SonicWall Goes After Small-Biz Remote Users With SSL VPN Appliance

The new SSL VPN 200 appliance is designed for companies with up to 50 or fewer employees.

With support for 10 concurrent tunnels and a price of $595, it should be an attractive option for small companies that don&'t have huge IT budgets, said Deepak Thadani, president of New York-based solution provider SysIntegrators.

“Most of our customers have less than 20 employees and would be more interested in this than a larger box that costs more,” Thadani said.

The new product is SonicWall&'s first SSL VPN appliance to target the low end of the SMB market. Its SSL VPN 2000, launched in September, targets networks with fewer than 1,000 users, supports up to 100 concurrent tunnels and costs $2,295.

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The SSL VPN appliance is easier to manage than a traditional IPsec VPN because it is entirely browser-based and does not require the installation of a software client, said Jan Sijp, SSL VPN product manager at SonicWall, Sunnyvale, Calif.

Thandani agreed. “Customers are frustrated with software IPsec VPNs. This is very easy, and you don&'t need to install anything,” he said.

SonicWall&'s new offering should also ease deployments to remote workers, solution providers said.

“One of the difficulties of rolling out remote VPN access to employees is the configuration of PCs, laptops and home-office telecommuters, and by using SonicWall&'s SSL VPN, we can eliminate the necessity to reach out and touch each remote access point for setup and configuration,” said Koji Mori, general manager of network services at Calsoft Systems, a solution provider in Torrance, Calif.

While VARs agreed that SSL VPNs is well-suited for telecommuters and small businesses with remote offices, some cautioned that remote users should not rely solely on the VPN for complete security protection.

“Of course, remote users should still have local installations of antivirus [and] antispyware [software] and a firewall for a good layered security solution and not rely solely on perimeter and VPN protection,” said Monte Robertson, president of Software Security Solutions, Lakewood, Colo. “A VPN encrypts all traffic—malicious or approved—so it is important to make sure the data being transferred between the client and the network is clean,” he said.