RealTime IT News

Cisco Raises the Curtain on a New VPN Solution

Networking superpower Cisco Systems Inc. Monday rolled out a complete IPsec virtual private networking solution.

Based on the new Cisco VPN 5000 concentrator and client, the new VPN platform securely connects remote users and branches to their corporate networks and business partners. The VPN 5000 solution brings service providers a new revenue generating opportunity by allowing them to offer their customers a single, secure solution for both remote access and intranet and extranet VPNs from a variety of client platforms.

Just how important is a robust VPN? According to the Yankee Group, IP-based VPNs will be used by 70 percent of all companies for up to 90 percent of their data communications needs by 2003. Cisco's play Monday is consistent with its strategy to advance "New World" connectivity.

"By outsourcing VPN services, enterprises can focus on their core competencies while leaving the issues of installation, security, management to the service provider," said John Goodhue, vice president of Cisco's Aggregation Business Unit.

The Cisco VPN 5000 series includes three separate offerings to meet the needs of service providers and customers. The 5001 has been specifically designed for deployment on the customer's premise. The carrier-class 5002 and 5008 are modular platforms enabling service providers to scale their VPN offerings and provide a full range of global connectivity options.

The 5002 and 5008 are the first IPsec VPN solutions designed specifically for network-based IP VPN deployments. When placed at the edge of a service providers' network, the Cisco VPN 5002 and 5008 concentrators allow for both remote access and site-to-site access-saving significant time and money in implementing and managing the network.

Dale Jantzen, director of marketing for Cisco's Aggregation Business Unit, told InternetNews.com Monday that Cisco's strategy is in keeping with a trend of requests the powerhouse is fielding from service providers -- the much talked about "edge boundary" between service providers' networks and those of clients. He said enterprise customers are increasingly steering clear from administrative and management duties, opting instead to outsource such chores from infrastructure networking firms.

"This is the strategic location where value-added services are applied," Jantzen said. "There isn't a one size fits all solution."

Jantzen said Cisco did not develop the solutions in answer to competitors' offerings, "although we certainly pay attention to what our rivals do."

No, Jantzen said, Cisco listened to what its service providers were asking them for and did not develop the concentrators in response to anything rivals Nortel Networks or Lucent Technologies Inc.

"In all the hype and excitement, service providers are interested in defending their territory," Jantzen explained. "They want to assert themselves at the highest level."

Still, Jantzen noted that Cisco's chief rivals client-side offerings are, at best, weak or non-existent.

Electronic Data Systems, one of the world's largest IT outsourcers and the proud owner of a watershed five-year, $6.9 billion intranet contract with the Navy, recently chose the Cisco VPN 5000 solution for its flexibility.

"Today, we have more than 6000 remote IT professionals that use the EDS Remote Access Services VPN Solution daily," said Terry Milholland, chief information officer for EDS.

"We have smoothly added VPN services to our existing dedicated dial solution, leveraging our existing CiscoSecure authentication and accounting system, which now permits our remote access users to take advantage of cable modem and DSL broadband Internet access."

The Cisco VPN 5000 Concentrator Series is available now.

In related news, Cisco said it had souped up its carrier-class broadband aggre