Sometimes it takes a couple of days to figure out what is hot at a security conference. This year it is Network Access Control. Note that I cannot bring myself to call it Network admission control. As all my posts knocking CNAC demonstrate I think relying on endpoints to attest to their own health and admissability is crazy and will never fly. But, Cisco had been hammering the idea for two and a half years now and despite what many post dot.commers believe, marketing works. So Cisco has created pent up demand for something that they actually cannot deliver just yet.
There are several companies that can deliver on NAC and they were the most frequently named companies in conversations around the Expo floor and at the numerous parties around downtown San Jose. Those companies fall in to two categories: the switch based hardware companies like ConSentry, Tippingpoint/3com and Nevis, and the behavior based, mostly software solutions coming from Mirage Networks, and Lockdown Networks. It is so hot that there are venture backed "stealth mode" companies waiting in the wings as well.
Although I will argue against the need to check device health before letting it on the network, and quarantine is just a nightmare, all of these new solutions have aspects of Secure Network Fabric that will provide a net improvement in security if deployed properly.
It is beginning to feel like NAC is a snowball gaining momentum on the way towards the precipice. Hopefully when it falls apart at the bottom of the cliff the core security technologies will survive.