With the proliferation of online connectivity, companies are now increasingly demanding web-based access tools that improve employee productivity, business agility and responsiveness.
Indeed, Web-based access is set to expand the availability of critical applications to internal employees and branch offices plus allow partners and customers to gain access to real-time data, integrating them into business processes.
Enabling the above is security technology, and more particularly, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) VPN technology which must not only deliver the means to securely connect users to the network but also determine how a user can connect and to which resources.
"What organisations require is a solution that provides both connectivity and network integrity while also addressing how business can effectively use its information,'' says Martin Tassev, managing director Loophold Security Distribution.
"We are at the next phase, if you will, where that fine balance between security and productivity needs to be maintained."
SSL VPNs is undoubtedly a feasible and effective way to enforce access to applications regardless of whether the user is on the LAN or the WAN.
However, achieving secure application availability requires a platform that can enforce control over application access based on user location and align access policies with business needs.
"Consistently publishing Web applications to the Internet to enable fully functional and policy-driven access requires specific knowledge on how an application functions and how actions are implemented," Tassev explains.
Microsoft refers to this ability – the understanding of how an application functions and the semantic dialogue between the browser, clients and server – as Application Intelligence.
Furthermore, this capability is based on the Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG) 2007's architecture, designed from the outset to classify, secure and manage application-layer flows between the client browser and downstream servers.
The reality is that without Application Intelligence, SSL VPNs cannot evolve to deliver strategic business capabilities.
Celestix' WSA SSL VPN appliance has been designed to balance security, application functionality and broad access.
The appliance features a network a network-layer firewall (Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2006) and a full SSL VPN, that deliver a policy-driven framework that unifies endpoint security, application access and access control in.
WSA scales to a nearly unlimited number of users, supporting up to 64 high-availability nodes in a single array, and enables administrators to define complex authentication schemas.
The platform supports multiple portals on a single gateway, enabling administrators to customize the user experience and create specific policy configurations for each portal.