Updated July 3, 2023
What is Network Access Control?
Network Access Control is a centralized approach to end-point security that emphasizes network visibility and restrictive access management by implementing policies across all users and devices. NAC intends to do as the name suggests that control the network access. Network Access Management aims at limiting the entry of unauthorized devices or users into a private corporate network. In accordance with corporate networks, Network Access Control gives visibility, access control, and security. Network Access Control helps the organization to identify and apply strict controls for access management, compliance with safety regulations, decrease manual labor, and prevent breaches of data.
How does NAC Work?
Network Access Control is a tool that defines and implements rules that specify which users and devices can access the network using a set of protocols and policies. In most situations, a NAC system is built to prohibit non-compliant and unauthorized device access to the network. Based on a number of factors, such as system health or role-based variables, NAC enables you to deny or allow network access. NAC helps to identify network access policies based on tasks within the company and enforce them. As an outcome, NAC should be configured so that employees only have access to the data required to complete their job functions.
NAC is a two-stage process: authentication and authorization. If either stage fails, then it blocks and quarantines the device or user. DURING AUTHENTICATION, the NAC system prompts the user to enter credentials to check their identity as an authorized user.
Companies, such as username or password, pin, biometric scan, etc can use various authentication forms.
NAC then approves access based on local access policies after authentication. If the access policies authorize the user or computer, access is granted. If not, Access is refused.
Network Access Control Capabilities
Before they can enter your network, NAC solutions mainly work to block attacks, unauthorized access, non-compliant devices, and other risks. Many of its capabilities are, as a result, proactive.
Network Access Control tools perform access management with the following capabilities:
- Centralized policy management: Implementing and enforcing policies without different items or additional modules for operating scenarios, computers, and users.
- Profiling and visibility: Identify users and their computers, categorize them, and allow access as specified by specific business policies.
- Guest networking access: Use a flexible portal to control guest access that includes registration, management, and authentication.
- Security posture check: Determine compliance with security policy and device security by type of user, operating system, and device type.
- Incident response: Mitigate network vulnerabilities by enforcing policies without manual attention that restrict, quarantine, and fix non-compliant systems.
- Bidirectional integration: Integration with other technologies for networks and security.
Why is NAC Important?
Depending on the market, size, IT employees, network infrastructure, and a number of other factors, NAC tools are essential for any business. However, having a flexible way to allow approved devices to connect to your network securely is the key advantage of NAC solutions. Due to the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and their existence in the workplace, NAC has become a powerful tool in recent years. In most situations, antivirus, patches, or host intrusion prevention software is missing or incapable of such IoT devices. NAC will also block them from accessing your network and putting other devices at the possibility of cross-contamination.
Network Access Control is mostly used in the following areas:
1. NAC for Contractors
In order to ensure that non-employees have restricted access rights, NAC solutions allow the organization to account for contractors, guests, visitors, and partners. Before connecting, NAC ensures devices are compatible with pre-defined security policies.
2. NAC for IoT Devices
NAC reduces these risks on IoT devices by offering visibility, access management solutions, and profiling to monitor their network access. The ability to inventory and tag each unknown piece of hardware within the network is one of the key advantages of NAC systems. In short, to ensure that devices are consistent with your security and business policies, NAC systems will monitor IoT operations.
3. NAC for Incident Response
NAC systems may share contextual details with third-party security components like a user ID or device type. In addition, by automatically implementing security policies that quarantine compromised endpoints, NCA solutions will respond to cyber security warnings. That way, any possible danger can easily be contained by your organization. NAC systems now allow for automating some aspects of the incident response plan.
4. NAC for Medical Devices
NAC software allows healthcare institutions to detect and defend against threats and unauthorized access to devices and medical records. Also, NAC solutions are particularly relevant for healthcare organizations that must comply with HIPAA regulations. NAC systems allow you to enhance the protection of healthcare and prevent unauthorized access to PHI.
What is a Network Access Control List?
A network Access Control List (ACL) is a collection of rules that, based on particular requirements, permit or deny access to incoming and outgoing traffic.
The requirements, for example, may depend on the source, destination, system, particular protocol, etc, that attempts to access the network. It can be a time-consuming job to bring on a Network Access Control list. Nevertheless, it is important for the device as well as network protection. Instead of specifying each individual user’s access policies, organize the workers into positions based on their job functions. Also, when building an NAC list, use the Concept of Least Privilege (POLP). POLP gives users only the levels of access they need to do their work.
Data is increasingly important and sought after nowadays. Cybercrime has increasingly turned into a billion-dollar industry. By controlling access to your network, NAC systems allow your business to monitor, identify, and protect your data. So in this article, we have seen what Network Access Control is, why it is important, and its uses.
This is a guide to Network Access Control. Here we discuss the What is Network Access Control?, How does NAC Work? and Why is NAC important? respectively. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –