Some NAC start-ups nearing extinction

* Network Access Control: 2008 is a do or die year

By year-end some of the NAC startups could be history, according to a report by the 451 Group. The report title pretty much sums up the conclusion it draws: "Network Access Control: 2008 is a do or die year."

According to the analysis by 451 Group’s Paul Roberts, this is the year customers are ready to buy NAC, and that coincides with the major vendors having their offerings fleshed out. Roberts gives the edge to diversified networking vendors because their customers are familiar with them and have a certain amount of confidence that they will still be around in a few years.

Besides, it’s just easier to go with a familiar vendor. Customers will “follow the path of least resistance to NAC: building on networking, endpoint security and policy or patch management platforms they have already deployed,” the report says.

Some of the NAC-only vendors will still be able to eke out a living by finding customers that have very targeted needs, such as keeping contractors and visitors in line and preventing unauthorized network access from conference rooms and other common areas with network jacks, the study says.

For the startups, simply offering NAC will likely not be enough, he study says. It will have to be integrated with other technologies such as identity management, network-based anomaly detection, and intrusion prevention systems. These requirements will again favor larger, more diversified vendors, the study says (Compare NAC products) .

Given that many of the NAC startups are not profitable, Roberts says to expect them to broaden the scope of their offerings, merge with larger companies or fold.

This type of activity is inevitable with any new technology and it could well play out over the next few months.

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