OK I have to admit it. I downright laughed when I read Ellen Messmer’s article this morning in Network World about BYOD ushering in a revival of the NAC market. Really? Really? After I stopped laughing, I read some more.
Well it seems that Forescout has trotted out Gartner’s Prince of NAC, Lawrence Orans to proclaim that “BYOD is an unstoppable trend”. Of course this unstoppable trend will combine with that immovable force, NAC and finally all of those lofty numbers that Larry and the rest of the analysts made all of those years ago will be realized. Come on Larry. You are acting like the boy who cried wolf of NAC. Give it up.
Hey it takes a big man to admit he was wrong. God knows I am big, but I don’t admit I was wrong that often. But lets face it, who more than me was selling that NAC lemonade for all of that time. But we all know how it went. As Larry says to Ellen, “NAC has been around for almost 10 years," says Gartner analyst Lawrence Orans, who acknowledges the "first wave" of NAC crested with a fairly modest adoption, mainly by financial institutions and some high-security situations, plus a few universities.” Fairly modest? How about pretty low.
Yeah, I remember those days well. Companies like Lockdown Networks, ConSentry, Vernier and so many others that I don’t even remember the names. Chasing that dream of widespread NAC adoption. Of course Bradford Networks is still around having gone through several (OK a lot of) different business models. StillSecure still offers NAC though I think primarily to the Fed/DoD space, they are much more focused on MSSP and cloud. To be fair, Forescout has done a bang up job of being the last independent standing. Cisco and Juniper offer NAC as part of the network, as does HP. McAfee has some sort of NAC built into the ubersuite still I believe.
But really to think that BYOD is going to make NAC hot again? The idea seems to be simple (it is always a simple idea with NAC, doing it is hard); we will recognize you as a private BYOD device. We will put you in some sort of quasi-guest network where you don’t get full access to all of the corporate LAN. So you don’t feel threatened we have the ability to make sure the corporate overloads don’t see all of the juicy personal stuff on your device (like they want to). Of course you believe the corporate overloads don’t you? And this will make us all fly out and buy NAC?
I don’t think so, sorry Larry, Ellen and Forescout. I don’t think there is anything that will ever make NAC live up to the numbers that Gartner and others foretold all those years ago.