Remote access is a necessity in today's global workplaces, enabling distributed workforces and on-the-go employees to securely log into corporate networks as needed --from just about any device they choose. VPNs that provide secure remote access are a critical aspect of any enterprise security strategy, making access to corporate data and systems available to authorized employees, while allowing organizations to maintain the information security they desperately need.
The key functionality organizations should look for in remote access products is their ability to enable two-factor authentication. "The VPN is a very attractive target for attackers," says Rick Holland, principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc., in Cambridge, Mass. "If your employees don't have strong passwords and you're not using two-factor authentication, it's really easy for attackers to get remote access to your environment."
The two winners in this year's Readers' Choice Awards in the Remote Access category received high marks for their ability to provide secure access for road warriors and at-home workers alike.
Winner: Barracuda SSL VPN, Barracuda Networks Inc.
The Barracuda SSL VPN from Barracuda Networks ranked as one of this year's top products. Available as hardware or a virtual appliance, Barracuda SSL VPN offers clientless remote access, providing access from any Web browser rather than relying strictly on client software that must be installed on each remote machine and device. Standard features, including network access control and remote desktop, are combined with enterprise necessities --such as mobile device support, single sign-on capabilities, and more -- to put this appliance at the top of our readers' scorecards.
Barracuda offers six models, ranging from the low-end SSL VPN 180, which supports up to 15 users, to the high-end SSL VPN 880 for up to 1,000 users. For extra security, the Barracuda SSL VPN series also provides antimalware scanning of uploaded files, granular access policies, cache cleaning and more. Users are identified and authorized using hardware tokens, LDAP, RADIUS and built-in or third-party multifactor authentication.
While the company touts the product's ability to quickly and reliably connect remote workers to corporate resources, what readers thought was really outstanding about the Barracuda SSL VPN is its vendor service and support. Readers also commended its end-user transparency, ease of use and ROI.
In April, Barracuda Networks released Barracuda SSL VPN v. 2.5, augmenting the product with private cloud support for mobile workers who are using Android, iOS and Windows devices.
Winner: Endpoint Remote Access VPN Software Blade, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.
Given its gold placement last year, it's no surprise to see Check Point's VPN Software Blade once again bringing home top honors with our readers. They liked how the product integrates with their existing infrastructures and its transparency to end users, but what they gave highest marks to was the product's authentication support, namely its multifactor authentication. Options for authentication include traditional username and passwords, challenge and response, User Certificate and CAPI, software or hardware smartcards and one-time tokens.
The Check Point Endpoint Remote Access VPN Software Blade supports full IPsec VPN connectivity and comes with a VPN auto-connect feature. The product is integrated into Check Point's Software Blade Architecture and is centrally managed by the Endpoint Policy Management Software Blade, which allows administrators to control all security functions via a single console.
Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.