InfoExpress latest NAC vendor to push services

Company joins other network access control vendors that go beyond hardware and software

InfoExpress is introducing a managed network access control service designed to reduce the ongoing costs of network access protection and provide better technical support than many businesses could afford in-house.

The Compliance, Authorization, and Rogue Enforcement (CARE) service is based on InfoExpress's CyberGatekeeper software running on hardware owned by customers but managed via VPN by InfoExpress.

The service includes evaluation of customer needs; developing a written proposal; certification of the hardware; defining and creating policies; configuration and periodic updates. Some customers might simply want help deploying the software but not ongoing policy updates.

InfoExpress is joining a wave of NAC vendors that are winding up in the middle of service offerings, either on their own or as part of established service providers' offerings. StillSecure bought ProtectPoint earlier this year to sell NAC as a service among other things, and Trustwave bought Mirage Networks, also to create a NAC service. Verizon Business started up a managed NAC service last year that kicked off with support for 17 NAC platforms.

The common thought behind InfoExpress's CARE service is that customers might want NAC but have trouble getting funding for a new technology because of budget restrictions. Without a hard return on investment from NAC, many CIOs and CFOs reject these projects, but perhaps will go along with it if they can get it for a relatively modest recurring cost, service providers say.

In addition to eliminating the cost of training on a new technology and dedicating staff to monitoring and maintenance, the service is supported by engineers better versed in NAC than customers with other responsibilities, InfoExpress says. InfoExpress's monitoring also provides faster response times than customers might be able to reach, the company says.The service can include periodic updates, so if a customer wants a policy that restricts access to machines that lack a new Microsoft patch, InfoExpress can set that policy for the customer.

InfoExpress says it first provided the service about 18 months ago for a customer that requested it and has landed three other service customers in the meantime without advertising it.

Pricing is set on a case-by-case basis depending on what services customers choose and how frequently they want updates. A deployment supporting between 2,000 and 2,500 machines, including hardware and software management, costs US$17,000 per year, the company says.

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