Nevis Networks is upgrading its NAC software for so that its appliances can be more application-specific.

The company said that with Version 4.0 of its system software, it is moving toward application intelligence in its devices. The first example of this is the ability to recognise and control peer-to-peer and instant messaging. This will be upgraded over time to recognise and control more applications, the company says.

The new software includes a messaging client that puts an icon in the system tray of users’ machines that pops up messages. For example, it might tell the user that his anti-virus is out of date and therefore his machine is being quarantined.

A new policy evaluation tool lets customers write changes to policies and see how they interact with existing policies before they go into effect. So if a user is granted membership in an additional user group in Active Directory, the tool can show how the aggregate rules of the user’s previous groups and the proposed new group will interact and be enforced. This can be done without actually deploying the new rules and inadvertently creating security holes.

The software adds Active X and Java agents for performing health checks on devices that are logging in to networks; the agents can be distributed even if the user doesn’t have administrative rights to the machine. The agents can be downloaded via Microsoft Windows Installer.

A new real-time health dashboard lets administrators see what users are on the network, what machines they are using, how many machines have violated policies and the like. Before this data was available, but only historically.

New reporting software enables custom reports that could be devised, for instance, to help show that a business is meeting a government or industry regulation. A related online community has been set up so customers can share these regulation-specific reports with others that need to comply with the same regulation.