A Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Network (SSL VPN) is a virtual private network (VPN) created using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol to create a secure and encrypted connection over a less-secure network, such as the Internet.
SSL VPNs arose as a response to the complexity of the Internet Protocol security (IPsec) framework, and the inability to support every end user—particularly remote users—from every platform available. An SSL VPN generally provides two things: secure remote access via a web portal, and network-level access via an SSL-secured tunnel between the client and the corporate network. The primary benefit of an SSL VPN is data security and privacy.
Because an SSL VPN uses standard web browsers and technologies, it gives users secure remote access to enterprise applications without requiring the installation and maintenance of separate client software on each user’s computer. Most SSL VPNs also integrate with multiple authentication mechanisms.
Solutions that provide two modes of access via an established, ubiquitous protocol (SSL) are better able to provide end users with access to resources, regardless of platform. By deploying such a solution on a proven, highly scalable platform such as BIG IP, IT departments can scale both the solution and its required infrastructure services.
A secure web portal provides managed application access to enterprise web applications such as SharePoint, and other internal resources including client/server applications, from any device without leaving the network vulnerable to attack via the more open corporate network access route. Such a portal also provides easy access to VDI instances, and can limit access to only certain applications.
In addition, you can inspect a device using endpoint security checks to ensure it abides by specific IT requirements, such as having an anti-virus or firewall enabled, or a client certificate for authentication. Based on those checks, you can limit access to only certain resources, such as email or a shared drive.
With the growth of the remote workforce, SSL VPNs are critical to keeping employees connected to the work applications they need—and for IT to ensure that only authorized users gain access. SSL VPNs provide a secure way for your workforce, contractors, and partners worldwide to gain access to sensitive information from virtually any computer or device. Furthermore, they give IT full, granular control over data access. SSL VPNs are becoming more common in the workplace, and the learning curve to implement and use them is minimal.
Access Policy Manager supports connectivity to any TCP/IP-based application, enforces endpoint security, and includes a Visual Policy Editor (VPE) that makes it easy to create, edit, and manage identity-aware, context-based policies.