- 16 September 2004 12:51
META Group Evaluates SSL Virtual Private Network Market, Predicts Rapid Rise of Large Networking and Security Incumbents
SYDNEY, Australia. Sept. 16, 2004 - As part of its ongoing effort to help users evaluate vendor offerings, META Group (Nasdaq:METG) today announced the availability of a METAspectrumSM report on the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) virtual private network (VPN) market. SSL VPNs enable users to access individual applications via a Web browser. Administrators can determine access by application, rather than providing access to the entire network. To date, SSL VPNs are predominantly used by an organization's own employees; however, deployments encompassing extranet access are increasingly common.
According to META Group, maintaining differentiation, at least in the core technical areas of access and security, will become difficult in the next 12-18 months. This will force a shift to presence-oriented criteria, ultimately favoring larger, more diversified vendors, and relegating all but the topmost of the smaller, pure-play vendors to perennial "niche provider" status.
"We expect the larger incumbents from the networking and security markets to continue making significant headway, which will come at the expense of many of the smaller, independent players," said Mark Bouchard, senior program director at META Group. "To some extent, we are already seeing signs of this transition occurring, with some organizations opting to hold off on investments until their favorite or incumbent networking/security vendor can provide a more capable SSL VPN solution."
META Group analysts note that SSL VPNs are already capable of delivering great value to organizations and have even further upside potential going forward. Benefits and opportunities to the organization include reduced cost of ownership from not having to deploy and manage client software, increased productivity from being able to economically extend secure remote access capabilities, and a greater degree of security compared to most alternatives.
Nevertheless, vendors in this market offer a widening scope of features and significant variation in terms of actual depth (or quality) of related capabilities. META Group therefore recommends buyers proceed cautiously in their selection process, taking the following key steps:
1. Clearly establish how factors such as the type of application being accessed, browser make/type, and client operating system can impact the applicability of available access modes and security features.
2. Conduct a detailed pilot/testing period prior to wide-scale investment and implementation.
3. Inquire about and give appropriate credit for competitors' future plans, since SSL VPNs remain a rapidly evolving technology.
"From a technology evolution standpoint, we expect significant emphasis to remain on establishing greater degrees of accessibility to applications, particularly without having to resort to full network connections," said Bouchard. "However, with the onset of widespread adoption and large-scale deployments during the next two years, the critical requirements will become scalable management functions and greater system performance/capacity. As with most other security solutions, vendors that best balance security effectiveness, performance, and manageability -- and in this case, accessibility to applications as well -- will be positioned to dominate the market."
About METAspectrum META Group's METAspectrumSM methodology provides a framework for evaluating or selecting an appropriate IT vendor or product, simplifies the decision process, and enables more effective technology investments. META Group's research efforts, which adhere to META Group's commitment to objectivity, are conducted independently, based on industry best-practice research methodologies and subject to the highest levels of review by META Group's research community. To learn more about METAspectrum, visit metagroup.com/metaspectrum.
About META Group
META Group is a leading provider of information technology research, advisory services, and strategic consulting. Delivering objective and actionable guidance, META Group's experienced analysts and consultants are trusted advisors to IT and business executives around the world. Our unique collaborative models and dedicated customer service help clients be more efficient, effective, and timely in their use of IT to achieve their business goals. Visit metagroup.com for more details on our high-value approach.
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