Gartner, for one, is predicting the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon, in which employees are being allowed to use their own personal Apple iPads, iPhones, Google Android devices, and other mobileware for business purposes, will lead to a revival of NAC.
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NAC, you may recall, was supposed to be widely used for employee and guest worker computer access to enterprise networks, doing things like checking to make sure antivirus or patch updates were in place before allowing users on. Although a respected technology, NAC just didn't catch on to big effect. This time around though, NAC will be wedded to mobile device management (MDM) software and the NAC function will be there to ensure MDM requirements are being met before allowing that Android devices, iPhones, or Windows mobile devices onto the networks -- at least that's the idea.
"NAC has been around for almost 10 years," says Gartner analyst Lawrence Orans, who acknowledges the "first wave" of NAC crested with a fairly modest adoption, mainly by financial institutions and some high-security situations, plus a few universities.
But NAC is getting a second chance to go mainstream because of BYOD, and this time it will gain much more ground as a security approach, Orans predicts. "BYOD is an unstoppable trend," he says, with businesses in ever greater numbers allowing employees to carry enterprise data on personal tablets.