Special mention: BlackBox
As I was looking at NAC products, I stumbled on Veri-NAC from Black Box. Needless to say, I was really surprised. If you, like me, were brought up in the early days of networks, you know this company can ship you just about any networking stuff you need really fast and priced really well. But by "networking stuff" we usually mean patch panels, small hubs, cables and such. I certainly did not expect to see them selling a full-featured NAC appliance.
I was a bit skeptical about Black Box, the patch panel folks, delivering a real NAC product. I decided to talk to them. I was prepared to thank them politely for their time and tell them that they really did not fit this issue. Two hours later, after hearing their amazing story, I called upstairs to SC Lab Editorial Assistant Judy Traub to see if we could find room for one more product. Here's why.
Times change and so do companies. Along with changing times, networks have changing requirements. Perhaps the biggest is security. We've been saying that for a long time, but lately it has started to become axiomatic. Black Box are serious innovators. They practically invented the market they have played in for over 30 years and they have over 175,000 customers worldwide. So now I had to listen carefully because the idea of these folks getting into security intrigued me.
Fact is, this is a reinvention of a sort. Today, Black Box builds over 90 percent of its product. The rest they OEM or white label from other companies. They see a solid future in security tools now that the market is starting to mature, and they plan to exploit that market with all of their experience, connections, current customers and innovative market penetration. They have started with a portfolio of eight products, and I am betting that they will become a real contender in the information security tool space. The big push at Black Box is to be relevant today and if that's not a good story of innovation to end this year's issue on, I don't know what would be.
AT A GLANCE
Flagship product: Veri-NAC
Vendor: Black Box Corp.
Cost: Starts at $2,850
Innovation: Developing an entirely new high capability security product offering as an addition to their existing, often prosaic, networking offerings
Greatest strength: Marketing, huge customer base, history, but most of all a very creative approach to market building