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3/19/2008
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Lockdown Networks Shuts Down

NAC vendor cites slow adoption of technology, sagging economy, and lack of VC funding

Another bad omen for NAC: NAC vendor Lockdown Networks has suddenly closed its doors, citing slow adoption of the technology and lack of venture capital funding. Lockdown’s demise could signal a new wave of NAC vendor casualties, security experts say.

The Seattle-based company went public with its shutdown late yesterday via a notice posted on its Website: “Due to overall economic trends and slower than predicted adoption of Network Access Control (NAC) technology, the company was unable to raise additional sufficient venture capital to continue,” says a notice on the company’s home page.

Lockdown’s shutdown follows that of Caymas Systems, which went out of business last year, and a changeup by Vernier Networks, which reportedly is about to relaunch with a new name and non-NAC strategy.

Lockdown’s VC-backed position as a NAC-only vendor didn’t help its cause: “They were a pure-play NAC vendor, and NAC did not set the world on fire as the VCs anticipated,” says Thomas Ptacek, principal with Matasano Security.

“Lockdown had a real product and a decent team. But no VC looked at the market and said there was money to be made in it,” says Ptacek, who expects other NAC vendors to follow with more bad news.

Bottom line: Enterprises just haven’t adopted NAC despite all of the hype surrounding the technology. Paul Roberts, senior analyst for enterprise security with The 451 Group, says pure-play NAC vendors are running out of the venture capital that has basically kept them alive thus far.

“We had noted some troubling signs at Lockdown in recent months -- a shrinking headcount and an unsettling number of open job positions on their engineering team,” Roberts says. “Their most recent product updates seem targeted squarely at the education vertical, suggesting that they were having trouble bridging the gap to the larger and more lucrative enterprise space.”

Alan Shimmel, chief strategy officer for StillSecure, expects more NAC vendors to face the music soon, if they aren’t as diversified as StillSecure and other firms, he says. “There are some NAC vendors who are going to find it hard to raise more money, especially because of the economy. If they don’t have a flexible enough offering and strategy, they will find themselves frozen out of the market,” he says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if a handful of other NAC vendors find it difficult to compete.”

But Shimmel says StillSecure is making money with its NAC product, both with customers such as the Department of Defense and also with its OEM and reseller arrangements with companies such as Extreme Networks and Foundry Networks. “We are seeing more and more NAC projects,” he says. StillSecure isn’t just pure NAC company like Lockdown was, he says, because it also sells IDS/IPS and vulnerability management products.

Ptacek, meanwhile, says none of Matasano’s enterprise customers are seriously considering NAC. “NAC has been on a down trend for a year and a half and none of my enterprise customers are really thinking about doing it -- except for one, who is looking into wireless NAC as a cost-cutting measure,” he says.

Lockdown is also trying to sell off its Enforcer IP NAC product, which the company had retooled from a vulnerability assessment product into its NAC offering.

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  • Lockdown Networks Inc.
  • StillSecure
  • Matasano Security LLC
  • The 451 Group

    Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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