Verizon helps customers get a knack for NAC

Verizon Business is offering to help its customers deploy and manage network access control (NAC) technologies that grant users access to networks based not on their IP addresses, but on a combination of their identities, end points and behaviors.

The concept of NAC was originally developed by Cisco in 2003 as a means to ensure endpoints were properly secured and determine when users were accessing a network for unauthorized purposes. While NAC technology adds new layers of protection for corporate networks, it is considered to be very complex and has sparked debates as to whether its potential security benefits outweigh the added headaches its complexities can produce. Indeed, NAC’s complexity has lead to both delays and difficulties in rolling out the technology across entire corporate networks, as well as in implementing it to its fullest capabilities.

Verizon Business says that its new service is aimed not only at getting business customers to understand and appreciate the benefits of NAC technology, but also to help them deploy and manage it across their network.

First, Verizon says that its Business Professional Services team will evaluate customers’ individual needs for network security and will then help them choose an appropriate NAC vendor, such as Cisco, Juniper, ForeScout Technologies or TippingPoint. From there, the team will help customers to install the NAC equipment, to design network infrastructure and to provide customer training. Finally, Verizon will use its Managed Security Services technology to manage and monitor the NAC system year-round.

“We recognize that NAC is very complicated because it’s one of those interesting techs that’s very broad and very deep,” says Omar Khawaja, the manager for security solutions marketing at Verizon Business. “NAC is kind of like a wrench, where you can use it for many different applications. When we go into organizations, a lot of what our professional services team is asking is, ‘What type of business problem are you trying to solve?’ This is because some business will need NAC for certain applications and not others.”

Verizon says that pricing for its professional and managed NAC services depends upon the scope and size of the enterprise, as well as the number of devices that it will be monitoring. For its managed security services, the company is charging a one-time setup fee and a recurring fee based on how many devices need to be managed.

Managed services have increasingly become central to Verizon Business’s core product offerings. In order to improve its managed services capabilities, Verizon Business has invested more than US$150 million in its Impact management platform, one of its major assets in managing customer network services, over the past two years. Currently, Verizon Business manages more than 3,700 customer networks in more than 140 countries, as well more than 250,000 customer communications devices worldwide. The company has rolled out several new management services over the past two years, including telecom management services, a managed wireless LAN service, a WAN optimization service and VoIP migration services for business.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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