Enterprises often establish IPsec VPN environments that share sensitive data and communications with outside business partners and customers. These arrangements can be complex, since each company has a preferred VPN gateway vendor. Consolidation to a universal IPsec VPN client can enable users to communicate securely with one another, regardless of their IPsec VPN vendor gateway. As more companies adopt bring your own device (BYOD) policies, universal VPN clients on mobile devices are becoming essential.
Universal Android IPsec VPN client: Taking the vendor out of the equation
Most enterprises are using IPsec in their VPN solution because they want to be able to talk to anyone when they need to, said John Pironti, president of the consulting firm of IP Architects LLC. "But even though most vendors say they comply with the IPsec standard, most do not comply as closely as they should," he said.
NCP Engineering, a remote-access technology provider that develops third-party IPsec VPN client alternatives, recently announced a preview version of its NCP Secure Android Client, a third-party Android IPsec VPN client for the Android 4.0 platform. NCP will offer the preview through June 30 with updated versions to follow, including an IPsec VPN client for Apple iOS, said Rainer Enders, chief technology officer at NCP.
NCP's Android IPsec VPN client will integrate with any IPsec gateway vendor, including Cisco, Juniper, Fortinet and SonicWall, added Enders. "[Enterprises] that use IPsec can now look forward to increased security on a much broader platform base that they can support into the company network, which is significant."
A third-party approach to supporting any IPsec VPN client is important for the enterprise, Enders noted. "This unifying approach to [an enterprise's] VPN environment means that more platforms can be covered and integrated, which will make it easier for companies to adopt a broader platform approach and allow for more mobile devices on their network," he said.
A vendor-agnostic Android IPsec VPN client eliminates the need for users to download multiple vendor-specific clients on their mobile devices, Pironti said. "They can remotely communicate with any [enterprises'] IPsec VPN environment securely."
Other vendors have similar clients -- including the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client, which can be used on Apple iOS devices and Android devices. But while many clients on the market today can connect to any IPsec gateway in theory, most work best when connecting to their own gateways, said Pironti.
More on IPsec VPN clients:
VPN client alternatives and platforms
Remote access and IPsec VPN clients
Top VPN clients for enterprise use
Android IPsec VPN client: Promoting communication and BYOD
While not necessarily game-changing in the VPN space, the NCP Engineering universal Android IPsec VPN client is helping enterprises communicate in the way that IPsec has promised, said Pironti.
"The universal IPsec VPN client will allow for roaming across IPsec VPN environments because it can connect to any gateway," he said. "But if [an IPsec VPN client] complies with the IPsec standard, users should be able to communicate without having any problems."
And multivendor support from a client like NCP's is important to enterprises that have heterogeneous VPNs -- such as enterprises that grew through acquisitions or deploy different products in branch offices, noted Lisa Phifer, president of Core Competence, Inc.
"I think NCP's client is yet another sign that Android is maturing beyond its consumer-grade roots, rendering the platform more acceptable to enterprise IT," she said.
NCP Engineering claims that its new Android IPsec VPN client is a first for the Android 4.0 operating system.
A universal IPsec VPN client for a mobile platform not only improves communication, but also the ability for IT to centrally manage the client, Pironti said.
"[Enterprises] that have many different clients and environments may want ensure that the client is configured in a way that they are comfortable with," he explained. "It would be great for consultants and users that work remotely to be able to have one client that works anywhere, and can connect with anyone."
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, News Writer