Aventail Improves Communication

The Aventail Secure Collaboration solution resides behind the SSL VPN and is accessed from PCs and PocketPC handhelds using the same Web-based portal. Its remote help-desk feature lets IT staff see and control the remote device and gives them the ability to talk users through problems—through secure VoIP and instant messaging functionality—which leads to speedy resolution of issues, according to Sarah Daniels, VP of marketing and product management at Seattle-based Aventail.

Channel partners said the key part of the solution is its videoconferencing feature, which they use for online meetings, training and demonstrations. Tim Hebert, CTO at Atrion, a solution provider in Warwick, R.I., says videoconferencing is a feature that&'s missing from similar collaboration products from Juniper and Citrix. “Using video helps us to put out a more personalized message to our clients, and we see a lot of value there,” said Hebert.

Hebert says he uses instant messaging combined with voice to communicate with staff working remotely. “If I need to get information from someone at the central office, I start out with IM, and then switch over to voice if necessary,” he said, adding that this wouldn&'t be possible without a high level of security.

>> The remote help-desk feature lets IT staff solve problems quickly through IM and VoIP.

Integrated VoIP also helps staff in remote data centers and server rooms to stay in touch with the main office, because these locations often have walls with steel and fire suppression materials that interfere with cellular signals, Hebert added.

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George Usi, president of Sacramento Technology Group, a Folsom, Calif.-based Aventail partner, says SSL VPN solutions are replacing legacy tools that only fit one piece of the secure collaboration puzzle.

“SSL VPNs are so popular now that we&'re starting to see demand for collaboration as a follow-up to their security function,” he said. “It makes more sense for SSL VPN to go upstream rather than just offering connectivity and access to legacy applications.”

Another strong argument for Aventail&'s solution is the increasing importance of regulatory compliance and the need to show stronger security for corporate data, Usi says. “It&'s almost impossible for businesses to be in compliance without using some sort of Web-based substantiator like SSL VPN.”