March 5, 2004

Smoothwall previews low cost alternative to SSL VPN

Craig Brophy writes
"March 3rd 2004 Internet security specialist SmoothWall Ltd is today previewing the latest version of its Virtual Private Network (VPN) module, SmoothTunnel 3.1, which will be released in early April. The module, which includes support for Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP), will enable companies to install a secure VPN for mobile computing users, at less than half the cost of a typical Secure Socket Layer (SSL) VPN system.

According to new Datamonitor research, global enterprise investment in firewall and VPN solutions will reach almost $6bn in 2007, double that of 2003*. This prediction is in response to an increase in home working and the push for mobility and access anywhere-anytime. But with the average price of a SSL VPN being in the region of £5000 for a 50 user system, how can smaller companies afford to implement such technology? SmoothTunnel 3.1 is the answer. It provides a secure, low cost alternative to a SSL and IPSec VPNs for mobile users at a price that is affordable to companies and organisations of all sizes.

Smaller companies are realising they face the same security implications as their large counterparts. But if they are going to meet the growing cultural change towards working from home and working off-site, then they are going to have to implement a VPN which is secure but does not cost the earth, said George Lungley, managing director of SmoothWall Ltd. Our L2TP VPN solution is a great low cost, simple, reliable and protocol independent VPN solution, suitable for all types of companies. It is easy to set up, install and manage like an SSL VPN solution, yet as it establishes a true network to network connection like IPSec, all standard internet protocols and applications work without the need for complex protocol and application specific software in the VPN gateway.

SmoothTunnel 3.1 is a Linux-based VPN which allows remote workers to create a secure VPN tunnel, through the internet, to their office network, giving them full access to file, print, web, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and email servers. The L2TP connection can be used in Remote Gateway mode where all Internet traffic is routed through the VPN Gateway (i.e. SmoothTunnel). This ensures users adhere to the same strict policies, which users have to use in the office, such as web content filtering, internet access control and anti-virus. As an added bonus, whilst the L2TP tunnel is running in Remote Gateway mode, the user will be protected from any external hackers, because their PC will not respond to any traffic not routed via the VPN Gateway.

Highlights of SmoothWalls L2TP solution include:

· Affordable: Lower cost than a SSL VPN or an IPSec Windows client solution;

· Simple configuration: Much easier to configure than a standard IPSec Windows client and no more difficult than a SSL VPN;

· Secure: Due to the use of 3DES data encryption and x509 certificate authentication;

· Protocol/Application Independent: Works with all common IP protocols. SSL VPN involves the use of very complex proxies so can be demanding to set-up at the gateway end;

· Increased connection support: The Windows PC running L2TP can use any internet connection from an analogue dial-up modem (at 9600 Baud upwards), through to GSM and GPRS mobile phones, up to high-speed broadband and leased line connections;

· Remote access: With SmoothTunnel, all standard facilities on the central site network, such as file; print; web; FTP and email servers, can be accessed remotely. It is even possible to play streaming audio or video traffic or use Voice over IP applications like Microsoft NetMeeting over the L2TP connection.

The L2TP client software is included as standard with Windows 2000 and XP operating systems and is available as a free-of-charge download for Windows 98 or ME. SmoothWall is providing a simple Windows utility to configure the users L2TP network connection and import the x509 security certificates that are used to authenticate the connection.

SmoothTunnel is an add-on module for the SmoothWall Corporate Server firewall which converts a standard PC into a dedicated security appliance. SmoothTunnel Version 3.1 will be available from 5th April 2004 with a starting price of £200 for five users. Licenses for additional users can also be purchased to extend the VPN Gateway to support 50 or more concurrent users.

* Enterprise spend on firewall and VPN solutions to near $6 billion by 2007 Datamonitor press release, 19 February 2004

- Ends -

About SmoothWall Limited

SmoothWall Ltd. is an internet security software provider founded in 2001 to address the void in the security market between simple feature and user limited "black boxes" and "big iron" solutions from the major security vendors. With its specialist development team, SmoothWall has harnessed the technical expertise of the Open Source arena to develop a suite of firewall, virtual private network (VPN) and content filtering security solutions for education, SME and large corporate organisations.

Based in the United Kingdom, with offices in Leeds and Southampton, SmoothWall delivers global security solutions through a worldwide support network, with representation in the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Malaysia, Australia, Germany and across Europe. With a user base spanning home users, small business and non-profit organisations through schools and universities to major corporations, hundreds of thousands of networks rely upon SmoothWall protection. For more information visit: www.smoothwall.net.

For further information please contact:

Craig Brophy or Sarah-Anne Bray, Wildfire PR
Tel: 01932 783838
Email: craigb@wildfirepr.co.uk

Microsoft, Windows and NetMeeting are trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation."

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