The IP virtual private network (VPN) adoption rate remains brisk, according to a new report from Forrester Research, with 80% of enterprise surveyed reporting that the will upgrade or deploy new VPNs this year. However, cost remains a significant obstacle to some companies' deployment plans.
In "2005 VPN Adoption Trends," Forrester analyst Robert Whitely reports that IPsec VPNs continue to be the most popular remote access technology, with 57% of organizations surveyed either in production or upgrading their systems. IPsec is also the favored technology for site-to-site VPNs, where some 50% of organizations are deploying or have already implemented the technology.
Whitely notes that another 27% of organization surveyed are in the early adoption phase for site-to-site VPNs, and concludes that that market continues to have growth potential, while the remote access VPN market appears to be slowing down. Whitely expressed surprise that the remote access numbers weren't "even higher, especially because network heavyweights like Check Point Software Technologies, Cisco, and Nortel Networks have been selling IPsec products for almost a decade." he writes. "Forrester expects little additional growth beyond the 14% that are currently piloting or evaluating the technology --- the lowest of the four IP VPN technologies."
However secure sockets layer (SSL) VPNs appear to be taking off at the same time that IPsec adoption is stagnating. According to Forrester, 39% of organizations surveyed have already begun or completed SSL VPN deployments, despite the relative novelty of the technology. Offering clientless operation, lower costs and stronger endpoint security than the alternatives, Whitely says that SSL VPNs will experience significant growth next year.
Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) VPNs have not shown the same level of popularity among enterprises however. Though Whitely says that the technology will find its feet as organizations migrate to MPLS networks, their reticence to move off of their Frame Relay and asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) networks has proved a barrier to adoption.
Indeed, although organizations are attracted to the security of VPNs that allows them to run enterprise applications like Siebel and SAP over the wide area network (WAN), cost remains a critical concern. Indeed, cost was the most significant obstacle to VPN adoption reported by survey respondents. However, Whitely observes that, "as VPN gear and services become more ubiquitous --- even embedded in standard networking gear like routers --- Forrester expects that enterprises will make the capital investment to achieve these operational savings."