Setting up secure network connections for remote workers can be an overwhelming task for a small business. Even mid-sized businesses struggle to provide and maintain secure network connections for employees located in different offices.
This is where a virtual private network can help. Setting up VPN access is a far more affordable solution than some small business owners might think. VPNs are a practical alternative to old-fashioned mainframe computer networking systems and wide area networks. Yet VPNs offer all of the same benefits mainframe computing once offered secure remote access to geographically dispersed staff and facilities.
Unfortunately, deploying VPN access is a bit tricky. It takes a measure of networking know-how to setup and maintain a secure VPN. If only someone could make deploying a VPN as simple as hooking up a plug-and-play device. Then small businesses could really tap into this efficient, secure networking technology. This is just what ClearPath Networks had in mind when in developed its SNAP VPN product lineup.
ClearPath Networks is a leading provider of managed network solutions. Led by a team of telecommunications, Internet and managed networking services experts, ClearPath recently debuted its SNAP VPN appliances. These devices offer comprehensive enterprise-class network security capabilities, but are designed specifically for small- to medium-sized businesses.
Michael Suby, Stratecast Partners research program manager, said that the small- to medium-size business market is typically underserved by advanced networking vendors.
"Despite its sheer size encompassing nearly 8 million companies, the SMB market has historically been underserved. With budget limitations and little to no dedicated IT staff, SMBs have been forced to make compromises on their network security," Suby said. "By channeling its SMB experience and home-grown technology into a multi-functional security appliance, ClearPath Networks is empowering SMBs to have the level of network security they otherwise could not afford."
The result of ClearPath's efforts is that small businesses now have a complete set of network security services site-to-site and remote access VPN, firewall, content filtering, anti-virus scanning, intrusion detection and prevention as well as network management, reporting, and network monitoring in a simple plug-and-play device.
Cliff Young, ClearPath Networks president and chief executive officer, said the SMB market is the fuel that drives the economic engine in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing segments of every industry.
"In order to sustain that growth, it is crucial to utilize enhanced network services and security to help protect the market segment," Young said. "However, until now, the only option has been expensive and complex enterprise solutions. As a result, businesses typically haven't deployed the services they need. SNAP VPN will change this paradigm."
SNAP VPN acts as an extension of ClearPath's managed network services and intelligent network core. In the past, this level of secure VPN access was only available to enterprises that contracted with ClearPath to provide high-speed connectivity. Now, this caveat is no longer required and small businesses are free to connect people and plants via ClearPath's SNAP VPN appliances.
This means small businesses can create an ideal platform for delivering hosted applications or developing an enterprise-class wide area network. SNAP VPN also offers small businesses a broad range of services in a single affordable package that is delivered at the one of the lowest costs in the marketplace.
ClearPath's new family of VPN appliances consists of the 1200 and 1400 series supporting 10 concurrent encrypted VPN tunnels and 25 concurrent users via 30 VPN tunnels, respectively.
SNAP VPN is affordable because ClearPath offers small businesses usage-based pricing. This allows the small businesses to take advantage of enterprise-class technology at an affordable rate. Per user pricing starts at $49 a month and these fees are discounted as additional users are added.
Upfront costs are minimized because set up and installation charges are not applicable. ClearPath's SNAP VPN equipment starts at $595 for the 1200 series and $895 for the 1400 series. Financing programs are available to enable a zero up front cost solution. For small businesses, this means SNAP VPN is simple to setup and maintain and highly affordable.
Because SNAP VPN's guiding mantra is simplicity; each appliance is designed to self-install within minutes of being plugged in behind a bridge, modem or router Internet gateway. Services are then automatically downloaded from ClearPath's private network core to deliver instant security and network management on demand.
By providing a monthly support service to deliver virus definitions updates, new intrusion detection profiles, expanded content filtering URLs, and unlimited firewall rule changes, ClearPath has eliminated the risks associated with maintaining and updating security profiles, vastly simplifying the entire process.
SNAP VPN delivers much more than a string of disparate security services bundled into a single appliance. SNAP stands for Secure Network Access Platform which is exactly what it provides. All services are managed through SNAP View, a web-based management application. This makes it possible for small businesses to monitor and control an entire network security solution easily and effectively.
According to AMI, a global SMB research firm, only 425,000 small businesses and 67,000 medium businesses currently use VPN technology. These numbers are projected to increase to almost 1.75 million for small businesses and 104,000 for mid-sized businesses by 2008.
So it's not so much a matter of will your small business deploy a VPN? It's more a matter of when you will deploy a VPN and which vendor will your small business choose? Clearly, ClearPath's SNAP VPN devices are worthy of an evaluation.