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Universal NAC Feature Model document
Updated on Saturday, 28 January 2012 06:37
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Universal NAC Feature Model document: 
A guide to model and compare NAC solutions

Author: Jennifer Jabbusch
White paper, feature and mechanical evaluation and comparison of Network Access Control technologies
24 pages, PDF format
2010-03-03 RSA Edition, first release
Copyright Carolina Advanced Digital, Inc., see contact page to request republishing rights

Document Summary

All NAC products are not created equal and there is not a one-NAC-fits-all solution. The Universal NAC Feature Model was developed for internal use at Carolina Advanced Digital and is invaluable in informing and guiding discussions with clients evaluating NAC solutions. Initially intended for private use, the value to the larger industry has led to the development of this material in guidebook form.

One of the leading challenges in discussing NAC is the terminology. Instead of referring to vendor terms or the random acronyms and naming convention used in the NAC frameworks, this guides uses plain English to describe the four feature components of network access control systems and the specific mechanics used to implement the technologies.

This Universal NAC Feature Model is a guide for organizations to model network access control (NAC) features from a variety of products and vendors. It aids in the comparison and analysis of available features and provides a common language to identify and describe required methods and execution of technology. This allows for useful comparisons across vendors who offer the same features, but with drastically different methods.

This document breaks down all the components and mechanics employed by various vendors, explains each piece in detail, and provides commentary on factors to consider while investigating NAC products. The tables and explanations in this guide can be used to map key concepts to their vendor- specific counterparts and map a desired feature to the mechanics that support it.

To all readers, I hope you enjoy the information in this guide and find the layout and explanations useful. As far as I know this is the first document of its kind, outlining the full depth and breadth of NAC features, functions and mechanics from all vendors, in a single guide. I expect it to serve as a foundation for discussions in the industry and in dialogue between consumers and vendors.

This document provides:
– A uniform terminology and descriptions of features and technical mechanics to compare all NAC products currently available.
– A hierarchical view of NAC features and mechanics in a simple one-page table.
– An explanation of the technical mechanics of NAC and commentary on considerations as you investigate NAC solutions.
– A foundation that will grow and be updated as technologies and products change in the market.

Related documents: Catching the Unicorn: a technical exploration of why NAC is failing

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2 Comments
  1. CommentsWhat We’re Reading, Week of 3/8 « VPN Haus   |  Friday, 12 March 2010 at 12:45 pm

    […] RSA Conference Lawrence Orans shares some highlights from a panel outlining the best practices for NAC that he moderated at the RSA Conference. Session attendees asked questions about choosing EAP […]

  2. CommentsWhat We’re Reading, Week of 3/15 « VPN Haus   |  Thursday, 18 March 2010 at 4:30 pm

    […] employee whose personal laptop infected the network, a northern California credit union is using a network access control (NAC) appliance to prevent insider threats. The company says they haven’t suffered any more […]


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