With its customers demanding more access to their office applications while on the road or away from their desks, Citrix knew it needed a way to provide a single point of access for getting information, content data and voice from anywhere, anytime, over any device. To achieve this goal, Citrix acquired Net6 last December.

Security also played a large role in the acquisition of the company. The ‘last mile’ has always been a problem to service providers in getting information to their clients not only from a connectivity standpoint but from a security one as well.

“We specifically chose Net6 after looking at a lot of vendors for a few reasons. One is it gives us an immediate product out of the gate to fit into our access infrastructure suite products and that is their SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Access Gateway. That is what we envision as that single point of access to fit into our product line,” said Tom Craig, the senior director of product marketing for the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Citrix Systems Inc. He added the SSL acccess gateway is allowing Citrix to bridge the best of the SSL VPN and IPsec worlds.

Iain Grant, managing director of SeaBoard Group in Montreal, said information security in the ‘last mile’ has been overlooked by many because they have been always concerned about information security in the core of the network. “But that job has been done, now it is time to move further down to the periphery.”

What the SSL Access Gateway offers is its ability to fully intergrate into Citrix’s Metaframe presentation server (where all of a company’s applications and content reside instead of on individual desktop hard drives). This will allow users secure access at the ‘last mile’ of their private resources to any location and to any type of device or operating system being used. Craig believes the acquisition of Net6 helps them with the security of the ‘last mile’ and delivers content in a secure way. He added the deal also immediately broadens the list of applications Citrix can support, which he said is virtually any application and any content source.

According to Brian Madden, an independent industry analyst based in Washington D.C. who has been watching Citrix since 1998, this deal could not have come soon enough. “The fact Citrix is going to buy an SSL VPN company, that is a no brainer. [It is something they needed]. Everyone knew that it was going to happen at some point it was just which one are they going to buy.”

The US$50 million deal not only gives Citrix Net6’s SSL Access Gateway but the firm also acquires Net6’s Application Gateway, that will provide voice security, and voice office suite, which provides applications to IP and soft phones. These two solutions give Citrix access to the Voice over IP (VoIP) field. “VoIP is really a hot market. It is part of our access vision and it also allows us to be a leader in this market from a VoIP standpoint,” said Craig.

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