Firm gets Edge on VPN deployment

Dealing with the complexity and configuration of the implementation of a virtual private network (VPN) is a headache many network administrators would prefer to do without. For businesses looking to deploy secure private connections without a roll-out headache, VisEdge may just be the aspirin-like cure they need.

Late last year, Toronto-based network convergence software company launched its VisEdge Secure Private Network (SPN) platform and family of integrated applications. The company said it takes care to ensure that VisEdge not be mistaken for a VPN solution. According to, an SPN seamlessly integrates four network architectures – secure remote intranet access, dynamic extranets, managed services and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks – into one platform. The SPN allows users to access network-based resources as though they were located on their desktops, regardless of whether the worker is operating remotely or locally. The company added that VisEdge users can set up a secure gateway to their partners and customers to enable resource sharing across different companies.

“With VisEdge, we are using the existing (network) authentication agents in a very secure manner,” said John MacKinnon, CEO of “One we’ve authenticated the machine and the user through whatever authentication agents in existence, we then terminate the connection on any device that the administrator chooses. Because we have a more distributed type of security capture, it is much more difficult for an intruder to get through any single point of access.”

MacKinnon added that the platform includes five product offerings. VisEdge.Intranet and VisEdge.Enterprise are used primarily for remote access and collaboration within a single company. VisEdge.Extranet allows a gateway from one company to have a trusted relationship with a gateway from another company for collaborative work. VisEdge.Peer-to-Peer allows employees to access the Internet securely without having to be routed through the network; and VisEdge.Net offers a software development kit to allow service providers to integrate into the platform as if it were a software solution.

The applications self-install on a user’s desktop and fit together to give a seamless view of the corporation’s networks, the company said, adding that the solution provides a lower total cost of ownership by automating complex processes including digital certificate management, client software distribution and access list generation.

According to Salvatore Salamone, principal consultant and founder of New York-based Salamone Research, most usage of VPNs has been as a replacement for dialling directly back to the company. He said that when used in a remote scenario, employees leverage the Internet to get at applications and it acts as a low-cost secure way of connecting to a company network.

This has proved useful for Toronto-based Accolade Group, a garment decoration company, which has been using the VisEdge solution since October, 2001. According to Accolade Chief Financial Information Officer Harvey Ngo, the company was looking for external access to the company’s networks to allow remote offices access to internal files, and to give employees access to their desktops to effectively work from home.

“We also wanted our clients to have a secure way to submit artwork to us for embellishment on their garments because of the issues of security with e-mail,” Ngo said.

Ngo added that Accolade wanted a solution that was out-of-the-box and easy to set up. He said that opting for a VPN would have forced Accolade to hire on an experienced network operator to set up.

“Before VisEdge, my idea of a VPN was setting up two NT boxes, setting up a gateway and away we go,” he said. “VisEdge is secure all the way down to the client that is accessing it.”

Salamone agreed and said that the VisEdge platform is ideal for what Accolade needed.

“At Accolade they are working with outside people doing collaborative-type work where they need to share very large files,” he said. “A lot of times when it is collaboration work, security is the prime issue. They don’t want to rely on sending over the Internet unprotected.”

The VisEdge platform and VisEdge.Intranet are available now. VisEdge.Enterprise and VisEdge.Extranet are expected to ship Q1 2002. For more information, visit