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SSL-based VPN Tailored To Small Business

Juniper Networks Inc. has extended its Instant Virtual Extranet platform to a sub-$5,000 system for small businesses, an action that may give virtual private networks (VPNs) based on Secure Sockets Layer a clear victory over Internet Protocol Secure VPNs.

Juniper's Application Security Group, the former Neoteris Inc., had planned the low-end Remote Access 500 for several quarters, but said the popularity of higher-layer SSL for VPN creation has underscored the importance of bringing such a system to small businesses.

SSL, a transaction-based Layer 7 methodology that Neoteris originally proposed as an alternative VPN to cut the cost of client implementations for virtual networks, has proved popular in large institutions as well as small, said senior product manager Chris Boni. So it's not just an issue of SSL winning at the smallest customer sites.

Boni saw a cost advantage for SSL over Internet Protocol Secure. "With IPsec, the total cost of ownership is a significant burden, no matter what the company size is," he said. "There will always be networks that can use IPsec VPNs, but in the case of SSL cost-effectiveness holds true regardless of the size of the network."

Juniper pulled out certain functions from its larger systems that would represent an overkill for small businesses, such as centralized synchronization, single-sign-on processes and links to advanced enterprise-management tools.

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