Aventail SSL VPNs can be extended to smartphones

Users can securely access Web applications, e-mail and other applications

Aventail SSL VPN gear now supports VPN security for smartphones based on the Windows Mobile operating system.

This enables users to securely access Web applications, e-mail and other applications that are formatted for small screens found on smartphones.

The company already supported SSL VPNs for handheld devices based on Windows Mobile for PDAs.

Other vendors such as NetMotion Wireless support encrypted data sessions over smartphones, but not SSL VPNs. Aventail claims to be the first SSL vendor to extend SSL VPNs to smartphones.

Certificates can be issued to each phone that is allowed access to the SSL VPN, and to protect the VPN, those certificates can be revoked if the device is lost or stolen.

Aventail client software for smartphones connects with an Aventail gateway and establishes an SSL tunnel through which the applications run. The gateway interrogates the phone and sends it the appropriate software agent. The same gateway supports agents for laptops and Windows-based PDAs.

The client supports session persistence, which maintains credentials for a particular SSL session for a set period after a connection is broken so it can pick it up again quickly. This is to accommodate cellular phone users who are moving during a session and may move in and out of cell coverage areas, causing temporary breaks in the phone link.

Session persistence can also keep a VPN alive while a cellular phone switches a cellular call over to a Wi-Fi call.

Smartphone support is scheduled to be available this summer. The feature is a flat US$995 add-on to Aventail gateways that supports however many sessions the particular gateway supports.

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