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Pulse Connect Secure offers a variety of authentication options

Expert Karen Scarfone takes a look at the Pulse Connect Secure series of SSL VPNs for securing the connection between clients and networks through encrypted tunnels.

Pulse Connect Secure is a series of hardware-based and virtual appliances that provide SSL VPN capabilities. These appliances support secure remote access to an organization's computing resources from a variety of client devices, including desktops, laptops and mobile devices.

Secure remote access protects network communications from foreign eavesdropping and tampering. These threats are present every day on unprotected networks such as the internet and Wi-Fi hotspots.

Pulse Connect Secure appliances allow for up to 2,500 users

There are four Pulse Secure Appliance (PSA) hardware models for Pulse Connect Secure:

  • PSA300, up to 200 concurrent users;
  • PSA3000, up to 200 concurrent users (has more hard drive storage than the PSA300);
  • PSA5000, up to 2,500 concurrent users; and
  • PSA7000, up to 25,000 concurrent users.

Pulse Connect Secure also offers a virtual appliance that can handle up to 10,000 concurrent connections per instance.

Client and authentication support for Pulse Connect Secure

SSL VPN client software can take any of four approaches: clientless, browser plug-in, stand-alone executable and mobile app. Pulse Connect Secure supports three of these approaches: clientless, browser plug-in (Java-based) and stand-alone executable. This means that Pulse Connect Secure can be used with clients that run nearly any operating system or web browser.

Pulse Connect Secure products support a variety of authentication options, including integration with enterprise cryptographic tokens (both hardware and software-based), smart cards and digital certificates. Extensive single sign-on capabilities are also available.

In terms of access control, Pulse Connect Secure offers typical network access control features, such as checking client devices for the presence of security software (e.g., personal firewalls, antivirus software), ensuring that the operating system is fully patched and verifying a client-based digital certificate to ensure the device is authorized for remote access. In addition, Pulse Connect Secure also offers granular access control for individual users or for groups of users, restricting access to sensitive enterprise resources (servers, applications, files and so on).

For the Pulse Connect Secure products, licenses for additional concurrent users can be added for a fee. Surge licensing known as In Case of Emergency is also available to temporarily increase the number of concurrent users during emergencies.

Pulse Connect Secure offers hardware-based and virtual appliance options that can support organizations from small enterprises, with fewer than 100 concurrent users, to the largest enterprises, with an essentially unlimited number of concurrent users. Pulse Connect Secure provides clientless, Java browser-based plug-in and stand-alone executable client options, which make it accessible to nearly any operating system or web browser.

The appliances also support unusually rich and robust network access control and authentication capabilities. Because of the sizing options and feature set, Pulse Connect Secure offers viable solutions for enterprises of any size, even large service providers.

Next Steps

Check out the other SSL VPN products covered in this series: Barracuda SSL VPN, Check Point Mobile Access Software Blade, Cisco IOS SSL VPN, Dell SonicWALL Secure Remote Access and OpenVPN Access Server.

Introduction to SSL VPN products in the enterprise

Learn about the three enterprise benefits of SSL VPN products

Find out about the criteria for selecting the right SSL VPN products

Comparing the top SSL VPN products

This was last published in March 2017

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Is Juniper Networks SA Series right for your organization? Why or why not?
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Is Pulse Connect Secure right for your organization? Why or why not?
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Honestly, why are you writing about a dead product? If you do not purchase an entirely new 'Pulse Secure' appliance to replace your SA 4500 by sometime in the second quarter of 2016 then you'll lose all enterprise support! Lets have an article about that!
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