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Slow NAC adoption kills off ConSentry

Alex Scroxton

Network Access Control (NAC) vendor ConSentry Networks has pulled down the shutters with the loss of all jobs at the company.

Founded in 2003, ConSentry raced through over $80m of venture capital dollars during its lifetime, $9m since January 2009.

However, despite being widely promoted, the nascent NAC market never really took off as intended, and the firm is by no means the first in the space to have folded.

Lesser-known NAC vendors such as Lockdown Networks and Caymas Systems have also gone belly up, although Citrix subsequently bought parts of Caymas.

Barrie Desmond, business development director at ConSentry's UK distributor VADition, said ConSentry had simply run out of luck.

"At the end of the day, it's a story of brilliant technology that just ran out of time before the spirit of the market caught up with it; it was basically bad luck," he said.

"The cheese was there, but ConSentry was first onto the trap; I hope a second mouse will come along eventually," Desmond added, forecasting that ConSentry's technological IP would almost certainly be bought by another vendor.

VADition will continue to support existing ConSentry kit through its partners for the foreseeable future.

One former ConSentry employee told MicroScope that the firm had slipped up because "NAC is a feature, not a product".

He added: "People just didn't want to pay big money for something that could sit just as well on the perimeter."

The NAC market suffered from the perception that it was very costly - installation of a NAC solution usually required significant and costly upgrades to the end-user network, which in recent months have become even less viable in the downturn.

Despite this downside there was nothing wrong with the technology itself, which had many cheerleaders, and ConSentry played its part in talking up the solution, developing some innovative ideas to tackle the negative image of NAC

However it began to find itself tarred by association, which was ultimately its undoing.

ConSentry management was unavailable for comment, but it is understood that serial entrepreneur and ConSentry CTO Jeff Prince, who also founded Foundry Networks, will almost certainly resurface elsewhere.

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