Had an interesting talk with some folks from Nortel and IBM this morning about managing VPNs. I was told that an insurance company in Northern CA recently spent $1.1 million, more than double their investment in hardware and software, installing remote VPN clients and pushing out updates.
The IBM rep also told a funny story. He said someone had to drive all the way to a branch office to receive the new VPN software. The person became very annoyed, however, when they found out they were expected to bring their PC with them for the update. Apparently they said “Someone should have told me I needed to bring my computer here to have the software installed!”
Push software was tried, but it was inconvenient to end users. Since many of them relied on v90 dial-up connections, they did not appreciate a 3MB push to their computer, especially when they were trying to upload files to meet critical deadlines. They also complained about having to leave their computers running overnight. Clearly any push solution that claims to be efficient, easy, and nonintrustive has to take into account the behavior of recipients, and not just the needs of IT management.
Also discovered that the W3C allows you to easily validate my cascading style sheets.