Is Caymas The First NAC Market Casualty?


The future of Caymas Systems, a startup in the once red-hot network access control (NAC) market, was in doubt Wednesday after the company's Web site went dark and its main phone number stopped working.

Caymas has been winding down its operations and looking for a buyer for weeks, and it's unclear if the company's assets have been sold, according to industry sources.

Caymas, which has received $37 million in three rounds of venture capital funding, is backed by Redpoint Ventures, ComVentures and Levensohn Venture Partners.

Company officials and representatives from the three VC firms didn't return phone calls for comment.

Caymas carved out a niche in the crowded NAC market with a unique security appliance that combines SSL and IPSec VPN functionality with NAC.

Caymas' NAC technology blends elements of identity and network security policy information into the access control equation, enabling companies to regulate access based on the type of user, device, location and client configuration.

Financial services was one of the first industries to embrace Caymas' approach to security, said Brian Ross, president of Kryptec.net, an Orange, Calif.-based solution provider and Caymas partner.

Internal financial network transactions tend to happen in the clear, or without encryption, but this information is increasingly at risk because of the growing problem of malware and packet sniffers finding their way onto internal networks and channeling confidential information back to the bad guys, Ross said.

"The way Caymas differentiates themselves is that besides just being an SSL VPN and NAC appliance, you can turn it around and run it internally as well," Ross said.

"Where customers started to see value with Caymas was encrypting the internal traffic, so that even if malware was connected to the internal network, it wouldn't be as easy to sniff out proprietary information," he added.

An early mover in the NAC market, Caymas was one of the first certified members of Cisco's Network Admission Control program. Caymas is also a partner in Microsoft's Network Access Protection initiative.