So you have probably heard about SSL VPN by now if you are a network administrator. This is the ability to use SSL to make a VPN connection between you and your corporate network. SSL VPN has been around for a long time but I still find that a lot of people haven’t embraced it up here in Winnipeg.
I still see customers using IPSEC VPN for the most part and then when they are on the road travelling with their laptop they have issues connecting back to their corporate network because whichever Internet cafe or airport they are in is blocking the ports required to make the connection. Well there is one port that you can pretty much guarantee will always be left open in an Internet cafe or other public access point and that’s port 443 which is what SSL VPN uses.
With the Cisco ASA, you get 2 free licenses of SSL VPN. It is extremely easy to configure and offers many plugins for VNC, SSH, and even RDP. You basically launch a web browser and connect to your domain name, for example “ssl.yourdomainhere.com” and then you can login using your credentials which can be either local or even active directory authenticated and connect to your network. From there you are given a launch web page with a few options on what you would like to connect to. As the administrator you can pre-populate this web page with bookmarks to RDP to servers, or to even SSH into a server. You can even browse the web through the SSL VPN connection to get access to web sites you normally couldn’t access through this connection instead of through your normal one.
If you own a Cisco ASA, I urge you to try out the SSL VPN functionality, if you like it you can purchase extra licenses for all your users.