Cisco is adding full SSL VPN support to its ASA 5500 platform as well as software to filter worms, viruses, spam and other unwanted content.
These additions enable Cisco's ASA devices to live up to what customers expect when they hear SSL VPN and anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-whatever.
The SSL software is up to snuff with what Cisco has on its VPN 3000 concentrators, and the filtering software is a full suite from Trend Micro, one of the premier names in the field. For instance, the new SSL capabilities include the ability to clear out the cache files created during SSL sessions, useful for making sure remote machines don't retain data that could compromise corporate information.
In addition to the features already mentioned, ASA 5500s also include PIX firewalls and support IPSec VPNs, making these appliances pretty solid edge security device for branch offices.
Analysts and customers say bolstering the SSL VPN capabilities of the ASA 5500 puts it in competition with Cisco's VPN 3000 concentrators. VPN 3000s lack the option to add features. So customers that wanted to filter viruses, for example, would have to do so with a separate device.
Customers that don't own VPN 3000s now but are looking to buy a Cisco box might now want to consider an ASA 5500 even if their current needs don't call for all the features. They could be added later and be managed under a single console.