Peter Stephenson, technology editor, SC Magazine
Peter Stephenson, technology editor, SC Magazine
Access control is the order of the day for this issue. All of our reviews focus on aspects of access control and management. This, of course, is a key aspect of enforcing the security of the enterprise. We address the topic with two First Looks and two Group Test reviews. Our First Looks explore a card management system and a NAC product.

Click here for the SSL VPN 2007 Group Test.
Click here for the Biometric Tools 2007 Group Test.

Network Access Control, or NAC, is a hot topic. At the RSA Conference a few months back, it was NAC everywhere you looked. I think, however, that we've found a very cool product in that very hot market.

Our Group Tests were an interesting bunch this month. Justin Peltier dug into SSL VPN products and Mike Stephenson's lab was cluttered with almost every kind of biometric device imaginable. Even though we were focused

on access management, the variety and depth of products that fit that broad category is most interesting. Biometrics have come a long way since 2000 when I installed hand geometry readers in my lab. In fact, Timber and Akira, the lab dogs, beat a hasty retreat from the flashing lights of facial recognition tools in the biometric tests.

We were interested to see that our biometric Group Test products and
our card manager First Look revealed accommodation for both physical and logical security. Many biometric products combine the ability to unlock a door with the ability to unlock a computer. Our card manager product also supports proximity cards, often used to open doors. Often these capabilities combine to control logical and physical access in a single system, making administration and logging easier.

In Justin's SSL VPN tests, he notes the evolution from IPsec VPN products to SSL VPNs. He offers an excellent overview of the differences between the two types and why SSL VPNs are becoming increasingly popular. We had an example of that last month here in the SC Labs. In an effort to simplify remote access to our portal, Mike started the process of scrapping our OpenVPN implementation in favor of an SSL VPN gateway.

It was an interesting month and, as in all of our reviews, we hope we have given you a taste of where our industry is headed. Strong authentication and ease of access without loss of security are both hallmarks of today's enterprises and the sensitive information that travels on them.
— Peter Stephenson, technology editor