Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

3/20/2008
02:38 PM
Mike Fratto
Mike Fratto
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

The Start Of NAC Market Consolidation?

Lockdown Networks has closed its doors and is looking for someone to buy it's IP. Is this just the beginning of the NAC market consolidation, or an isolated event?

Lockdown Networks has closed its doors and is looking for someone to buy it's IP. Is this just the beginning of the NAC market consolidation, or an isolated event?Let's face it. No one is making money hand over fist in NAC. I haven't seen a clear market leader emerge in either technology or market presence.

Year over year, analysts and journalists, myself included, have been predicting that "This is the year of NAC" and "There are too many NAC vendors and the market is going to shrink." Neither prediction has really come true.

There are, perhaps, many reasons why the first prediction hasn't come to fruition. NAC technology is too immature, too complicated, too costly, doesn't solve the right problem, doesn't solve any problem, too brittle, doesn't have enough integration points, too few standards, no clear leader, no established best practices, too many exceptions, not effective enough, requires yet another agent, does use an agent, requires costly upgrades to existing infrastructure, requires new support products and processes, and so on.

I've been looking at a lot of NAC products lately and the products are in varying degrees of maturity. When pressed about this or that missing feature, vendors invariably say the feature is either in the pipeline, doublespeak for "We had to add it to win a customer" or vendors say they will add it when there is customer demand.

Usually the latter statement is said in the context of a sigh and further explanation that while the feature may be useful, their developers have to focus on features based on demand, meaning paying customers or prospects.

Given the competitiveness of the high-tech industry and the uncertainty in a new technology market, startups need to be brutal in prioritizing projects. I understand the vendor's point, but it's a tough way to make a product.

We can look back to the precursors of NAC with products from vendors like Perfigo, Zone Labs, and Sygate. The crazy idea to control access to a network as hosts attached was pretty much unheard of. Well, OK. I can track this idea back to the late '90s and Directory Enabled Networking that was all the rage. But NAC took hold and vendors started coming out of the woodwork. New vendors popped up. Existing vendors changed gears. At the same time, well-established companies took notice of the emerging NAC market and the precursors to NAC were snapped up. Cisco bought Perfigo in 2004. Check Point bought Zone Labs in 2004. Symantec bought Sygate in 2005. Sophos bought Endforce in 2007.

That left a whole slew of vendors to fight for funding and customers. I don't know what happened to Lockdown, but it looks as though it ran out of cash and either couldn't, or didn't want, to secure more funding. Of all the people in IT vendor community, I feel for the small startups struggling to win business day in, day out. That kind of environment has to take its toll after awhile.

The second prediction, that there was going to be consolidation, hasn't happened just yet. Caymas closed up shop middle of 2007. Something is going on over at Vernier Networks, but they aren't saying what. And now Lockdown closed its doors. Hardly the much-anticipated winnowing of the wheat from the chaff. With over 30 vendors in the NAC space, company closings and acquisitions are bound to thin the field further.

Where does that leave you, dear reader? One of the factors startups have to contend with is the perception that they could disappear one day, leaving customers in the lurch. Lockdown Network's legacy may be a cautionary tale that grizzled CIOs tell wet-behind-the-ear admins around the virtual campfire. "Beware the VC funded start-up," the CIO grumbles, "they could disappear tomorrow." That's a very real risk and one of the reasons why funding announcements and customer wins are important to track.

If you're looking at NAC vendors that are still surviving in whole or in part on funding, you have to make doubly sure to perform due diligence on the company's financials before and after the sale.

Startups usually have the most interesting technology and are often willing to make changes to win your business, but if they tank, you could be left holding the bag.

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
4 Security Tips as the July 15 Tax-Day Extension Draws Near
Shane Buckley, President & Chief Operating Officer, Gigamon,  7/10/2020
Russian Cyber Gang 'Cosmic Lynx' Focuses on Email Fraud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/7/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15105
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Django Two-Factor Authentication before 1.12, stores the user's password in clear text in the user session (base64-encoded). The password is stored in the session when the user submits their username and password, and is removed once they complete authentication by entering a two-factor authenticati...
CVE-2020-11061
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
In Bareos Director less than or equal to 16.2.10, 17.2.9, 18.2.8, and 19.2.7, a heap overflow allows a malicious client to corrupt the director's memory via oversized digest strings sent during initialization of a verify job. Disabling verify jobs mitigates the problem. This issue is also patched in...
CVE-2020-4042
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Bareos before version 19.2.8 and earlier allows a malicious client to communicate with the director without knowledge of the shared secret if the director allows client initiated connection and connects to the client itself. The malicious client can replay the Bareos director's cram-md5 challenge to...
CVE-2020-11081
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
osquery before version 4.4.0 enables a priviledge escalation vulnerability. If a Window system is configured with a PATH that contains a user-writable directory then a local user may write a zlib1.dll DLL, which osquery will attempt to load. Since osquery runs with elevated privileges this enables l...
CVE-2020-6114
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
An exploitable SQL injection vulnerability exists in the Admin Reports functionality of Glacies IceHRM v26.6.0.OS (Commit bb274de1751ffb9d09482fd2538f9950a94c510a) . A specially crafted HTTP request can cause SQL injection. An attacker can make an authenticated HTTP request to trigger this vulnerabi...