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Bradford NAC: Network security product overview

Bradford Network Sentry products can be deployed as on-premises hardware appliances, virtual machines or cloud-based services, and they support connection of BYOD devices.

Editor's Note: This Bradford NAC product overview is part of a series on buying network security products for the enterprise. The series explores the evolution of network security and lays out some major use cases. It also looks at the buying criteria for network security products and compares the leading network security vendors in the market.

Perhaps not as well-known as other network infrastructure vendors such as Cisco or Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Boston-based Bradford Networks focuses on endpoint security. Its Network Sentry/NAC product provides comprehensive network access control for a wide range of devices. In addition to the obvious security features -- such as device profiling, endpoint fingerprinting, compliance assessments and guest management -- Network Sentry is engineered with EasyConnect, a function that enables users to connect their BYOD gear to the corporate network. EasyConnect takes much of the sting out of overseeing an NAC tool by automating much of this setup process -- setting configurations, access controls and encryption types. Bradford NAC products also win kudos for their ability to work in multi-vendor environments.

Bradford NAC platform options

Network Sentry/NAC can be deployed as a hardware appliance, software virtual machine (VM) or as a cloud service. Compatibility with all three deployment modes allows for optimal implementation in any type of network architecture. Sizing is based on a per-device count; Bradford does not publicize hardware or virtual machine sizing options or specifications.

Network Sentry/NAC hardware appliance
Bradford NAC sells three different models of its appliance, supporting 2,000, 10,000 and 20,000 devices, respectively. If multiple appliances are needed, Bradford offers a centralized management console.

Network Sentry/NAC virtual machine 
Bradford offers VM appliances that can run in either VMware ESXi or Microsoft Hyper-V environments and are engineered with the same device caps as their hardware counterparts.

Network Sentry/NAC cloud service 
Companies can purchase Network Sentry as a cloud service either as a pure SaaS or as a fully managed service offering. Windstream Hosted Solutions and DecisionOne are two North American Internet service providers that have forged partnerships with Bradford to offer Network Sentry to their customers.

Bradford NAC Pricing and support

Bradford sells its NAC products exclusively through resellers, which can also assist with integration. Bradford does not publicly list pricing, but its Network Sentry/NAC offering commonly starts at just above $15,000 for a 500-device network.

Bradford NAC products are backed by two different support tiers. The gold tier offers call support Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, as well as Web support, access to software updates, and a three-day hardware replacement program. The platinum tier goes beyond that to include 24/7 extended support and next-day hardware replacement.

Next Steps

Read our buyer's guide on network access control.

Learn how port security relates to network access control.

Examine how network access control has adapted to IoT.

Check out our five tips for managing guest access to your network.

This was last published in December 2015

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