Who said Network Access Control technology wouldn't survive?

The 2009 emergence of a Gartner Magic Quadrant for NAC is one sign that the technology that has been derided for not taking off fast enough to survive may finally be maturing -- and doing more than anyone once thought it could.

The NAC technology market got its own Gartner Magic Quadrant this year, showing signs of maturity.

I am on the Gartner Magic Quadrant, therefore I exist. Well not quite. But when Gartner draws up a new Magic Quadrant for a technology -- as it did for Network Access Control technology in 2009 -- there is some indication that it might survive.

That's big news for NAC technology, which was derided as over-popularized and underselling. But Gartner recognized that NAC technology is maturing and is now being used in ways that weren't expected.

Instead of use for lock-out of noncompliant devices -- one that is missing a patch, say -- NAC is these days more likely to be employed for specific network security applications, such as guest network services, endpoint baselining, and identity-aware networking. It's also being used for smartphone security on WLAN.

And although the economy all but crushed the NAC market in 2008 and 2009 (appliance revenues dropped nearly 40% between Q3 2008 and Q1 2009), analysts expect the NAC market to bounce back into the double digits between 2010 and 2013.

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This was first published in December 2009

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