The company confirmed that it plans to announce that it will offer an upgrade to the Cisco VPN 3000 Concentrator to add SSL network functionality.
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Traditional virtual private networks have used a technology known as Internet protocol security (IPSec) to secure telecommuter and remote-office connections to the main corporate network. That method requires that each telecommuter has specialized software installed on his or her PC. SSL-based VPNs can use the software already built into major Internet browsers and thus companies can forgo the administrative hassle of setting up every user with new software.
"We really see this as extending the remote access capabilities of our products," Scott Pope, manager of VPN technologies for Cisco, told CNET News.com. "It makes a lot of sense to have both built on the same box."
Pope sees the two types of secure access as addressing specific types of users.
"An IPSec user is a power user that stays connected for a long time, while the SSL user is the more occasional user," Pope said. "IPSec lets users work just like they were sitting on the (corporate network). SSL VPNs are a little bit different, as they are geared more toward users who want to access specific applications."
In addition to requiring no other software besides a modern Web browser, virtual private networks based on SSL can be accessed from a variety of operating systems, including Windows, the Mac OS and Linux.
Cisco is the latest networking company to add browser-based access to corporate VPNs as a feature in its products.
In October, security software company for $25 million for its SSL virtual private network (VPN) technology. The deal came after network security company, a major provider of the same VPN technology.
Network security provider, which makes encryption hardware that enables SSL networks, a similar product to those Neoteris and SafeWeb sell.
Cisco users will be able to upgrade their devices with the next service pack available to subscribers of the company's maintenance plan.