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Terminology overload but great for end-users

Terminology overload but great for end-users

As one of the early SSL VPN vendors, Aventail brings heavy experience grounded in both its long-standing appliance product line as well as its years of operating a managed security service.

The most recent result of this expertise is the Smart SSL VPN (formerly called the EX-1500) that offers a great end-user experience, but at the expense of the network manager who has to configure and operate the system. Perhaps it's the physical proximity to Microsoft (both headquartered in the Seattle area), but Aventail's design team has built a management interface and corresponding myriad of disparately named tools that is far more complex and baroque than the product's actual capabilities.

If you're not caught up in realms, resources, methods, zones, communities, profiles and the difference between Network tunnel service vs. Network proxy service, you might forget that ASAP WorkPlace is really the portal, ASAP Management Console is the management GUI, Aventail OnDemand is the port forwarder, Aventail Connect is the client and Network Explorer means file servers.

Once the security manager gets a good enough handle on the barrage of terminology to actually tune into the product's feature set that includes the ability to dynamically and automatically adjust user access methods based on their client capabilities and characteristics, the end-user will be ecstatic, or at least pretty happy.

Aventail has pushed hard to break resources, such as Web pages and terminal servers, away from access methods, which means that once you describe what someone is allowed to do, you don't have to be as concerned about how they do it because the Smart SSL VPN does the rest.

In an all-Windows world, especially with managed laptops, the result is smooth and painless to the end-users, offering greater connectivity when possible, and undiagnosable failure when something goes wrong.

Overall, Aventail deserves a prize for Best Out of the Box Experience for their users, and a smack to the head for its management system.


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