In a bid to spread its NAC technology into smaller offices, ConSentry Networks has added a smaller version of its LANShield secure network switch.

The 24-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, which lists for £3750, includes flow inspection technology that allows it to carry out a number of tasks. These include NAC (network access control), and the control and auditing of network use and misuse, said Jeff Prince, ConSentry's CTO.

He said that as companies try to foster openness and collaboration, they must open their networks to contractors, suppliers, business partners and customers. "The problem is your company's assets have mostly moved from paper to your fileservers, so your crown jewels are now on the network," he added.

"We have taken two concepts and put them into switching," he continued. "One was identity, the other was to do flow analysis, not packet analysis. So you have the concepts of users and application flows, and now you can do really cool things. NAC is one, another is like a security camera watching your digital assets - you can use it to wind back and see what happened."

Prince claimed that while ConSentry still offers its in-line NAC boxes to customers who aren't ready to replace their edge switches, its switches are now the bulk of its business. A US university recently threw out Cisco switches in favour of LANShield, for example.

The smaller LANShield will allow organisations to push this level of security into even smaller sites, said David Francis, the CIO of ConSentry customer Espeed.

"With LANShield, we've been able to provide controlled network access to our contract workers and gain visibility and control across our remote locations," he added. "This smaller version will let us economically extend that out to even our smallest sites, providing us with consolidated but comprehensive knowledge of, and control over, users and applications across our business."