Why Read This
For most enterprises, network access control (NAC) has been like a classic Hollywood movie. There are frustrating plot twists, interesting characters, and plenty of death as vendors consolidate and fall to the wayside. This year's version has a happy ending, though. In 2008, vendors matured their NAC offerings and targeted hot issues like compliance, guest/contractor access, and role-based segmentation of employees. For IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals, NAC has been a critical component in making many security initiatives efficient and a seamless part of the network infrastructure. But NAC is not without its faults: Complexity and long implementation cycles have frustrated early adopters. However, we've found that most companies can overcome these common concerns by spelling out which scenarios they're looking to control access for and mapping them to the proper software-, appliance-, or switch-based architecture. It's time, then, to preview what we can expect for 2009. Forrester sees virtualized form factors, application-level controls, and IT asset management altering the NAC landscape.