The future is the PDA

By Tim Greene, Network World |  Hardware

It is interesting to note that in announcing a single client for all its VPN equipment recently, Cisco also announced that it will introduce a new VPN client for handhelds.

Actually, Cisco is getting the PDA software from Certicom, something that Certicom announced earlier this year when it introduced its movianVPN software. Cisco VPN concentrators will support the client.

This software will allow PDA users to connect to corporate VPNs securely, and demands little enough processing power so the tiny devices don’t slow to a crawl as they send encrypted data across the Internet via an IP tunnel.

Cisco is highlighting this PDA agreement at the same time it is finally trimming back its VPN clients, indicating the importance of this technology. As it tries to whip its VPN lines into shape, Cisco wants users to know that it has an answer for PDAs.

This makes sense because corporate enterprises are faced with exploding use of these devices and desperately need to find a way to make sure they don’t open enterprises to security threats. The depth of their concern is reflected by the reaction to the Certicom client. Nortel Networks, Check Point and Alcatel have bought into movianVPN, as have Handspring, Novatel Wireless and service provider iPass. Not bad for a product that is less than two months old.

The product is by no means hardened yet, but it is probably worth taking a look at, particularly for corporate users that have VPNs today. Play with it. Run a trial. Get a handle on it today -- because you will inevitably have to deploy it or something like it, and your education can’t start too soon.

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