Bradford Networks, Brocade Join Forces To Take On BYOD

Under the partnership, Bradford Networks' Network Sentry software will be integrated with Brocade's new HyperEdge architecture, which is designed to reduce complexity and increase control and visibility of the network. The combined architecture and access control capabilities offers a path for tackling the BYOD problem, said Vincent Ma, vice president of business development at Bradford Networks.

"We've been helping students bring their own devices into an educational environment for more than a decade, so this isn't a new issue to us," Ma said. "Our differentiation is that Bradford is really vendor-agnostic; we've designed the platform to easily and seamlessly integrate with multiple vendors."

[Related: 6 Steps To Address BYOD: A Security Management Roadmap ]

Cambridge, Mass.-based Bradford Networks sells network access control in both hardware and virtual appliances and competes with Cisco Systems, Aruba Networks and ForeScout Technologies.

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The company's Network Sentry software identifies devices attempting to connect to the network and fingerprints them, provisioning network access based on an organization's security policies.

Bradford Networks' strength is in the education sector, with about 50 percent of its customers being universities and schools that use its software to provision mobile devices and laptops connecting to the network. Bradford Networks' education customers can scale to more than 140,000 devices on the network concurrently, according to Ma.

The company has about 900 enterprise customers worldwide and is seeing growth in financial services, retail, government and health care, a sector in which medical devices and equipment often need to be securely moved and provisioned on the network, Ma said.

Patrick Hiller, CEO of 13-year-old solution provider Abacus, said prospective clients want technologies that integrate easily without introducing complexity.

Abacus, Atlanta, has about 60 customers and partners with Bradford Networks and Brocade for its networking projects. Abacus has seen increased interest in mobile device security and ways to address BYOD issues among its client base. Companies are considering mobile device management platforms to gain control and visibility over data on devices, Hiller said.

"We sell Bradford solutions with network and wired solutions and mobile device management," he said. "We're trying to architect it so it's one integrated, holistic solution versus bits and pieces because, in the end, you want a solution that is fully integrated and scalable."

Brocade HyperEdge was introduced last year. It reduces the network from three to two tiers, making it easier to connect devices and control access to critical systems, said Siva Valliappan, senior director, campus product management at San Jose, Calif.-based Brocade.

"It's a faster, two-tiered architecture that is highly resilient," Valliappan said. "It shortens the duration of deployment and gives greater visibility for the gear while reducing the management burden."