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I'm currently building a virtual private cloud on AWS EC2 using CentOS and am considering allowing access to the cloud via an SSL VPN server. I've never seen a company that uses an SSL VPN, however; I've only seen companies use IPSec.

Is there currently a consensus amongst network admins regarding SSL VPN Security? Something along the lines of "It just isn't as secure, because it's higher up the stack and uses SSL, which is not difficult for serious organizations to compromise"? Or is there really no consensus to speak of?

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Many companies implement SSL VPN as the preferred method of choice for accessing internal resources securely. Mainly, the rise in SSL VPN popularity is due to the ease of deploying the software -- often as simple as going to a web URL and installing the plug in that the browser automatically asks you to install. Much like installing Flash or Silverlight.

Where as with IPsec VPN CLients, the client software usually has to be manually installed. Which isn't notably difficult (the usual double click, next, next, agree, install, finish). But it does involve a manual process.

In terms of security, you can go ahead and consider them equally sufficiently secure. That is the current industry consensus (at least from the portion of the industry that I have been exposed to). It is also about as much as can be explained in this context, on the Network Engineering stack exchange.

But I will point out, that if you really break down the cryptography of it, IPsec VPNs can be considered slightly more secure because of the order and method it employs Encryption and Authentication. Namely, IPsec does Encryption then Authentication, and SSL does Authentication then Encryption. But the discussion of what that is and why one is "better" than the other is beyond the scope of your question, and even this particular stack exchange community.

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