The value of access control is easy to demonstrate

Albany County's lessons start with due diligence on available products

Systems administrators in Albany County, N.Y., rely on a network access control appliance from ForeScout to provide visibility into their network and manage devices connected to it. Easy configuration and quick results were big selling points, but county senior network engineer Perry Blanchard warned against making quick decisions when buying security tools.

“Do the due diligence and look at all the products,” he said. Understand how they work, and know their strengths and weaknesses before making a decision.

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There was little standardization in network access control when the county was evaluating products in 2007, and that complicated the selection process by making comparisons more difficult.

“Things may have changed in the last three years, but from what I’ve seen, not much,” he said.

As a result of the rigorous evaluation, network access control is pulling its weight, and unlike many security tools, it has not been difficult to develop a good business case for it, Blanchard said. Last year, when budgets were tight and every expenditure was being questioned, “this one came up on the chopping block.” But its value was easily demonstrated, and “it was easy to fight for.”

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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