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Product Analysis: Network Access Control


"NAC" describes network access systems that deliver a broad range of features focused on coupling user identity, host posture assessment, threat remediation and policy-based access controls for enterprise networks. There's no single definition of the acronym, and customer expectations for what NAC systems should accomplish are evolving as well. In November 2005, Network Computing delivered a thorough analysis of emerging NAC offerings and the competitive architectures behind them. Six months later, the market is more hyperactive than ever, with dozens of vendors competing for your attention and IT dollars. Network Computing and industry analysts from Current Analysis put their collective heads together to provide a single, clear definition of NAC and identify the requirements customers expect, based on an extensive poll.

35 Questions, 5 Great Expectations

We started our research project by polling NWC readers. Three hundred three respondents reported that they were directly involved in evaluating or deploying a NAC solution. We asked them 35 detailed questions about NAC and its associated technologies.

We took a look at customer expectations for NAC, cross-referencing with marketing collateral from a broad selection of NAC competitors. We clearly defined five technology functions that are accepted and expected as part of a NAC product:

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