A Guide to Implementing Network Access Control Software

IoT (Internet of Things) concept.
IoT (Internet of Things) concept.

There is no question that a network access control software solution can be a handy tool for protecting your business from malicious cyberattacks. It can help to keep your network secure from the likes of viruses, malware, and ransomware. This is especially important when dealing with the challenges of providing access to hundreds of users daily.

Authenticating users and devices

Authenticating users and devices with network access control software provides companies with an accurate record of all the devices that are allowed to access their network. Tracking user activity helps secure the IT experience and ensure compliance. NAC solutions also allow security managers to block unauthorized access, monitor endpoints and enforce security policies.

Typically, NAC uses a set of protocols to authenticate users and devices. These devices are then checked to see if they meet the organization’s security standards. For example, some applications require biometric confirmation or two-factor authentication. Those processes can help prevent malware and other threats to your data.

Network access control has come a long way from its earliest days. It began as a way to authenticate users before granting them access to the network. Today, it is an essential tool for modern businesses. Using the right solution can protect your network from a wide range of cyberattacks.

Next-generation solutions must be able to maintain granular policy control. They should also be able to provide least-privileged access. This means that access is only granted to those users and devices that need it.

Regarding security, there are three main types of controls: pre-admission, mandatory, and post-admission. Depending on the type of device, location, and time zone, each control may limit access to certain resources.

Pre-admission control checks a device’s physical posture before granting access. Its role is similar to that of a firewall. Similarly, post-admission controls examine a device’s behavior before allowing or denying access.

In a zero-trust configuration, both post-admission and pre-admission controls work together to quarantine and isolate devices that don’t comply with the organization’s security policies. Depending on your business needs, you can restrict access based on time zones, service type, or a group of identified users.

Scalability and flexibility

One of the most important aspects of a network access control (NAC) solution is scalability. Scalability refers to the ability of a NAC product to handle an ever-increasing workload without negatively impacting other infrastructure elements. This can be achieved by using a scalable architecture that can be easily updated to accommodate new and emerging technologies.

There are several different ways to achieve the feat of scaling your network’s resources. The best NAC solution is one that can be applied to multiple network infrastructure devices. For example, a cloud-based solution might allow you to add more services to your network without having to rewire the entire thing. Another alternative is to use an open-source NAC solution. In this case, several are available, including Aruba ClearPass and Fortinet FortiNAC.

Aside from scalability, there are other factors to consider. You might need a system that supports captive portals or bolsters security by isolating unpatched machines. Also, you’ll need to choose a solution that provides high visibility into your network, or you could be looking at a massive security headache down the road.

Besides scalability, a NAC solution’s functionality might be a bit overrated. While NAC products can prevent rogue access points and enhance security, they are no replacement for a robust network management suite and a full-time support team. If you need a more robust solution, you should investigate a VPN, such as the Cisco or Fortinet VPN, which offers an enterprise-grade suite of tools. Alternatively, a dedicated security team can keep an eye on your cloud-based NAC solution.

Fortinet’s FortiNAC is a complete network infrastructure management solution that can be purchased from 150 vendors and supports dozens of networking products ranging from routers to switches to firewalls. The company also touts its scalability in the context of millions of endpoints.

Ransomware protection

Ransomware is a form of malware that prevents access to a computer. It encrypts the data on the device and holds it, hostage until the victim pays a ransom. The malware can spread from a single infected machine to other computers on the network.

There are a number of ways to keep your business safe from ransomware attacks. One way is to use a multi-factor authentication solution. This helps make it harder for cybercriminals to gain initial access. Another strategy is to use a unique passphrase for each account.

Anti-virus software can detect and eliminate ransomware. Additionally, updating your computer system with the latest security patches can help protect you.

Some companies also implement network access control (NAC) to ensure that employees only access the systems they are allowed to. This can be done through manual or automated updates. You can also opt for a multi-factor authentication solution, which involves additional authentication layers.

Taking the time to understand the best practices for protecting your business from ransomware is the first step. An expert can assist you if you’re unsure what to do.

The ACSC has developed a Ransomware Backup and Response Register that can help businesses prepare for potential attacks. It also contains guidance on preventing malware from infecting your business.

The best protection against ransomware is a good backup. You can save a copy of your important files to an external storage device or to the cloud. Make sure to back up your most critical information regularly.

You can also engage with an incident response team to speed up your response to a malware attack. These experts can perform an analysis of the damage and block users from accessing your network. They can also report the attack to law enforcement.

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