According to research firm Gartner, SSL-VPNs will be the primary remote access method by 2008 for greater than 90 percent of casual employee access, more than three-fourths of contractors and more than two-thirds of business telecommuting employees.
SSL-VPNs offer the promise of easier access since all it typically involves from the end-user standpoint is a Web browser to access a corporate network.
SLL is broadly used as the security method of choice for online banking and other security-sensitive Internet applications.
In contrast, IPsec is seen as being more complex and resource-intensive, as it typically requires the end user to install a client to access a corporate network.
The Gartner report sites a number of other advantages to SSL-VPNs, including the fact that a unique IP address is not necessarily required to authenticate, and sessions may "roam" across IP addresses.
According to the report, Cisco is a leader in IPSec and a visionary in SSL-VPN. And Juniper and Aventail are the only two firms in Gartner's leader category for SSL-VPN.
Both Juniper and Cisco recently launched new SSL-VPN platforms for service providers.
Aventail said both legacy IPsec users and new remote-access users are moving to the new technology.
Lewis Carpenter, Aventail COO, explained that the primary barrier to SSL-VPN adoption is if a user already has a legacy implementation that's good enough and that they can live with. Carpenter argues, however, that most find that SSL-VPN reduces help desk costs and provides better granular access control among other benefits.
One issue that has come up in the past is the price differential between Ipsec- and SSL-VPN-based solutions.
An October study conducted by SSL-VPN vendor SonicWall reported that 80 percent of respondents thought that current SSL-VPN solutions were too expensive.
Nearly 50 percent of respondents did, however, indicate that they believed SSL-VPN to be a desirable option to have.