Watchguard’s Firebox offers SSL VPN to SMEs

Watchguard’s Firebox offers SSL VPN to SMEs

WATCHGUARD Technologies has crashed the secure sockets layer virtual private network (SSL VPN) party with an appliance it says is the first designed specifically for the SME market.

The company says its Firebox SSL Core VPN gateway offers professional-grade features at a price that is in reach of small to medium-sized businesses.

And unlike a similar product by competitor Sonicwall, which will be released later this year, Watchguard’s offering is already available, says Sven Radavics, Watchguard’s Sydney-based Australia New Zealand sales director.

Although the box is new, Radavics says it is built on proven technology — a combination of Watchguard’s Firebox hardware platform and Citrix’s Access Gateway.

“It is based on a proven solution that has three years’ worth of maturity and has already been deployed globally. Our hardware has been out for about two years, so it is also proven and mature,” he says.

“Our channel can be confident in selling this product from day one and know it is backed by one of the biggest software companies in the world — Citrix.”

The product opens SSL technology to SMEs, says Radavics.

“We have taken best-of-breed, almost enterprise-class features and packaged them in a way that is perfect for the mid-market,” he says.

SSL technology, a protocol for managing the security of a message transmission on the internet, is ideal for SMEs, because of its lower cost of ownership and ease to manage, says Radavics.

However, it has primarily been adopted by enterprise-sized organisations, as it has traditionally been expensive.

In most cases the Firebox SSL Core appliance costs a third of the price of offerings from Aventail and F5 Networks, but with very competitive features, says Radavics.

The new product provides secure, always-on remote access to core applications through an auto-updating, web-deployed client and combines the benefits of SSL and IPSec technology, says Radavics.

“It provides complete network access and gives that true in-office experience,” he says.

The box caters for up to 205 concurrent users and has two access modes: Secure Access client and Kiosk.

In the Secure Access client mode, users can access any application or network resource, while in Kiosk mode they can securely access web-based network resources from any browser that supports SSL.

The recommended retail pricing for the Firebox SSL Core VPN gateway starts at $4,473 ex GST, which includes a five tunnel pack licence and a three-month subscription to the Watchguard LiveSecurity Service.

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