Pulse Secure Updates Network Access Control Platform for IoT

Pulse Secure is set to announce its new Pulse Policy Secure 9 network access control technology, bringing new capabilities to help identify and secure IoT devices.

Pulse Policy Secure 9

Pulse Secure will launch its new Pulse Policy Secure 9.0 release on July 24, providing organizations with enhanced network access control (NAC) capabilities.

With the new update, Pulse Secure is improving its visibility into internet of things (IoT) devices to help organizations set policies and secure access. Pulse Secure is also expanding its integration with threat response technologies such that enterprises can quickly respond to potential issues. 

"Some of the new things that we have done in the latest release have to do with extending IoT security, with the ability to classify a greater number of devices at a more granular level," Sudhakar Ramakrishna, CEO of Pulse Secure, told eWEEK. "Not only do we classify devices, we also give the administrator the ability to set policies and authorization principles such that the security posture and the security compliance requirements of an organization are more easily created and enforceable."

Pulse Policy Secure 9.0 also improves integration with multiple enforcement technologies, including firewalls from Check Point, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks, in an effort to help accelerate threat response, he said.

"When we provide access, or don't, to a user inside a network, we inform the downstream firewall, such that that they can basically monitor traffic intended for that user and take appropriate action," Ramakrishna said. "The other side of the integration is that when they [firewalls] detect something user related that should be prevented or restricted, they send us information so that we can enforce policy on a particular user, because they're at the perimeter and they cannot do much with activities inside the network."


NAC technologies originally relied on agents and the 802.1x protocol to aid in discovery and enforcement of endpoints. Ramakrishna said his company uses both agent and agentless approaches to detect a wide array of devices. He added that some devices announce themselves on a network using a specific protocol, while other devices are detected by sniffing network traffic. Additionally, looking beyond being able to profile devices within the network, Ramakrishna said Pulse Secure can also profile devices outside of an enterprise network. 

On the enforcement side, in addition to 802.1x, the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is increasingly being used for enforcement as well, he said.

Pulse Secure

Pulse Secure was spun out from Juniper Networks in July 2014, with an initial core focus on mobile secure access. Ramakrishna said that four years ago Pulse Secure was largely just a remote access VPN provider.

"Today we are a secure access provider for both data center-based applications and devices as well as cloud-based solutions," Ramakrishna said. "We have broadened the portfolio significantly."

Pulse Secure is now building secure access solutions for people, devices, things and services, he said. The company has four areas of focus, including network access products, which include VPN and NAC, and application access, which is where Pulse Secure's Application Delivery Controller and services director technologies fit in.

In addition, Pulse Secure released its Pulse Services Director 18.1 update on March 21, built on technologies the company originally acquired from Brocade. Rounding out its portfolio is mobile access technologies and cloud access. Ramakrishna said Pulse Secure is tying its portfolio together with a unified client and management platform.

A key theme for Pulse Secure in 2018 is to drive faster growth to the cloud and application access, Ramakrishna said. As such, all its technologies can be consumed through public cloud providers including AWS and Azure.

"Next year, the theme is to secure access for things, so we are building a very strong foundation with this particular release of our NAC, but you will see significant extensions of that into 2019 and beyond," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.