Nevis Networks is upgrading the software for its NAC appliances to do more application-specific enforcement.

Version 4.0 of its system software will offer the ability to recognise and control peer-to-peer and instant messaging. This will be upgraded over time to recognise and control more applications, said the company.

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 For example, it might tell users that their anti-virus software is out of date and therefore their machines are being quarantined.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 users are granted membership in additional user groups in Active Directory, the tool can show how the aggregate rules of 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.

The software also now supports endpoint scanning for Mac OS X. Before Macintoshes could be whitelisted but not scanned.

The Nevis LANenforcer 2124 appliance is shipping now. It supports 3,000 users and costs US$45.000 (£22,500)