SSL-based remote access offered as a service

FRAMINGHAM (10/28/2003) - TManage is introducing a managed SSL remote-access service, based on equipment made by Neoteris Inc., for customers that don't want the hassle of setting up the equipment themselves and maintaining it.

Managed Clientless VPN Service calls for placing a Neoteris Instant Virtual Extranet (IVE) appliance at each customer site, where it acts as a go-between that terminates SSL sessions from remote computers connecting over the Internet and splices the connection to servers on a LAN.

Remote users then connect to the IVE via Web browser, eliminating the need for installing and managing remote client software. This also makes it possible for virtually any Web-connected computer to access corporate networks.

The SSL service augments other managed services offered by TManage such as broadband Internet access, IPSec VPNs, and managed personal firewalls.

Once an SSL remote-access appliance is set up, it requires little management, so the service makes sense only if a customer is buying several of these services from the provider, says Eric Paulak, vice president of the Gartner Group. That way, customers can offload a number of administrative and management chores at once, he says. TManage, however, contends that setting up an appliance is not necessarily easy.

With the SSL service in place, customers can make changes to policies and access lists by placing requests with TManage via a Web portal. TManage then agrees to make the changes within a certain period guaranteed by a service-level agreement.

From a cost standpoint, TManage recommends the service for customers that have more than 1,000 remote users. Before that number, IPSec VPN remote access makes more sense, TManage says.

AT&T Corp. offers a managed SSL remote-access service based on Aventail Corp. SSL equipment, and Aventail offers a managed service of its own.

Setting up the IVE at the customer site costs US$4,000, and the monthly fee is $30 per user. The provider says it will consider discounts for large-volume customers. The service is available now.

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