Window on WANs

Nov 24 2010   6:22PM GMT

Hate VPNs? Find a way to reduce VPN-related trouble ticket numbers

Tessa Parmenter Tessa Parmenter Profile: Tessa Parmenter

Pretty much every company has to deal with my-connection-is-slow and I-forgot-my-password trouble tickets. But there are ways to diminish VPN-related complaints. Take this case study by SearchEnterpriseWAN.com news writer Jessica Scarpati, for example: Simplifying secure remote access to make SSL VPN transparent to users. At Arizona State University (ASU), the IT department is consolidating the SSL VPN authentication process to simplify remote access to its 70,000 students.

Before the back-end authentication consolidation project, remote users had to connect to the wide area network (WAN) by going through two Web portals (one connected to ASU’s Cisco Systems’ AnyConnect VPN client and another through Citrix Access Gateway). This confused students and would flood IT with basic questions about logging into the WAN. If end users only had one place to log in, the IT department could reduce the number of helpdesk calls — which cost the university every time a call is made to the outsourced helpdesk center.

“I really hate VPNs,” said Robin Manke-Cassidy, enterprise architect and director of emerging technologies at ASU. But they are a necessary evil to protect against the much greater evils that permeate the wicked Web. The least one can do is make SSL VPNs as simple as possible to operate, both internally and externally for users.

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