We continue our conversation with Jennifer Jabbusch, a network security engineer and founder of the blog Security UnCorked who recently tweeted a thought-provoking comment, “NAC is a philosophy, not a technology.”
VPN Haus: What do you think caused NAC’s dismal market performance and why do you think it’s changing?
Jabbusch: The birth of “Franken-NACs.” I say this all the time. The industry created the confusion and the vendors have perpetuated it by creating homegrown products and labeling them ‘NAC’ so they can play in the market. Look at the NAC vendors – we have everything from switch manufacturers (such as Cisco, Juniper, HP, Enterasys) to software and application vendors (such as Symantec, McAfee). Very few vendors started off with a dedicated NAC solution (Bradford is one of those). In what other world does an antivirus vendor and a router manufacturer have the same product? None. It’s ludicrous. Everyone saw a market opportunity and took whatever product they had and turned it into a NAC. Well, they turned it into something they *call* NAC. Each vendor approaches NAC from a completely different angle, with a similar set of marketed features and completely diverse ways of accomplishing them. The market confused the public and the public threw their hands in the air and said “I give up.” The failed implementations have killed the market growth.
VPN Haus: How are vendors getting better at embracing NAC, rather than stirring up more confusion?
Jabbusch: Standards! Standards and common frameworks will be the saving grace of NAC, and vendors that embrace these standards are the ones bringing NAC out of that dismal market performance. By having common frameworks, the vendors can offer similar solutions with similar functionality under the hood and THAT will decrease the confusion in the market.
VPN Haus: What is the major misconception about NAC that you’d like to set straight?
Jabbusch: There’s not one best NAC. Different solutions work better in different environments. There are a few that are universally good across the board, a few that are perfect fits and many that will be horrible matches for any one environment. Consumers and vendors need to understand that so they can pick something that works.
For Part 1 of this series including more on why Jabbusch sees NAC as a philosophy, click here.