NAC: Bradford Networks
NAC: Bradford Networks

Bradford Networks is no stranger to these pages. An innovator from last year, Bradford has been reviewed a num­ber of times over the years, always doing well. This year we asked them how well their crystal ball last year worked as 2008 unfolded.

You may recall that their prediction then was that wireless was going to emerge as the new NAC challenge. Bradford hit the target spot on and, as a result, was ready to address the market needs as they unfolded. Insightful analysis of business trends and a good handle on the technology needed to address them was the secret to success for this innovator in a year that challenged many of their competitors to their limits.

This year, though, the game is a bit different, my interview subject told me. This year the target is smart devices with embedded intelligence. These include such devices as process control systems. We hear repeatedly that SCADA systems are a potential target for attackers and, according to Bradford, it's not just that an attacker has compromised one of these devices. The problem may be that a rogue device has been introduced into the enterprise and the enterprise has no way to detect its presence.

Bradford sees that as a NAC problem and is working on solutions. Bradford has an interesting view on innovation. They say that “if it's not broke, don't fix it.” That translates to don't gussy up products just to say that you have a new version, even though the new version has little more to it than a new paint job. Foreign automakers have known that open secret for years. For Bradford, the result is that they are able to focus on serious industry needs instead of mere cosmetics.

One outcome of that philosophy is that the company is free to concentrate on the perennial problems of scalability, edge device management and the recurring rumor that pure play NAC is dying out. Paraphrasing Mark Twain, the rumors of NAC's death are premature. In fact, what Bradford sees is an emerging NAC that has as its mission knowing and having the ability to manage access for everything that touches the enterprise. That's taking a pretty big bite, and I look forward to seeing next year how that worked out for them.

AT A GLANCE

Flagship product: NAC Director Family v4.01
Vendor: Bradford Networks
Cost: Starts at $7,995
Innovation: Breadth and depth of product line
Greatest strength: Ability to see emerging needs and deep commitment to customers