Canadian firm offers software to avoid VPN costs

A Markham, Ont. company is promising to drastically drop the cost of secure Internet communications with a software platform it says is more efficient than virtual private networks.

Yo Inc.’s Visedge, launched in February of this year,

is designed to allow easy construction of secure private networks across the public Internet and to extend internal network resources to remote users.

The platform features two main selling points: automating connectivity and security processes and a secure public network that recycles network assets wherever possible.

The solution is something resellers can offer existing clients that can sit on top of existing technology, according Gregg Jorritsma, Yo’s director of channel sales. It is also, he said, an opportunity for resellers to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

“If you look at traditional virtual private network (VPN) solutions, there are thousands of them that sell these products,” he said, noting that a Visedge deployment is about one-third that of a VPN. “The possibility of eliminating some of the cost is very attractive.”

Joe DaSilva, vice president of sales for Mississauga, Ont’s IT4ce Inc., which signed on with Yo last week, sees real opportunity with VisEdge.

“From a reseller point of view, it’s going to give an opportunity to visit our customers and say, ‘Here’s a way you can reduce your total cost of ownership,’” he said.

Shelly Sofer, Yo’s marketing director said the case for secure remote network access has been made repeatedly in recent years.

“(With) the SARS outbreak, people had to work from home. With 9/11, everything went down. How do people work in case of an emergency?” he asked. “”If you’re out of the office 75% of the time, how do you stay productive?”

Features of the platform include automated PKI, distributed encryrption services that reduce bottlenecks, and allows IT staff to create profiles for different users of network applications.

“We provide a granular level of access to say Dr. So-and-So can access patient medical database whereas non-medical would be put into group where he could see file shares,”” said DaSilva.

To do this with a VPN, he said, would require more resources, in terms of both money and staff.

“It’s not like a VPN can’t do it. It can, but at a great admin cost and burden,” he said, adding IT staff account for 75 per cent of the cost of a VPN. “If VPNs are the solution, how come everyone doesn’t have them? It’s because it’s expensive.”

Despite the cost savings, Sofer said resellers and users need to be educated about VisEdge for the platform to take off.

“They don’t know Yo,” he said. “The market doesn’t know Visedge yet. Another thing is we’re introducing a new technology that needs to be understood and appreciated. It’s a question of awareness as well.”

While DaSilva is waiting to see the results of installations before rendering a final verdict on VisEdge, he suggested the product could find many fans.

“Any time we talk about VPNs, we call it Very Painful Networking,” he said. “We’ve been constantly looking for an alternative.”

IT4ce is one of only a few of resellers currently featuring Visedge. Jorritsma said Yo is in discussion with another six resellers and hopes to expand to the U.S. market sometime next year, though plans are to keep VisEdge in something of a niche market.

“We don’t want to get into a situation where we have a commodity product,” he said.


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