by Kim Borg
The research coverage speaks for itself. In response to news of ForeScout bringing mobile device management to network access control, 451 Research industry analyst Chris Hazelton wrote: "As IT needs to react to the mobile invasion, we see strong synergies between NAC and MDM to control the movement of corporate data across smartphones and Tablets. The goal is to provide a single console for IT to view network usage across desktop, smartphone and tablets. As companies face an invasion of employee-owned mobile devices, the ability to view who, and with what type of device, is connecting to enterprise data becomes increasingly important."
ForeScout, which provides an automated security control platform [see CounterACT review by CTR], is well known for its leadership position in the network access control (NAC) market. Since last year, it has been building up its arsenal to enable IT organizations to attain the same level of visibility and control with personal and managed mobile devices that security operators have with endpoints such as PC workstations, notebooks, servers and virtual machines leveraging NAC.
While the company’s flagship network security product, CounterACT, can identify and set basic policy for both managed and unmanaged mobile devices, the company delivered native mobile security capabilities for iOS and Android following the RSA show this past spring. As a complement to its NAC appliance, ForeScout’s Mobile Security Module adds lightweight and useful mobile device level security at an aggressive price. We interviewed a retailer prospect, who put this product on his most wanted list, saying “it was powerful enough, would have immediate value, conveniently works right within CounterACT, and it meets our budget.” The company also announced the means to integrate with leading mobile device management (MDM) products via an Integration Mobile.
Now ForeScout is upping its mobile security game by entering the MDM market, which Gartner predicts will grow by 21 percent over the next year to the tune of $1.9 billion. By partnering with Fiberlink and customizing the award-winning Maas360 solution, ForeScout is able to bring to market a mature, cloud-based MDM in the form of ForeScout MDM. The joint announcement claims that this is the first integrated NAC and MDM solution that “provides the level of management, visibility and control needed across all mobile devices, users, networks, applications and data.”
Indeed, ForeScout, the fastest growing NAC vendor in the space and among the top three players in the NAC market, appears to be more than just onto the next trend.
Following ForeScout’s Mobile announcement, Cisco announced similar plans to open its NAC product line to support third party MDM players. Other, smaller NAC vendors have also received a boost from BYOD. For example, Enterasys announced support for mobile devices while Bradford Networks announced some integration with Hewlett-Packard’s MDM.
“Companies can’t ignore BYOD, but are well aware of the risks and need for greater security measures. We want to provide customers the most flexibility to advance their mobile security capabilities wherever they sit with BYOD adoption. By offering NAC, native mobile security and MDM approaches, users can choose the right level of security at the right cost relative to the device, user, application and level of risk. It’s a ‘right-sized’ mobile security strategy that is resonating within the market and supported by all the leading market research firms,” said Scott Gordon, vice president of marketing at ForeScout.
The approach is certainly resonating with analysts such as Hazelton, who said: “The integration with MDM, and appropriating some of the capabilities of MDM, mean ForeScout can be used to deliver management and security to a set of employees that don't need or warrant full device management capabilities, such as mobile application provisioning and control. The ability to integrate MDM and NAC will allow different roles within IT to choose between using ForeScout's console or that of the incumbent MDM vendor. This meets IT's need for both simplicity and reduction in the need for training. We got a sneak peak at ForeScout's partner list among MDM vendors, and we like what we see so far.”
IT organizations are indeed hot for BYOD and mobile security, whatever the technology incarnation. Through its own innovation and by partnering with a variety of infrastructure vendors such as Maas360, ForeScout has been able to successfully win over large accounts against larger networking vendor incumbents and seems well positioned to offer a compelling package for BYOD for the mid-tier and Fortune 500.