Products of the Year 2007:

Secure remote access

Gold Award:

Cisco VPN 3000 Series Concentrator

Cisco VPN 3000 Series Concentrator

Cisco's VPN 3000 Series Concentrator continues to lead the secure remote access market, not only in the number of products shipped but also in customer satisfaction. "Cisco has become like IBM used to be in the computer industry--its products are viewed as the best choice because users know the company's future is rock solid," says Zeus Kerravala, vice president for enterprise computing and networking at the Yankee Group.

Cisco scored well with readers in four areas--authentication support; end user transparency and ease of use; investment ROI; and extensibility.

Authentication support has become an important issue in securing transactions, and warding off identity spoofing. "Cisco has been one of the companies leading movement to NAC (Network Access Control), which promises to make it easier for enterprises to authenticate remote users," says Pete Lindstrom, a senior analyst with Burton Group. NAC authenticates and checks on the health of systems as they attempt to connect to a corporate network.

One challenge for security administrators is deploying products that keep a company's data safe without hindering users' ability to function. The Cisco VPN 3000 Series Concentrator works with a variety of applications through its SSL VPN client for Web VPN. In addition, the company has done a good job in making its system easy to deploy. Its integrated, Web-based management system provides an interface for configuring and monitoring remote users. For remote access and site-to-site VPNs, ease of deployment is critical because technical personnel are often not available to configure the secure connections at remote sites. Cisco's Easy VPN solution pushes security policies to remote VPN devices, helping ensure that up-to-date policies are in place before a connection is established.

Readers gave Cisco high marks for ROI. Since it is the leading networking company, Cisco can spread its operating costs over a large customer base and lower product pricing. The concentrator platform does not add licensing costs for special features, such as a multidevice clustering that allows the remote access solution to scale as a business grows. Since both SSL and IPsec VPNs are available on one platform, customers can deploy parallel remote access infrastructures.

As the leading networking supplier, Cisco has garnered a stellar reputation for delivering products that meet customer needs. That success has migrated from its network equipment to its remote access security products.

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