New Software Eases VPN Administration

FRAMINGHAM (03/29/2000) - VPNet Technologies Inc. has overhauled its management, remote-client and operating system software to ease the administration and use of virtual private networks (VPN).

New features include a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol directory server to let network professionals assign VPN policies based on existing LDAP directory listings, freeing administrators from the chore of building separate directories of VPN users one by one.

VPNet also automated the management of encryption keys to make it easier for end users to set up secure IP tunnels, relieving help desks of the burden of walking users through the process of requesting and retrieving keys.

The features are some of the additions included in Version 3.0 of VPNet's VPNremote client and VPNmanager software, as well as VPNos, the operating system for the company's VPN VSU gateway.

The changes in the new software remove administrative work, says Mark Ashby, director of telecommunications for IMS Health, a health care market research firm in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, which uses VPNet equipment.

With LDAP support in VPNmanager, administrators can establish security profiles and distribute policy changes to groups of users.

Ashby says automating the client to make setting up secure VPN sessions is also key. Remote users don't want to know how the underlying security of the VPN tunnel is set up. They just want simple, secure access to the network resources they seek, he says.

VPNmanager 3.0 also grants administrators different privileges. For instance, one administrator might have rights to alter policies for groups of users.

Another might not have those rights but could add and delete names from the list of authorized VPN users.

VPNremote 3.0 includes automated encryption key management supported by the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) protocol, which is part of the IPSec standard for VPNs. IKE replaces simple key management protocol.

Changes to the client are designed to make installing and using clients as simple as possible. With Version 3.0, VPNremote users can download the software from a Web server as an executable file that installs the client.

To set up a tunnel, remote users connect their PC to the Internet, launch the client and enter their user name and password. The software automatically sets up a VPN tunnel with a centrally located VSU gateway through which that user's policy profile is downloaded from VPNet manager.

Available this month, VPNet has reduced the price of the client from $99 to $49 for individual licenses. VPNmanager comes in three versions: Small Office, $999; Enterprise, $4,995; and Service Provider, $19,995.

VPNet: www.vpn.com.

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