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November 24, 2009

The evolution of NAC

evolution_of_man Jeff Wilson over at Infonetics Research has always been one of the biggest supporters of NAC. It was early Infonetics reports that really helped fan the flames of the NAC craze. So while most of the world seems to have moved past NAC, Jeff and the Infonetics team are still beating the NAC drums.  Of course with companies going out of business and market numbers not growing as projected, you need to take a new angle if you are going to point to any kind of a rosy picture regarding NAC.  That is exactly what Jeff and team have done with their new whitepaper titled the “The Evolution of Network Access Control”. It is available for a free download if you still have any interest in NAC. 

Jeff points out how “modern NAC” products (all three of them) have moved beyond the original NAC mission to perform valuable tasks in today’s complex network environments. Frankly I think Jeff’s idea is right on, but I question whether today’s NAC solutions actually perform these tasks or is it more NAC hype.  In any event, the argument can be made that for many of these tasks there are other products that can perform these tasks better, cheaper and faster. NAC by definition can be complex, so without a clear cut mission worthy of the challenge of implementation it is a tough value prop.


One interesting thing is what respondents to Infonetics gave as drivers for buying NAC. Guest Access was near the bottom but stopping propagation of threats was still at the top. That hasn’t changed since the beginning of NAC.  I am just not sure that is a big enough mission to drive NAC though.


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