Ericom Powers Forward with SSL, Windows 2000 Support

As host connectivity grows increasingly Web-based, security becomes an issue for all enterprises, regardless of their size or customer demographics.

Over the past couple of years, technologies like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have emerged to meet the challenges of secure Web-to-host connectivity.

Responding to the need for heightened security, and at the same time anticipating the demand for Microsoft's Windows 2000 platform, Ericom Software Inc. -- an Israeli-based company with domestic offices in Hackensack, N.J. -- has released the latest version of its PowerTerm Pro terminal emulation product. PowerTerm Pro Version 7.0 is designed to support both SSL and the Windows 2000 interface.

The primary reason for SSL's popularity, according to Eran Heyman, CEO and founder of Ericom, is that people like to work with industry standards. With PowerTerm Pro 7.0, once the client connects with the host system a secured SSL connection is created, and all the data is encrypted, he says.

"The main benefit of using SSL as opposed to VPN is with SSL you don't need a companywide policy," Heyman adds. "You set SSL server up on the AS/400, and you specify a certificate for the encryption to work and you just connect using TN5250. You don't have to install any secured client on your PC. It's encryption on the fly -- you don't need to set up any complex environment. For some companies, it will be an intermediate solution, until five years from now, when they decide on a VPN policy."

Version 7.0 of PowerTerm Pro is also designed to prepare the AS/400 market for the release of Windows 2000 later this year. "PowerTerm Pro was developed from scratch using the latest tools from Microsoft, and is now being developed using Visual C++ 6," Heyman says. "We are using the Visual C++ classes and class libraries which provide us the look and feel of Windows 2000 and Office 2000. This is important for AS/400 users who would like to work with all of the different PC and Windows applications in the same way. All of them will be integrated and have a consistent look from within PowerTerm Pro."

According to Heyman, "The name of the game is integration and providing the most effective tools for the user. Obviously, people can work with Windows applications that [look] different from their other Windows applications, but this is not as effective with regard to both the way it looks and with regard to its features. If someone is moving to Windows 2000 and Office 2000, they will want their terminal emulator to look consistent."

While PowerTerm Pro provides access to Windows applications, the Internet and e-mail is not for heavy users, the product is designed to make the desktop a more productive place to work. PowerTerm Pro provides this access through a specialized toolbar, and also features customizable function keys, a script language, hot spots, multi-sheet copy/paste/print, editor and debugger, scalable screen view, multiple concurrent sessions, history scroll bar, intelligent copy and paste, FTP client, Intellimouse support and a menu-based point-and-click tool for performing file transfers between PCs and hosts.