A Seattle vendor of remote access managed services wants Canadian resellers for its new virtual private network device.

Canada “”is one of the areas we’re focusing on,”” Sarah Daniels, vice-president of product management and marketing at Aventail Corp, said in an interview this week.


company has a country manager based in Richmond Hill, Ont. charged with finding resellers and integrators across the country. The company is set to announce new U.S. channel partners on Feb. 3.

Until recently, Aventail had been selling its secure socket layer (SSL) virtual private network (VPN) as a hosted service through Internet service providers to companies needing secure Internet access for remote workers or customers. But it is now offering companies the choice of buying an EX-1500 VPN appliance and running the application themselves.

“”Culturally, different companies like to purchase things in different ways,”” she explained of the new strategy. “”Some companies like to own hardware, others find outsourcing an IT function that isn’t a core competency is a better business decision.””

She also said selling hardware is another way of extending Aventail’s market.

Aventail not only wants partners to sell the device, Daniels said, it also hopes they will be able to sell integration services along with it.

The base version of the device costs US$24,000, which will handle 50 concurrent users. Buyers have the option of paying more for versions handling more concurrent users or higher security.

A virtual private network creates a secure session on the Internet. Some VPN products use the IPsec authentication and encryption protocol. However, it needs client software installed on a user’s computer, Daniels said. That means company staff have to devote time to install and configure software. It also restricts users to computers that have the client.

SSL-based VPNs use Internet-browser based security protocols and don’t need clients, Daniels said so users don’t have to lug laptops when they travel. They can, for example, access secure sites from Internet cafes or another person’s computer.

The more expensive versions of the EX-1500 can be configured to use Java applets for access to client-server applications or a Win32 agent for extra security, Daniels said.

The EX-1500 faces competition from SSL VPN products made by Neoteris Inc. and Netilla Networks, according to Yankee Group senior analyst Eric Ogren.

Sales of clientless VPNs are starting to increase because they are easier to install, configure and use, he said. “”It’s an early market for this type of technology, but it’s going in the right direction.””

SSL VPNs “”are going to be absolutely essential for small and medium businesses that don’t have IT staff to run around installing client software and to help train users,”” he said.

Daniels said Aventail is looking for partners with networking and security experience. “”We will make sure that in any given market that not more than two or three people are competing,”” she added.

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