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SSL VPNs Will Grow 54% A Year, Become Defacto Access Standard: Report

Spending on Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Networks (SSL VPN) will grow at a 53% compound annual growth rate, and SSL VPNs will surpass traditional IPsec VPNs as the de-facto remote access security standard by 2008, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

In "SSL VPNs Poised for Significant Growth," Forrester associate analyst Robert Whiteley says companies are attracted by the technology's application-level simplicity. Unlike IPsec VPNs, which require special client software to access the network, SSL VPN supports a wide range of devices, from desktop computers to PDAs, and applications, while offering network administrators greater granularity of user information and providing better endpoint security.

According to the report, some 44% of American businesses have deployed SSL VPNs, spending $97 million on the technology last year alone. Despite the impressive adoption rate for a technology that has been in the business mainstream for less than a year, Forrester expects SSL VPN deployments to continue to take off, with the market growing at a 53% compound annual growth rate to $1.2 billion in 2004.

SSL VPNs are already well-entrenched in the financial and business services industries and in the public sector. Driven by the need to ensure endpoint security for online services, the financial services industry can boast a 56% penetration rate, with business services just behind at 51%. In both cases, Whiteley predicts a compound annual growth of 34% to 2010 which, though impressive, pales beside the expected SSL VPN growth in late-adopting industries.

Indeed, Whiteley writes that retail and manufacturing are poised to leap into SSL VPN with gusto over the next few years. "Retail and wholesale allocates 7.8% of its IT spend to security — more than even financial services," he notes. "This vertical shows the most SSL VPN potential because of its eye toward security, relatively little penetration to date, and the need for large, distributed deployments — resulting in 82% annual market growth through 2010."

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