Traditional network access control (NAC) solutions are no longer enough to protect enterprise networks. Both BYOD and the increasing mobility of enterprise workforces introduce new uncertainties and additional threats to distributed data environments, often requiring new solutions to ensure compliance. NAC market leader ForeScout today announced plans to address these uncertainties with CounterACT RemoteControl, a software extension of the CounterACT NAC solution. RemoteControl will ensure continuous compliance of endpoints even when disconnected from the corporate network.
"We have numerous customers who ask, 'What about the security posture of devices that are remote, online but not connected to the network? Is encryption installed and running? Is antivirus active? Is data leakage prevention (DLP) client software active?" Scott Gordon, ForeScout CMO, told me. And the compliance gaps opened up when endpoint devices are outside corporate control can lead to serious problems, ranging from data breaches to infection by viruses and malware that can later compromise the enterprise network. CounterACT RemoteControl aims to fill in the compliance gaps by providing continuous visibility and policy enforcement of both corporate and personally owned devices, even when off the enterprise network.
CounterACT RemoteControl is not a standalone solution, but rather a downloadable software add-on to CounterACT appliances. Appliances with RemoteControl capability will sit outside enterprise networks "in a corporate DMZ," according to a ForeScout statement. RemoteControl will be administered through the vendor's CounterACT Enterprise Manager, which will enable remote endpoint security policy updates, enforcement, and intelligence-gathering.
RemoteControl is intended for use with PCs and laptops rather than tablets and smartphones, Gordon said. Given the proliferation of such devices in the BYOD era, this omission may appear problematic, but "companies that have applied tight controls to tablets and smartphones will utilize MDM software," he explained. CounterACT already boasts interoperability with a number of leading MDM solutions, so ForeScout does not consider the lack of tablet and smartphone support an issue.
ForeScout plans to offer the RemoteControl capability free for existing customers to download sometime in mid-2014. The vendor will be demonstrating the functionality at its booth at the RSA conference beginning today.
ForeScout has made concerted efforts to differentiate itself from competing vendors in recent months, with an effort to reposition itself as a provider of more comprehensive endpoint visibility, control, and security than the competition. While RemoteControl on its own may not be the most significant step in that direction, it is a meaningful contribution towards that goal.
Jude Chao is managing editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Follow her on Twitter @judechao.