securing client/server communications

We are building a (non HTTP) Java Application server which a client can connect to thru the internet. We are looking into PKI tokens for authentication, but I wish to know if there are alternatives in securing the channel  besides using VPN. Something that can offer SSL like security but for non-web applications.
myvitagenAsked:
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chris_calabreseCommented:
SSL is not HTTP specific.  It's actually possible to run just about any TCP protocol inside of SSL.  Check out openssl.org.

Also, I believe that Java has built-in capabilities for crypto stuff.
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