NaaS Startup Nile Launches Secure Guest Access Service To Simplify The ‘Complex’

Nile’s new service is “180 degrees opposite” of everything IT teams are used to doing to set up and maintain a secure guest network, which will greatly simplify and scale the process for solution providers, one Nile channel partner tells CRN.


John Chambers-backed networking-as-a-service startup Nile has launched a managed access service for enterprises that channel partners can use to solve a very common problem that shows up in every enterprise network today: securing guest access.

Nile Guest Service, an extension of the startup’s zero trust networking philosophy, offers enterprises and the partners managing their environments an easy way to keep corporate resources protected and separate from visitor or guest traffic. The service at the same time frees up IT teams to focus on other strategic work rather than protecting the company against guest devices and doesn’t require any up-front capital expense, according to Özer Dondurmacıoğlu, vice president of services marketing for Nile.

“As an overall technology offer for wired and wireless LANs … There’s a Nile-designed, Nile-provided hardware system. That hardware system comes with security capabilities built-in, like zero trust, isolation, segmentation, continuous authentication, and the like. Guest Access is an additional feature in that bucket of security services. We’ve been on a mission to eliminate as many complexities in that project scope as possible. Guest Access is just one of those,” Dondurmacıoğlu said.

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[Related: Nile Infuses ‘Reimagined’ NaaS Platform With Zero Trust Capabilities]

Secure guest network access today is largely done via two methods. One is the creation of a demilitarized zone, or a DMZ, which is a physical or logical sub network that separates a local area network (LAN) from other untrusted networks, like the public internet. “This becomes kind of like a mirror image of your security infrastructure but directly attached to the internet,” Dondurmacıoğlu said.

For uncomplicated networking use cases as is the case for many small businesses or midmarket customers, the existing network infrastructure can be used while tunneling guest access through the existing firewall in which employee traffic is segmented. Still, this method requires a lot of setup and configuration on the back end for IT teams, Dondurmacıoğlu said.

Traditional guest Wi-Fi services require IT teams to update wireless LAN configuration, VLAN / IP subnet provisioning, and firewall zone updates for traffic and device isolation. The process often means additional cost and increased risk to the IT infrastructure due to potential human error in defining and managing security rules, Nile said.

Nile Guest Service, on the other hand, is simplifying the guest access experience, Dondurmacıoğlu said.

The offering works by isolating visitor or guest traffic from internal network resources by automatically tunneling it to a local point of presence (PoP). From there, it is forwarded directly to the internet. Guest traffic is logged as coming from a Nile IP address rather than a customer IP address, the company said.

“There will be additional security features that we’ll build on top of it, but at this point, it’s not only isolating guest traffic, but fully transporting it off the enterprise network,” Dondurmacıoğlu said. “We tunnel the traffic to the nearest PoP, we apply the right captive portal of authentication rules, and off they go. There’s no DMZ to setup, there’s no firewalls to manage. This is very similar to the cloud security model used by other vendors like Zscaler.”

Matt McPherson, co-founder and CTO for People Driven Technology Inc., a Byron Center, Mich.-based solution provider and Nile partner, called the new service “180 degrees opposite” of everything IT teams are used to doing to set up and maintain a guest network.

“Thinking about what should be simplistic things like network access and having to think about them hop by hop … and what’s the security like every step along the way? What seems simple at face value is very complex for us from the integration and day-to-day management point of view,” McPherson said. “Nile’s approach to ingraining security into the fabric and delivering network as a service [lets us] deliver business value in a very quick, efficient, scalable and secure way.”

People Driven Technology, a firm that got its start in 2021, is focused on helping its customers transform their businesses through technology. The solution provider has been partnering with Nile, among a slew of other networking and security providers since its start and relies on Nile for its own networking infrastructure, McPherson said.

“I think people often shy away in their thinking around the network being a part of digital transformation,” he said. “The true power of Nile and network in the service in general, helps represent a key piece of the puzzle that’s been missing for our clients as their business is transforming.”

Nile in August revealed it raised $175 million in Series C funding that will go toward the company’s global market expansion. The latest round brings Nile’s total funding to $300 million.