Cisco and Shiva took to the road last week to promote their VPN strategies, each with very different ideas.
Cisco launched phase two of its strategy with a raft of new products that target the enterprise market, having approached service providers in October.
Meanwhile, Shiva commissioned some independent research from Banner to discover what the market perception is of virtual private networking.
The survey targeted 551 IT managers across Europe with 200 or more employees and was conducted in the fourth quarter of last year.
The results highlight that Cisco and Shiva disagree on the readiness of the market to adopt VPN technology.
Colin Farquhar, marketing director at Shiva, said: "The Banner results show that 44% of the IT managers interviewed don't know what a VPN is, which means the market needs to be considerably more educated in the benefits of a VPN before it will ever buy."
Cisco was much more gung-ho in its approach. Paul Di Leo, manager of enterprise solutions at Cisco, assured us: "The technology is all there; all that needs to happen is for the telcos and ISPs to agree on standards for security and how to charge each other and then these services will take off."
Shiva pointed out that the technology for long distance phone calls has been in place for the last 50 years, but it has only been recently that customers have been able to make use of the facility as telcos could not agree on interconnect pricing.
Shiva's Farquhar said: "The first wave of Cisco's strategy didn't work and it has probably realised it needs to target the end user with a more flexible approach instead."
The Banner results support Cisco's view that enterprises are aware of the enormous cost savings involved in using a VPN, with 35% of respondents saying reduced cost was the biggest benefit of deploying a VPN.
Cisco has launched several new products to support its Enterprise VPN strategy. These include IPSec acceleration software which speeds up the encyption/decryption process, preventing the system from overloading or slowing down.
Cisco's IOS firewall feature set now has extensions for 3DES, time-based ACL manager and CiscoSecure w/PKI support.
And the latest version of its IOS, version 12.0 includes IP QoS, IP+ATM and SLA monitoring. Net Ranger 2.2 and NetSonar 2.0 are software appliances for detecting and rerouting backlogs in traffic.
And finally, to manage VPNs, Cisco offers IPM 2.0, Security Manager 1.0, ACL Manager 1.0 and QoS Policy Manager 1.0.
The products are shipping now. Cicso refused to reveal pricing details.
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