he said.

"That's where Ecutel provides a value-add to our solution sets," Pate said. "With Ecutel, you can address an always-on presence with a wireless notebook so you don't constantly have to go back and forth and log on and log off an application."

These types of complementary, secure wireless VPN technologies are becoming increasingly important, and that's why GTSI's emerging growth division has identified Ecutel as an important partner moving forward, Pate said.

Specific moves by other vendors to target key verticals, such as government markets, are also beginning to take shape. For instance, Symbol Technologies recently integrated the Federal Information Processing Standard for cryptography (FIPS 140-2) into its line of rugged, wireless mobile-computing devices.

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