Ongoing concerns about the security of wireless networks and an increasing demand to be able to connect remotely to office and home networks has forced many people to look for a reasonably priced VPN solution. Virtual Private Networks use the Internet to establish a secure link between an external PC and a local network.Ongoing concerns about the security of wireless networks and an increasing demand to be able to connect remotely to office and home networks has forced many people to look for a reasonably priced VPN solution. Virtual Private Networks use the Internet to establish a secure link between an external PC and a local network.
It requires three things -- a gateway to the network, client software set up on the external PC or laptop and an independent Internet connection for the person using the VPN to connect to the network.
Secure Planet’s VPN is relatively straightforward to set up but requires some basic networking knowledge, administrator access to your LAN and the client and gateway software.
The gateway takes just a few minutes to install and set up, and once activated it will generate a ‘welcome memo’ over a secure link to the remote access users containing instructions on how to set up the client software and a verification matrix that enables initial enrolment to the network.
Remote users must create a profile using their windows login ID and password, and that profile, which is used for future connection to the network, is protected using a pass phrase rather than a password.
The two areas most likely to cause problems are your network firewall, which may require reconfiguring and the Internet connection on the remote PC, however, if you know your firewall you should not have too many difficulties in getting the two to work together because, unlike some VPNs, it requires only one type of traffic to be configured.
There is another more disconcerting problem that is not exclusive to SecurePlanet, nor can it be entirely blamed on the VPN software, but one laptop owners should be aware of. Intel’s Centrino technology can cause conflicts with VPNs in general. In the case of SecurePlanet, the conflict can disable the wireless networking capabilities of the Centrino. The best way around the problem is to ensure you have the latest version of SecurePlanet VPN, though even then the distributors suggest you don’t use wireless to connect to the Net but stick to a dial-up, ADSL, or cable connection.
While that is a disadvantage -- particularly as SecurePlanet advertises that it can be used over wireless -- the main issue is getting a secure remote link to your network, and that is quite easily achieved with a dial-up connection.
If you’re not using wireless, SecurePlanet is a good VPN system that is reasonably easy to use, and affordable for small business.
A good VPN package that is fairly straightforward to use, and won’t break the bank.
• BCW Advanced Technologies: unknown
Gateway: Pentium III with Windows 2000 or Windows XP; 128MB RAM; 100MB free hard disk space; Ethernet card and permanent Internet connection. Client: Pentium PC with Windows 98 SE or later and 32MB RAM; 10MB free hard disk space with Internet connection (Wi-Fi, cable, ADSL, satellite, dial-up etc.)