Opinion: Does Microsoft's DirectAccess supersede VPNs?

By Bernd Reder Microsoft’s DirectAccess allows users to access a company’s IT system from a Windows computer, without using a VPN — but by using IPsec to secure the connection and all data transferred in the communication. In contrast to a VPN, a DirectAccess client sets up a connection to the corresponding server after it has booted and set up a connection to the Internet. The user does not have to start a VPN session manually and log in to the company network. Nor does the administrator have to manage the system—for instance, roll out new software versions—until a client has set up a VPN connection. So what’s the benefit of DirectAccess? Here are the main ones: It supports different protocols and communication processes like IP-HTTPS, SSL and IPsec. It provides authentication and encryption options. Before you rush out to get DirectAccess though, you should hear the drawbacks, which are significant. Restricted to the world of Windows Does DirectAccess foretell the end for common VPN solutions? Definitely not. Microsoft’s technology only works if the whole system is based on Windows 7: running on Windows 7 (Professional, Business or Ultimate) and a Windows server (Windows server 2008 R2). This means employees working on a Mac or with a Linux notebook can’t access the company network. Smartphone users with iPhones, BlackBerrys or other devices running Android also can’t access the company network. And even more paradoxical, DirectAccess doesn’t even work on mobile devices running Windows Mobile or the new Windows Phone 7. It is safe to assume that Windows will support DirectAccess in future versions of its Windows 7 phone, as...

Opinion: Does Microsoft’s DirectAccess supersede VPNs?

By Bernd Reder Microsoft’s DirectAccess allows users to access a company’s IT system from a Windows computer, without using a VPN — but by using IPsec to secure the connection and all data transferred in the communication. In contrast to a VPN, a DirectAccess client sets up a connection to the corresponding server after it has booted and set up a connection to the Internet. The user does not have to start a VPN session manually and log in to the company network. Nor does the administrator have to manage the system—for instance, roll out new software versions—until a client has set up a VPN connection. So what’s the benefit of DirectAccess? Here are the main ones: It supports different protocols and communication processes like IP-HTTPS, SSL and IPsec. It provides authentication and encryption options. Before you rush out to get DirectAccess though, you should hear the drawbacks, which are significant. Restricted to the world of Windows Does DirectAccess foretell the end for common VPN solutions? Definitely not. Microsoft’s technology only works if the whole system is based on Windows 7: running on Windows 7 (Professional, Business or Ultimate) and a Windows server (Windows server 2008 R2). This means employees working on a Mac or with a Linux notebook can’t access the company network. Smartphone users with iPhones, BlackBerrys or other devices running Android also can’t access the company network. And even more paradoxical, DirectAccess doesn’t even work on mobile devices running Windows Mobile or the new Windows Phone 7. It is safe to assume that Windows will support DirectAccess in future versions of its Windows 7 phone, as...

Conversation on VPNs with Thomas Desmet, president and CEO of Mosaic Technology, Part 2

VPN Haus: What vertical industries are asking for tools to secure mobile devices or remote access? I would think healthcare would be big on this list. Desmet: That’s a great question. Without question, security and mobility go hand-in-hand with healthcare. As medical practices advance, technology is enabling us to receive even better treatment. For a doctor, being able to access a patient’s medical record no matter where their primary physician is located means that they not only have access to complete information, but can quickly offer a diagnoses. It goes without saying that security is very important here. Mosaic also does a lot of work with higher education. Universities tend to have users that are very technology savvy and mobile. Students and professors need access to their personalized information no matter where they are within the university campus. For example, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy deployed a virtualized architecture that enable students to access their profile no matter what campus they on. Connecting campuses, securely, is table stakes for higher education environments. VPN Haus: What trends are you noticing in demand for remote access tools? Desmet: The tremendous growth in connected devices is driving IT organizations to keep pace with new programs and tools. Virtualized architectures are a big piece of that equation. In the last 6-months, nearly 70% of our business is from organizations leveraging a virtualized architecture. Our 15 year expertise in the IT industry means that we are taking on more of a partnership role with our customers and they sort through the options for remote...

What We're Reading, Week of 8/22

Dark Reading, Baking Security Into Open WiFi Networks NetworkWorld, Stronger IPsec VPN Configurations Needed eWeek, Global Mobile-Security Market Worth $14.4B in 2017: Report Computerworld, Security Manager’s Journal: Keeping the DMZ...

What We’re Reading, Week of 8/22

Dark Reading, Baking Security Into Open WiFi Networks NetworkWorld, Stronger IPsec VPN Configurations Needed eWeek, Global Mobile-Security Market Worth $14.4B in 2017: Report Computerworld, Security Manager’s Journal: Keeping the DMZ...