ForeScout ControlFabric to Break Down Security Silos

NAC vendor announces platform for integration, information sharing, visibility, and security automation with CounterACT.

By Jude Chao | Posted Oct 15, 2013
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The increasing complexity and changeability of enterprise networks have made visibility and automation critical attributes. The same holds true for security architectures. Network Access Control vendor ForeScout hopes to capitalize on this with the release of ControlFabric, ForeScout's security integration, visibility, and automation platform, announced today.

Integration with Enterprise Security Solutions

ControlFabric enables enterprises to integrate security solutions, including MDM, Advanced Threat Detection (ATD), Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), endpoint protection, and vulnerability assessment, into CounterACT, enabling real-time, network-wide visibility into users, endpoints, and applications. ControlFabric also enables greater automation of security policy enforcement. Overall, the platform aims to overcome the limitations of discrete, siloed security appliances and solutions to create an integrated, interoperable enterprise security architecture.

ControlFabric comes with out-of-the-box interoperability with "popular network infrastructure, endpoints, directories, systems management, and endpoint security software," according to a company statement. The open standards-based ControlFabric Interface, meanwhile, enables "customers, VARs, systems integrators, and independent software vendors to independently develop integrations between whatever security or management systems the currently have and ForeScout CounterACT," Jack Marsal, ForeScout's director of solutions marketing, said. The ControlFabric Interface employs LDAP, SYSLOG, SQL, Web Services API, and other open standards, and ForeScout plans to add more integrations in the future.

Centralizing Network Security Visibility

The ControlFabric announcement heralds a further change in the NAC product category, Marsal said. ForeScout has been spearheading NAC's evolution into Endpoint Visibility, Access and Control, and ControlFabric marks the next step towards the mainstreaming of that category.

In Marsal's opinion, ControlFabric addresses the key problems with most security solutions these days: "They don't talk to one another, at least not very well." ForeScout recognized that and saw it as an opportunity to turn CounterACT and its integrations into "a clearinghouse of real-time information about everything going on in the network and a way to automatically update endpoints or remediate problems when they exist—a central brain and central automation system" for network security, he explained.

The integrations themselves, which ForeScout previously sold as "data exchange modules," have been around for some time, in some cases over a year. Among them are integrations with FireEye's ATD systems and Tenable's Nessus vulnerability assessment system. "So in terms of maturity, we've been in the market with these open interfaces for over a year," Marsal said.

Partner Vendors

Now that the vendor has changed the name to ControlFabric and added additional interfaces, like the web services interface, ForeScout plans to push the concept much more aggressively with partner vendors. The company already has over 25 technology vendors eager to join the ControlFabric Technology Partner Program.

ForeScout is positioned well to take these next steps, with a strong technology partner ecosystem eight years in the making to leverage. Among the first to commit to the ControlFabric Partner Program are Brocade, Citrix, FireEye, Fortinet, Gigamon, IP, IBM, Invincea, McAfee, Palo Alto Networks, Ruckus, Tenable, and Splunk, and "nearly forty additional vendors are anticipated to join later this year," according to a ForeScout statement.

"This will help ensure a full integration between vendors' products and ForeScout CounterACT," Marsal said.

ENP editor Jude ChaoJude Chao is executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Follow her on Twitter @judechao.

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