New VPN firm has eye on feds

After waiting more than a year to emerge from a "stealth" mode — establishing the infrastructure, solutions and management team necessary to thrive in the realm of virtual private networks — Virtela Communications Inc. officially launched Oct. 15.

Virtela is a VPN services and solutions provider specializing in enterprise site-to-site data, voice and video communications over an IP network, said Vab Goel, chairman and chief executive officer of the Denver-based company. Goel, like most of the senior management team, has previous management experience with telecommunications giants Qwest Communications International Inc. and Sprint.

All of Virtela's offerings can be "built on an agency's existing network infrastructure and tailored to the applications," including e-mail, customer relationship management, videoconferencing and voice, Goel said.

The company, founded in April 2000, is "network...and technology agnostic" and is the first to offer end-to-end, service level agreements, he said. Virtela has more than 4,500 international dedicated access points and more than 6,000 global dial-up access points.

Virtela has already secured its first government customer, but Goel said he could not identify the agency or the value of the multiyear contract because of a nondisclosure agreement.

However, he did say: "We're in the process of implementing a very large and very long VPN implementation, [focused on] site-to-site connectivity instead of private line or frame relay."

Virtela is hoping to distinguish itself from the competition by allowing an agency to buy an entire solution set or just the one piece it needs. Virtela's solutions suite has six offerings:

* VPN: Network-enabled, customer premise equipment (CPE) enabled, or via intranet, extranet or remotely.

* Security services: Managed CPE firewall, managed network firewall and strong authentication.

* Video: Secure IP videoconferencing.

* Voice: Secure site-to-site voice-over-IP.

* Professional services: Project management, network management and network design.

* VirtelaView: Network visibility and management or customer self-management.

"We can have a private network online in five days," regardless of the size or number of users, Goel said, "and a remote user can be added in less than one minute."

In addition to the government client, AT&T Wireless, RSA Security Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd. are also Virtela customers. The company also is actively seeking partnerships with federal systems integrators, especially small and midsize firms that don't normally get as much attention as behemoths such as Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Computer Sciences Corp.

"We want to enable systems integrators as they build bigger solutions for the government to leverage Virtela," Goel said. "We're not worried about brand, just enabling them to deliver solutions faster to the federal government."


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