Of the classifications we looked at, access control is among the most multidimensional. We defined access control fairly broadly as including identification, authentication and authorization. Network access control — NAC — is a very hot topic at the moment. At the RSA Conference this year, NAC was everywhere. We looked at NAC as well as its siblings — biometrics, credential management, identity management and multifactor authentication. These classifications — and the products we selected — were very interesting from a number of perspectives.

Click here for Identica Vascular Biometrics.
Click here for Bradford Networks.
Click here for Passlogix v-GO SSO.
Click here for Fischer Identity Suite.
Click here for Entrust Identity Guard.

First, there is a trend toward building extensible architectures with snap-in modules. All of these products need to work in environments from small to very large. Extensibility of functionality and scalability in size are critical issues. We saw that the innovators are addressing those issues directly.

Another perspective is technology. Our selections cover the spectrum from a deep focus on cutting-edge technology to more of a focus on solid functionality. Where we saw heavy emphasis on technology, we wanted to know if the technology actually was useful to the customer or just an engineer's dream.

Where emphasis was on functionality over advanced technology, we found something interesting.
A trend is emerging in the use of platform-provided functions. For example, more than one vendor told us that they are focusing on developing hooks that let them take in data from existing sources and then build policies to take advantage of that data.

Finally, we envisioned our products all working together in a single enterprise. Was there overlapping functionality? Would they cover the access control landscape? We discovered that our access control choices would fit nicely together in a sort of dream enterprise. And that was the goal. So, welcome to the first group of SC Labs dream security architecture.