VPN services are often a must for organizations who have employees working out of the office who need access to on-site data, and the advent of tablets only underscores that need. The iPad’s reputation as the tablet of choice in boardrooms and at the top of the corporate ladder was enough to prompt Dublin- and Georgia-based Asavie Technologies to create iSimplyConnect, a VPN tool designed specifically for the iPad that launches today.
The need for iSimplyConnect was evident to Asavie CEO Ralph Shaw. “Let’s face it, the iPad is an amazing piece of technology and the popular choice for employees working from anywhere in the world,” he said in an interview. “With iSimplyConnect, we’re unlocking the full potential of the iPad by providing fully secure access to your applications, files and folders that live on the company network.”
Targeting iPads specifically may seem limited, but Shaw says iSimplyConnect is geared to small and medium-sized businesses specifically, which is where iPads are picking up a lot of steam, thanks in part to software makers targeting them with solutions like Square Register. In fact, according to a new national U.S. study from The Business Journals, the iPad is the single fastest growing technology in use among small business users.
And for those users, Shaw contends that iSimplyConnect offers something not available in an affordable package. “WatchDox, while secure in sending documents back and forth, is just that – document sharing,” Shaw said. “iSimplyConnect gives network access. That’s enterprise level VPN whereas other remote access at this price point (like LogMeIn and GoToMyPC) are just simple screen scrapes.”
iSimplyConnect offers a range of pricing, from $15 per month which allows least amount of users, to $180 monthly for the most extensive offering. Compared to the cost of installing and maintaining a locally-managed VPN server or LogMeIn’s paid tiers, iSimplyConnect is more affordable. But there’s always the chance that what iSimplyConnect is offering could be overkill for a lot of its target market; LogMeIn does offer a free tier, after all, which provides remote screen viewing and control, which may satisfy the needs of SMBs on a budget. Shaw, however, thinks iSimplyConnect’s value will be apparent to users in terms of the benefits it can provide.
“The more companies that open themselves up to adapting a secure VPN network service for products like the iPad (that employees are already purchasing), the greater increase in productivity while minimizing the need to be strapped to your desk is something we envision,” he said. “Small businesses need to be able to see and start with the real benefits of BOYD by first enabling secure access to the corporate network. As for networking equipment, we don’t believe small businesses can justify (to themselves) upgrading expensive kit as an experiment and we’re betting that they won’t need to if they use iSimplyConnect.”
iSimplyConnect follows Apple’s best-practice iPad VPN deployment guidelines, and Asavie has plenty of experience providing similar services for AT&T, Vodafone, Telefonica and others. The test will be whether or not SMBs embrace it as a complement to the iPads they’re already using.