Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) virtual private network (VPN) products (better known as SSL VPNs) encrypt network connections to protect the confidentiality and integrity of communications between an individual device (servers, desktops, laptops and mobile devices) and a VPN gateway. Today, SSL VPN products are most often deployed as means to secure remote access connections, whereby a single SSL VPN server acts as a gateway by which many SSL VPN clients access the corporate network.
Any of the following SSL VPN security benefits may be sufficient to justify acquiring SSL VPN products: the addition of an another layer of authentication, the regular performance of security health checks of clients accessing organizational resources, and the employment of centralized access control for a variety of corporate resources. The latter implies centralized auditing and monitoring, which can be of particular importance if an SSL VPN grants access to sensitive resources, such as databases containing personally identifiable information and financial records.
The first step to take when deciding what the best SSL VPN product is to deploy (standalone appliance, virtual appliance, bundled, among others) is to become familiar with the criteria for evaluating and procuring SSL VPN technology. That way, when it comes time to select an SSL VPN product, an organization will be well-versed on what features and deployment model best match its IT environment and network security and communications protection needs.
With so many vendors offering products, however, choosing the best SSL VPN for your organization can be overwhelming. To help readers get started, here is a list of the best SSL VPN products on the market today.
Barracuda SSL VPN
The Barracuda SSL VPN comes in a number of different variations, with various hardware and virtual appliance models supporting between 15 and 1000 concurrent users. Supporting both clientless and Java-based browser plug-in options for SSL VPN clients, it is accessible from nearly every operating system and browser version. All the models above 25 concurrent users provide enterprise authentication and logging features, and all support network access control to enforce security policies on client devices. To learn more about Barracuda SSL VPN, read the full product overview.
Check Point Mobile Access Software Blade
The Check Point Mobile Access Software Blade is an SSL VPN compatible with a wide range of Check Point appliances. It supports four types of clients, which enables virtually any desktop or laptop, as well as mobile devices running iOS or Android, to use it. The SSL VPN supports multiple authentication products and features -- including single sign-on -- and it allows for enforcement of enterprise security policies on client devices. To learn more about the Check Point Mobile Access Software Blade, read the full product overview.
Cisco IOS SSL VPN
The Cisco IOS SSL VPN is available as a software feature to various Cisco router models. Intended for small and medium-sized organizations with 10 to 200 concurrent users, the Cisco IOS SSL VPN client software is comprised of a Windows executable and ActiveX and Java browser plug-ins. This means that the Cisco IOS SSL VPN is available from a wide variety of desktop and laptop operating systems, but not any mobile device operating systems. It also offers enterprise authentication integration and network access control features. To learn more about the Cisco IOS SSL VPN, read the full product overview.
Dell SonicWALL Secure Remote Access
Dell SonicWALL Secure Remote Access (SRA) comes in seven models that fit organizations of nearly every size, and up to 20,000 concurrent users for a single SRA appliance. Because SRA supports every possible type of SSL VPN client approach, it can be used by a wide variety of desktop, laptop and mobile operating systems and Web browsers. All models of SRA provide enterprise authentication integration, network access control and granular access controls to restrict access to sensitive systems, applications and data. To learn more about Dell SonicWALL SRA, read the full product overview.
Juniper Networks SA Series SSL VPN
The Juniper Networks SA Series SSL VPN offers hardware and virtual appliance options that can support organizations from small enterprises (with fewer than 100 concurrent users) to the largest enterprises. Juniper provides clientless and Java browser-based plug-in options, which makes the Juniper Network SA Series SSL VPN accessible from nearly any operating system and Web browser. The appliances also support typical authentication features and unusually rich and robust network access control capabilities. To learn more about the Juniper Networks SA Series SSL VPN, read the full product overview.
OpenVPN Access Server
The OpenVPN Access Server offers traditional software, virtualization-based and cloud-based products for implementing SSL VPN capabilities. It is scalable up to hundreds of thousands of concurrent users and natively supports Windows, Mac OS X and Linux client devices, as well as Android and iOS mobile devices. This open source software also enables the development of custom authentication solutions and supports RADIUS, LDAP and other common enterprise authentication deployments. To learn more about OpenVPN Access Server, read the full product overview.
Which is the best SSL VPN product for you?
All the SSL VPN products described in this article provide solid and secure SSL VPN connectivity. There is no clear leader among them, however. Which one to choose depends a lot on an individual organization's remote connectivity and communications security requirements and needs; for example, in terms of client software support and OS support, simultaneous user licensing and network access control.
Organizations should take all those elements and more into consideration when choosing the best SSL VPN product to buy and deployment model to employ. While all of the SSL VPN products covered in this article are considered first rate, some stand out more than others in specific environments.
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