NAC vendor Mirage Networks says it knows that its alliance with IBM’s Internet Security Systems (ISS) arm competes within Big Blue with the existing relationship between its Tivolo business unit and Cisco on combined ID management and NAC.
Austin, Texas-based Mirage announced its alliance with IBM in February, the thrust of the deal being that Mirage’s NAC technology is offered in a pre-integrated form on the ISS Proventia SiteProtector platform. We started talking to ISS last summer before they were acquired, said Michael D’Eath, Mirage’s VP of corporate and business development, and we’re the first third-party product integrated on that platform.
The idea now is to engage with ISS resellers, and in particular its Platinum partners, who have already been inducted into the greater IBM partner community, as D’Eath explained. We position our offering as providing new endpoint information for unmanaged desktops on SiteProtector. He added that, since ISS was acquired by IBM’s Global Services division, Mirage is now talking to both the initial people at Atlanta, Georgia-based ISS and the Global Services organization now.
He acknowledged that the Cisco deal with IBM’s Tivoli division pre-dates Mirage’s with ISS, adding that it involves Cisco NAC with Tivoli’s Compliance Manager and an agent on the endpoint, and as such is clearly not going to go away, as Cisco has a deep relationship with IBM in other areas, not least the recently announced partnership in unified communications.
It’s important to note, however, that ISS sees Cisco as a major competitor in IDS/IPS, and that’s a dynamic that’s going to shake out, he went on. In other words, while Tivoli will continue to proceed with Cisco for an overall IDM/NAC offering with a compliance wrap-around, Mirage sees opportunities in its relationship with IBM ISS, where the Proventia SiteProtector platform is used by IBM GS as a CPE beachhead to which it can deliver security services generally, be they vulnerability reports or system scans, and as such a NAC component is an integral part of that offering.
Furthermore since with the v3.1 release of its firmware Mirage has filled the last of its four segments of the NAC quadrant, i.e. pre-admission NAC for unmanaged endpoints (pre- and post-admission for managed was already done, as was post-admission for unmanaged), it clearly feels it is in a good position to be, if not the NAC proposition of choice from IBM, at least a NAC offering from IBM, as D’Eath put it.