Taking VPN routes to the Edge

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 Yo.net launched its VisEdge Secure Private Network (SPN) platform and family of integrated applications.

According to Yo.net, 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 Yo.net. “Once 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.”

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.

According to Salvatore Salamone, principal consultant and founder of New York-based Salamone Research, VPNs have mostly been used as replacements 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.

“The VisEdge stuff does some of that,” Salamone said. “Where the VisEdge seems really interesting is in giving people access to their files already on the network. But you don’t get access to applications like e-mail.”

That has not proved to be a problem 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. 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.

For more information, visit www.yo.net.