In Short, agentless NAC network access control uses active directory to scan a device to verify that it is in compliance.
Why Should You Invest in a Network Access Control (NAC) System?
In recent years, as mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) have gained popularity in various industries around the world, NAC solutions have become an extremely useful tool. These latest pieces of digital technology each have their own collection of vulnerabilities, posing a challenge for IT security professionals.
Fortunately, NAC products are designed to accommodate vast enterprise networks with a variety of device types constantly attempting to communicate. Companies who follow a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, which allows workers and vendors to use their own smartphones and tablets on the local network without a NAC in place, are taking a big risk. NAC strategies are expensive up front, but they pay off in the long run.
Network Access Control Solutions’ Capabilities
Given how complicated the subject of cybersecurity is in today’s high-tech environment, several businesses feel compelled to approach it from several perspectives. They purchase an antivirus solution from one manufacturer, add a firewall from another, and manage access permissions using a completely different framework.
However, in recent years, the trend has changed to a more unified approach, with the principle of network access control being adopted (NAC). By implementing policies across all users and devices, NAC solutions are designed to improve the overall security of your internal infrastructure.
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“In a way that defensive work never did, this really opened my eyes to AD security.”
While a single NAC product might not be able to prevent all cyberattacks, it can dramatically reduce the risk level of your company’s most valuable data assets.
- Capabilities of the NAC
- NAC’s Ins and Outs
- Steps to Implementation
- What to Look for When Choosing a Solution
- Frequently Asked Questions about Network Access Control
NAC for Partners or Vendors
In order to compete in a fast-paced market, businesses must be able to integrate with third-party suppliers and partners quickly and easily. This can often be done by exchanging raw data streams, but for a truly seamless experience, full network-to-network integration is needed in many cases.
The tricky thing about network access controls is granting network access to suppliers and partners without exposing yourself to new attack vectors. A virtual private network (VPN) client is often included in a NAC solution to allow external users to access internal resources through a secure channel. All activity will, of course, be registered via the NAC tool so that it can be tracked.
For Incident Response, there is a National Advisory Committee (NAC).
Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are now being used in the development of newer NAC products. This ensures that some aspects of the incident management process can be automated, which is good news for IT teams. Instead of spending time and resources attempting to isolate a problem and prevent it from spreading, you can now concentrate on restoring machine capability.
Consider the case where a hacker manages to gain access to an IoT sensor on your company’s network. The NAC tool will be able to detect that this piece of hardware has been compromised and will automatically disable its access to restrict the attack’s reach.
NAC for Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD)
As previously stated, the vast majority of businesses are now implementing a BYOD policy to encourage workers to use their own personal devices at work rather than spending money on purchasing dedicated hardware for each individual. However, since you don’t have complete control of how the machines on your network operate, this makes IT protection even more difficult.
Typically, with a NAC approach, every new computer would be prevented from accessing the internal network before it passes the security policy’s requirements. To gain complete access to internal resources as an employee, you must instal the NAC-approved app or client on your computer.
What Is a Network Access Control System, and How Does It Work?
The NAC system is in charge of storing and implementing the organization’s access policies to all requests sent. This is usually accomplished in two stages: authentication and authorization. If any move fails, the request is blocked to ensure network security. Zero-trust encryption is what it’s called.
The NAC framework prompts the user to enter credentials to check their identity during authentication. A biometric scan or a username/password search may be used to accomplish this. The NAC system then goes on to the authorization level, where it consults the local access policies and determines whether or not the user’s request is accepted.
What is a Network Access Control List and How Do I Make One?
Creating a NAC list for the first time can be time consuming. To understand how protection should be configured, you must examine every piece of hardware in your network as well as every user within your organisation. Fortunately, there are certain best practises you can use to streamline the process.
To begin, make your NAC list’s structure role-based. Instead of creating policies for each individual person, you organise workers into positions based on their job functions and create access policies accordingly. Another important move is to follow the principle of least privilege (POLP), which tells IT teams to only give users the access levels they need to do their jobs.
Network Access Control (NAC) Solution Implementation
Example of how to use a nac
It can be tempting to go out and buy a NAC product and then instal it on your hardware right away, particularly if you’re worried about a cyberattack on your company. However, it’s important to take a step back and prepare your NAC solution’s entire implementation. The following are the key steps to take:
Before you can successfully deploy a NAC solution, you must conduct a thorough audit of all network endpoints. Any computer, server, and piece of equipment that interacts with digital resources falls under this category. Your NAC system would fail to protect the entire company without this knowledge.
Keep track of your identities
The next step is to determine how you’ll handle user identities within your business. This brings us back to the authentication and authorization problem. Once you’ve set up your current directory systems to validate user identities, you can start thinking about how permission roles should be configured.
When designing permission policies, keep the POLP rules in mind: only grant access to the degree that is absolutely necessary for a person to perform their duties. Otherwise, you risk exposing your systems to attack by security flaws that you were unaware of.
Make Use of Permissions
You should be able to merge your current directory structure or import your permission policies directly into your NAC tool. Employees, partners, and vendors should all be registered as users in the NAC system so that their access levels and behaviour can be tracked.
Make any necessary changes.
Always remember that controlling network access controls is a continuous process. Your IT department must continue to track security operations and make changes to authorization policies as the company grows.
What to Look for When Choosing a Network Access Control Solution
As previously mentioned, today’s NAC products seek to cover a broad variety of use cases in order to improve your company’s overall protection. Finding the right solution for your business can be difficult, particularly if you don’t know what your internal security flaws are.
5 Products and Solutions for Network Access Control
Let’s take a closer look at five NAC options to see how they compare in terms of features and functionality.
- Cisco Identity Services Engine — As one of the industry leaders in networking, it’s no surprise that Cisco has a robust NAC solution. It has a deployment capacity of 1.5 million endpoints and provides AI functionality for faster incident response.
- Pulse Policy Secure — Pulse Secure’s NAC solution is capable of completely securing mobile devices and IoT hardware on your network. Permission policies can be easily generated using a wizard and scaled up to accommodate 50,000 concurrent users in your business.
- Aruba ClearPass — Aruba’s NAC solution focuses on delivering real-time information on what devices are connected to your network and how they are being used. To reduce the possibility of external attacks, it can be used in conjunction with the Aruba Policy Enforcement Firewall.
- FortiNAC — Fortinet provides a variety of security options, including a network access control (NAC) product that works in both physical and virtual environments. Best of all, FortiNAC was designed to work with over 150 different vendor products to help you complete your cybersecurity strategy.
- ForeScout CounterACT — ForeScout’s NAC product is intended to put all of the security silos together and create a single management portal. It’s designed to manage any kind of IoT hardware and assist you in automating the security monitoring of those devices.
What features does network access control have?
Limiting network access to particular users and specific areas of the network is an essential feature of network access control. As a result, a visitor could be able to access the corporate network but not internal resources. This form of security monitoring may have helped Target avoid the 2013 assault, in which hackers obtained access to a third-party vendor’s network and launched an attack on Target when the vendor linked to it.
Employees can also gain unauthorised access to data using network access control. In this way, an employee who wants access to the corporate intranet won’t be able to see confidential customer data unless their job requires it and they’ve been granted permission.
A network access control system limits user access while also blocking access from endpoint devices that do not follow corporate security policies. This prevents a virus from entering the network via a computer that originates outside of the company. Before being granted network access, all employee devices used for company business must comply with corporate security policies.
What role does network access control play?
Network access control is not suitable for all businesses, and it is incompatible with some existing security measures. Organizations with the time and resources to properly enforce network access controls, on the other hand, can provide a much stronger and more robust layer of security around valuable or sensitive properties.
Network access control can help IT departments that use virtual machines in their data centres, but only if they are careful about the rest of their security controls. Since virtual servers can move around a data centre and a dynamic virtual local area network (LAN) can shift as the servers move, virtualization presents unique challenges for NAC. Not only can network access control for virtual machines expose unintended security flaws, but it can also make it difficult for businesses to adhere to data auditing requirements. This is due to the fact that conventional security approaches use IP addresses to locate endpoints. Since virtual machines are dynamic and move around, they are more difficult to secure.
Furthermore, virtual machines are simple and quick to set up, which means that novice IT administrators might set up a virtual machine without putting in place all of the necessary network access controls. Another weakness happens when virtual machines are brought back from a state of inactivity. If new updates were released when the server was in rest mode, they could not be implemented when the system is re-deployed. To ensure that everything on their network, down to the application level, is safe, a growing number of organisations are incorporating application security into their network security controls.
What forms of network access control are there?
Network access control can be divided into two categories. Both of these elements of network security are critical:
Pre-admission: The first form of network access control is known as pre-admission because it occurs before network access is granted, when a user or endpoint device requests network access. A pre-admission network control reviews the access request and only allows entry if the system or user making the request can demonstrate compliance with corporate security policies and authorization to access the network.
Post-admission network access control occurs when a user or computer attempts to access a certain section of the network after being admitted. If pre-admission network access control fails, post-admission network access control will limit lateral movement within the network, limiting the damage caused by a cyber attack. Any time a user or computer wants to travel to a different part of the network, they must re-authenticate.