Cisco VPN for Android Preview Needs a New Recipe Before Release

The ability for enterprises to have employees get behind company firewalls through their Android devices has been a desire for businesses for some time now. With the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of the Google-made smartphone operating system, that’s now looking possible. Cisco recently released a preview version of its Anyconnect Android app back in late February, which is currently available on the Android Marketplace. While the app may not be as advanced as a virtual private network, it is still pretty advanced.

But while every smartphone app “preview” is sure to be a little buggy, it’s safe to say that as far as telecommunications related releases in recent memory are concerned, the Anyconnect app for Android Ice Cream Sandwich takes the cake. While it shows promise for usability at some point, it doesn’t appear to be in the new future, and especially not in time for when they surely plan on releasing the final version.

We tested the mobile network security work-around on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus for optimum conditions, and found the following problems within just ten minutes of use: The program crashed when an archives section of our intranet was accessed, and it required a complete reboot of the hardware in order to get it working again. When weaving in and out of wireless hotspots, the app would simply cease functioning and require a re-login instead of seamlessly reconnecting along with the wireless receiver.

According to Cisco, this version is most likely the one that will be released in the final format, or one with a “small number of additive fixes.” It’s going to take more than a few additive fixes to mend the aforementioned problems, considering we were using the most baseline of hardware (which they specified over advanced editions) and accessing the most basic of internal data when things went haywire.

With that said, word of Cisco creating an Android app for its VPN service is good news for the industry as a whole, and specifically for the secured businesses that rely on a mobile workforce. Megapath and other competitors are sure to be hopping on the bandwagon shortly by creating their own network security apps, and will no doubt be learning from Cisco’s mistakes when designing their own VPN Android app.

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