Network access control solutions prevent unauthorized users, devices, and applications from entering the organization’s network. They also provide visibility and serve as a perpetual inventory to authenticate, profile, and apply permission systems to devices, users, and their roles.
Look for an NAC solution that integrates with your network firewall, IAM, and SIEM platforms. This consolidates your security posture into a single point of accountability and control.
Reduce the Risk of Cyberattacks
Network access control solutions help businesses reduce the risk of cyberattacks by authenticating devices and users continually. This ensures that only authorized devices and users can access critical information and resources within the organization’s network. It also helps stop unauthorized machine- or user-based activity leading to malware infections and other cyber threats that can quickly escalate into serious business setbacks.
Moreover, network access control solutions provide visibility into the status and condition of all endpoints, including those not connected to the network. They also detect and block unauthorized devices from gaining entry to the network. They can help organizations meet compliance standards for data security, such as those specified in government norms and industry regulations like HIPAA, SOX, and NIST.
In addition, NAC helps grant access to non-employees (like guests, contractors, consultants, or partners) so they can connect to the network without needing to engage IT staff. This helps boost productivity while protecting against the risk of a costly security breach. NAC solutions allow administrators to create and implement access rules for these external users that can vary from those for employees. For example, an IT team can establish a “quarantine” rule that grants temporary access to these individuals so they can perform tasks like updating software or installing patches but doesn’t give them full network access privileges.
Reduce the Cost of Security
Network access control solutions allow administrators to track and protect devices at scale. This reduces the workload for IT resources and enables them to focus on critical threats that can cause substantial financial losses.
The ability to limit device access based on user and device type, location, operating system, and other criteria reduces the number of vulnerable devices that can connect to an organization’s network. NAC solutions authenticate users and their devices before granting access to prevent cyberattacks, and they monitor device behavior to take action when unauthorized or suspicious activity is detected.
With the growing prevalence of BYOD and work-from-anywhere policies, many organizations must provide temporary network access to guests, partners, contractors, and employees. NAC solutions probe guest devices for compliance with security policies, and they can quarantine non-compliant devices to protect against malware threats that may infiltrate the organization when it reconnects to its corporate infrastructure.
NAC solutions can also reduce bandwidth costs by reducing the number of SSIDs on a network. By implementing a role-based access control feature, a company can give different groups of employees (such as IT staff) priority rates on a single SSID to ensure that critical traffic gets through while other applications use limited bandwidth. Some companies report getting 40-50% of their bandwidth back by deploying this feature alone.
Increase Employee Productivity
NAC solutions help companies improve employee productivity by securely handling BYOD devices and Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints. These solutions help companies manage guest network access for contractors, visitors, and partners with features such as a self-service portal for user registration and authentication, device profiling, and segmentation.
This helps reduce the risk of cyberattacks from unauthorized devices by limiting their access to sensitive data. For example, a worker who needs access to the corporate intranet won’t be able to see private customer information unless their job requires it. This prevents hackers from stealing this sensitive information and exposing the company to costly lawsuits.
Another way that NAC boosts employee productivity is by helping them perform better when working from home or on the go. With BYOD, employees can work on equipment they’re familiar with and trust, often increasing their productivity. However, security is still a concern because the IT team doesn’t manage personal devices and may have less secure operating systems and applications.
A good NAC solution can prevent this by authenticating users and their devices and limiting their access to the network based on their role. It also checks devices to ensure they’re patched and up-to-date. It can even detect when a device isn’t complying with the organization’s security policies and automatically remediate it without requiring administrator attention.
Improve Customer Service
Network access control solutions can help improve customer service by ensuring that devices that belong to the same VLAN do not compete for bandwidth with other end-users or critical business systems. For example, many hotels, universities, and organizations allow guests to use WiFi. Still, they also need them to separate from business systems requiring higher security levels (such as call centers). Network access control solutions can automatically steer IoT devices into the proper VLAN. They can also control traffic flow between VPN clients and servers, ensuring that business-critical services remain available while guests are connected.
Network administrators can also use network access control to deliver more granular network permissions per user. For instance, most IT teams need help managing Active Directory group membership and network storage folder permissions on a large scale. Using an NAC solution, they can limit network access on a granular level to only those folders needed for the user’s job.
Another benefit of network access control is that it can be used to improve compliance with data privacy mandates. Organizations are managing more significant volumes of data than ever, some of which are sensitive or confidential. By enforcing policies on a per-user, per-device, and per-network segment basis, organizations can reduce the risk of breach and demonstrate compliance with various regulatory mandates.