I recently read Jim Rendon's article about SSL and VPNs. (http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid7_gci901241,00.html.) In it the following statement is mentioned: "SSL is better suited to those that only need to quickly check e-mail or update files on the road."

I need secure access for some remote user to access to a Web server, which store several images sent by a remote video camera. I'm thinking about the best secure access and authentication method. I'm wondering if SSL is the best, fast, reliable and simple method to use for the remote users.

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SSL portals offer ease of use and great flexibility in access to remote users. For the application you describe -- access to a web-based application -- it is probably a good choice. Because the desired application is already Web-based, no special effort is required to make it accessible through the SSL portal.

The major drawbacks to SSL-based portals is that they generally do not scale as well as IPSec VPNs, and it is possible to deploy them with compromised security. You should use two-factor authentication, and require at least 128-bit encryption on SSL. Also, Web servers are vulnerable to hacking: Watch for security patches, and be aggressive about keeping the server up to current patch levels.

This was first published in June 2003

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