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Check Point adds VPN hardware

Check Point Software groups its virtual private network offerings into a new product line and adds a VPN hardware device available in four versions.

Check Point Software today grouped its virtual private network (VPN) offerings into a new product line and added a VPN hardware device available in four versions.

The VPN-1 family of five products includes both software and hardware for linking remote users to a home or office or connecting two sites securely over the Internet.

Check Point, which had previously declared itself the VPN market's leader, said today it has sold VPN software to 8,500 sites. Check Point's VPN-1 family can be controlled from the same Check Point console that manages its FireWall-1 software installed throughout an enterprise.

The VPN appliance, called RemoteLink, is priced from $2,995. It was developed with Nokia IP, a company resulting from Nokia's December acquisition of Ipsilon Networks, a router manufacturer. The appliance comes in four configurations for different-sized companies.

Yankee Group analyst Matthew Kovar noted that TimeStep has a similar VPN appliance--based on Check Point's firewall technology--but so far Check Point rival Cisco Systems hasn't announced a VPN appliance.

"I don't think it's that much of a leap for Cisco to offer this technology," he added. But today's announcement, he said, puts Check Point's VPN products ahead of Network Associates' and Axent Technologies', two Check Point rivals in firewalls.

"Nobody has the fundamental components to do all of this on their own," Kovar added, noting the frequent partnering in the network security field.

Check Point's VPN-1 family also includes VPN-1 Software, which bundles the VPN capabilities with Check Point's flagship FireWall-1 4.0. Previously Check Point sold, for about $5,000, a VPN add-on to its basic firewall software.

The line includes Check Point's existing SecuRemote client encryption software, still available without charge, and, as an option, a previously announced cryptographic accelerator card from Chrysalis ITS for Sun Solaris and Windows NT. The card accelerates both DES and Triple DES data encryption.

Check Point also will sell shrink-wrapped certificate authority (CA) software called Certificate Manager, a full public key infrastructure (PKI) offering licensed from Entrust Technologies.

RemoteLink, the VPN appliance, is priced from $2,995 and will ship next month in the United States. The VPN-1 Software is available now starting at $2,495, and the SecuRemote client encryption software is shipping now for free. VPN-1 Certificate Manager and VPN-1 Accelerator Card will be available in the fourth quarter of 1998. No pricing was announced.