SonicWall Inc. is adding something new to its bag of VPN tricks: support for digital certificates that authenticate users for the purpose of exchanging encryption keys used to secure Internet connections.
In conjunction with VeriSign Inc., which specializes in digital certificates, SonicWall has developed software for its VPN appliances that automates setting up digital certificate exchanges. SonicWall calls the new capability Trusted VPN, and it will be available on its SOHO, DMZ, XPRES, PRO and PRO-VX VPN appliances and gateways.
Before, if SonicWall customers wanted to use digital certificates, the certificate support had to be integrated separately, a complicated process which many companies could not handle owing to a lack of expertise.
The VPN boxes will be able to exchange certificates with other SonicWall gateways to establish that each is authorized to use the VPN. Based on that authorization, the machines can be issued encryption keys used to encode traffic.
As part of the digital certificate support, SonicWall will act as a certificate authority, issuing and revoking digital certificates so customers don't have to set up their own authorities or seek a third party.
With the addition of Trusted VPN, SonicWall gear is now capable of establishing secure Internet VPNs, supplying firewalls, screening for viruses and blocking access to Internet sites. In adding features, SonicWall has teamed with partners such as Network Associates Inc. for antivirus software and The Learning Company for content filtering.
In the future, Sonic wall will team with other vendors to add intrusion detection and bandwidth management support, says Larry Woodard, SonicWall's director of product marketing. The company also plans to add security auditing to its VPN packages, he says.
More power, same price
In another area, SonicWall plans within the next 45 days to boost the processing power of its SOHO VPN hardware to bring about a tenfold improvements in firewall and VPN performance. Base price will remain $500.