It's hard to lay claim to a first, but it looks as though Bradford Networks and two partners have managed to pull it off. Bradford, along with Windstream Hosted Solutions and DecisionOne, have launched what appears to be the first cloud-based network access control (NAC) service.

The cloud service is based on Bradford's Network Sentry technology, and it will share the name of the on-premise security solution. Besides providing the Network Sentry technology, it's unclear exactly  how much input Bradford had on the cloud service. Windstream, a provider of enterprise-class managed network and hosting services, will be hosting the new service, which will be supported by DecisionOne, a large independent technology support firm.

The cloud-based offering is being delivered in a SaaS form that will enable businesses to get the benefits of Network Sentry without capital investments. In addition to being offered as a SaaS, the Network Sentry is also being delivered by DecisionOne as a managed security service. That increases the choice for consuming Network Sentry technology, which could mean a stronger market penetration for Bradford—a company currently unheard of in the cloud space.

"This enables us to extend the depth and breadth of our global reach and positions the company to maintain and enhance its leadership of the market," said Dan Haley, Bradford Networks CEO, in a prepared statement.

Most of the benefits around the cloud service are what you'd find in the on-premise version, but shifting it to the cloud presents a greater element of scalability and cost-effectiveness. According to the companies, it also can be rapidly deployed and customized to the individual needs of the customer. SLAs are also included in the subscription contract.

"Cloud security solutions are growing in maturity and popularity for many enterprises looking to address IT security issues in a cost-effective and easy manner," said Steven Lack, senior vice president of managed services of DecisionOne, in a prepared statement. "Until now however, we have not been able to leverage the benefits of the cloud to address the BYOD phenomenon that plagues organizations of all sizes."