Secure Alternative To Business On The Internet
Virtela enters the market with managed VPN and other communications services
At a time when network and IT security is a top concern, Virtela Communications Inc. made its debut last week with a line of IP-based virtual private network services that are less expensive than dedicated data services and more secure than the Internet.
Virtela uses multiple IP backbone networks as the main transport mechanism for its services; this helps keep costs down. Leveraging its IP Services Fabric concept, Virtela's offering has features such as firewalls, quality of service, policy management, and user authentication at each of its points of presence.
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Virtela has 700 points of presence in the United States, plus 4,500 dedicated and 6,000 dial-up points of presence internationally. They serve as gateways to the service, and customers can access them using virtually any kind of public or private network, including private lines, frame relay, ATM, dial up, digital subscriber line, wireless, cable modem, and Ethernet.
Virtela also offers security, video- and voice-over-IP, professional, and network-monitoring and -management services.
The service is easier to set up and operate than it would have been to design and install a VPN in-house, and it's significantly less expensive than using a dedicated data service such as frame relay, says Dave Heafey, IT manager at Winphoria Networks Inc. in Tewksbury, Mass. Winphoria uses the VPN service to connect its headquarters to its engineering facilities in Bangalore, India, and Madrid, Spain.
Because traffic on the Virtela VPN is encrypted, "I'm very confident that it's a secure circuit, and that was a primary factor in the decision," Heafey says. "In general, if you're doing things over the Internet without encryption, you could be in trouble."
Virtela has received $75 million in funding. Other VPN newcomers also are finding backers: IP Dynamics said last week it closed a $15 million third round, and Blue Ridge Networks secured $10 million in its second round of funding two weeks ago.