Cybersecurity has become a huge concern all round the world. Unauthorized access points to data are some of the key areas issues that need to be addressed. Organizations need to control access to their network resources to manage who should be allowed to access data and use resources. Network access control (NAC) solutions help to achieve this by restricting user access through various authentication methods.
Some of the foremost reasons why NAC is a top network security option include its speedy improvement in network performance, network visibility, and reducing the possible event of cyber threats.
So, regardless of your fears, whether it is about IoT devices overrunning your network or your next big network security audit, you’ll find network access control helpful.
Now, what is Network Access Control (NAC)? Network access control is a security solution that secures corporate network data and assets by authenticating trusted and compliant users and devices before being offered access. Once access is granted, the systems provide visibility into items on the network on both managed and unmanaged devices.
How Does NAC Work?
NAC controls the entry path to corporate assets. It ensures that only scrutinized and trusted entities are given access to those resources. NAC solutions detect devices accessing a network and ensure network visibility while enforcing full compliance with network security policies. An instance is to ensure that every device NAC uses anti-malware and antivirus protection that is fully up-to-date. Non-compliant devices may either be blocked from accessing the network, be limited in access rights, or may be quarantined. The network policies play a massive role in results.
NAC works on two primary levels. The first level is by authenticating, identifying, and verifying the credentials of devices and users. Various tools harness diverse authentication methods. Some common methods include utilizing passwords, biometrics, and one-time passwords/pins.
The second level involves the authorization process through policy factors, including assessing user location, role, and health. Most NAC devices can also restrict access by role, allowing users to view or use only resources that are peculiar to their work. However, it is either quarantined or blocked if a device is not found eligible to access a network.
5 Reasons Why You Need NAC
Every business owner should implement NAC to bolster their network security and improve their overall business activity. Here are the top reasons NAC should be a plan A regarding network security.
1. NAC Helps to Combat Cybercrimes
With cybercrime hitting over 600% since COVID forced companies to work from home, it is only a must that any organization that must thrive must first have a strategy to combat cyber insecurity. Otherwise, it is only a failed project from the start.
And when business owners have a reliable strategy to frustrate unauthorized access to data, companies can be assured of the safety of their data. Network access control helps to lessen threats and attacks on corporate networks in two ways: limiting the malware scope and role-based access control.
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) assigns an accurate corresponding role for every user or device building a connection to the corporate network. RBAC focuses on each employee’s role in a company and gives functions to them on the web to use resources relevant to their tasks.
You may think of RBAC as a kind of parental control feature used to monitor a child’s internet use. It is very much similar to it on a more finite and larger scale.
In combating cybercrimes, NAC uses authentication and authorization methods.
The Authentication method is when the security system checks user credentials before offering them access or denying their requests.
The Authorization method is when the system considers network policies as a measuring device to determine who gets access. A user must pass the two steps to achieve the requested access to data. Enforcing and assigning security policies based on roles (also known as endpoint integrity) allows you to choose how the devices are trying to access networks behave.
Another way NAC enforces security is to limit the scope of malicious behavior within the network. So it ensures that end users adhere to terms of service and that viruses aren’t deliberately transmitted.
2. NAC Helps to Gain Visibility on the Network
You’ll only be able to deliver an assured security experience when you understand how users access the network and what exactly they are doing or where they are going. NAC helps you know who, what, where, when, and how a device or end-user uses the corporate network. This also encompasses what IoT devices are accessing the network. With every identity and activity transparently monitored, network security is enhanced.
3. NAC Ensures Improve Performance on a Network
NAC is not only beneficial for securing an enterprise network, but it is also great for enhancing network performance. Many companies use multiple SSIDs for staff to avoid using a NAC tool. However, while this can help at a basic level, each SSID consumes bandwidth which in turn cripples the performance of your network.
The NAC solution allows all staff on the same SSID since there are policies in place already based on each employee’s role. For instance, you can restrict access to the Chief Marketing Officer while giving more access to the IT team. In addition, you may create role-specific bandwidth contracts that limit or reserve rates based on individual roles.
4. NAC Enables Incident Response
With an active NAC operation, organizations may share information such as device types, user IDs, and contextual data with third-party security point products. This facilitates automated incident response with NAC systems and automatically counters cyber security threats by quarantining and/or blocking problematic devices without IT intervention.
5. NAC Prevents IoT Device Exploitation by Cybercriminals and Creates Network Segment
NAC prevents cybercriminals from exploiting IoT devices connected to the company. It also creates network segmentation through subnets and virtual local area networks, known as VLANs. VLANs construct smaller network segments that virtually connect the hosts, and Subnets create smaller subnets by using IP addresses to differentiate a network.