Virtual private networks (VPNs) set up secure connections across the public Internet using encryption and other security technologies. However, encryption algorithms require a lot of computing power that can slow the performance. With the crypto accelerator cards, the crypto processing is handled off the computer's main processor.
"With standards like IPSec and IKE coming down the pike, people have more need to off-load the encryption functions, keeping the VPN solution running quickly," said Check Point spokeswoman Alison Green. The two companies signed a joint development agreement in February.
Added Steven Baker, CEO of Chrysalis-ITS: "For anyone with a high speed network, it's a very attractive product." His firm will market versions of the customized hardware not only to other VPN vendors but also to Check Point partners.
Cisco Systems, Check Point's biggest competitor, also sells the Ravlin hardware accelerator from RedCreek with Cisco's PIX firewall. The new Ravlin technology also works with remote access software from Secure Computing.
The VPN-1 Accelerator Card, which comes as a PCI card for Sun Solaris and Windows NT machines, is sold as part of Check Point's VPN-1 product family. It is the second piece of VPN hardware sold by Check Point, which since August has distributed the RemoteLink VPN appliance from Nokia IP's Ipsilon security unit under Check Point's brand.
The card, priced at $3,995, will be available next month in North America and elsewhere early next year from Check Point's resellers, distributors, and ISPs.
Separately, Check Point announced today with certificate authority software vendor Entrust Technologies that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is utilizing both companies' technologies for a VPN-based criminal justice information system.