Network access control allows businesses to prevent unauthorized users and devices from entering the firm’s private network. It also helps in strengthening zero-trust security and enforcing corporate policy standards.
Upon connecting to the network, a NAC system automatically tracks and protects devices on a 24/7 basis, reducing the number of cyber threats and eliminating high-cost support tickets. This is achieved by evaluating and classifying security-policy compliance at scale while monitoring devices for signs of breaching the rules.
Network access control requires that users, devices, and software are authorized to use a company network. This prevents malware or viruses from entering the network through unapproved devices. It also enables administrators to restrict access from users or devices not complying with security policies.
It’s challenging to manage efficiently in large enterprises, especially when employees need to log in with different credentials for various systems—each with its own risk of phishing or hacking.
Attribute-based access control (ABAC) or role-based access control (RBAC) is more efficient. This method is based on the idea that a person or device should only have the permissions it needs to function correctly.
This is a more effective way of managing network access and reducing workloads. For example, it’s much easier to update user authorization when a person moves from engineering to HR. This approach is more secure, too.
Using network access control to limit access to specific files and applications is also possible, depending on whether the user is a trusted colleague or a customer. This allows companies to ensure compliance with regulations such as HIPAA and PCI. It can also help protect intellectual property and reduce the cost of storage and backup.
It ensures that only compliant devices can connect to private company networks, protecting sensitive information and preventing malicious code from spreading.
So, how does network access control work? The first step is ensuring user identities are authenticated and categorized based on their role. This will ensure that users can only see the information they need to do their job without exposing others or allowing hackers to infiltrate the system.
Once a device or user is deemed authenticated, it’s logged into the network with a unique username and password. This is typically done through a central directory or identity management platform. The next step is determining permissions based on the user’s role. This may include data sensitivity, time of day restrictions, or what types of files the user can access.
The most common way to determine a user’s permissions is through something known as “multi-factor authentication.” This refers to using multiple verification methods to confirm a person or system’s identity. These factors may include something the person knows, owns, or does. For example, a bank may require a person to use a PIN (knowledge factor), a randomly generated number from a security token (ownership factor), and a fingerprint, retinal pattern, or signature scan (inherence factor). This is also sometimes called strong authentication.
Monitoring is the periodic collection, analysis, and use of information to inform implementation activities, maximize positive impacts and minimize the risk of adverse impacts. Monitoring can occur at different levels of the project lifecycle and can be used to identify problem issues requiring more detailed investigation via evaluation.
Network access control is a system of protocols that keep unauthorized users and devices out of private networks or allow restricted access for those that comply with security policies. It’s also a critical component of business cybersecurity, as cyberattacks can bypass traditional methods of protection and attack businesses from the inside.
Authentication and authorization are essential components of network access control. However, it’s also important to continuously evaluate and adapt these processes as people, devices, and the needs of your business change. Continuous device risk posture assessment is the only way to protect your business from the most dangerous threats.
Network access control, or network admission control, keeps unauthorized users and devices out of a business network. It also ensures that employees’ devices to connect to the network comply with corporate security rules and are not infected with viruses.
The key to network access control is controlling who, when, and how someone can access the network. Typically, employees can only connect to the network on the necessary device to perform their job. Then, based on their authenticated identity and authorization to access the data they need, the system grants or denies them that access.
Role-based access control (RBAC) — part of Zero Trust network architecture — assigns permissions to subjects based on their roles in organizational functions, not just who they are. This helps avoid the problem of granting everyone full access to everything, allowing them to share their credentials with others, and reducing the risk of insider attacks.
Another element of network access control is continuous device risk position evaluation, which evaluates endpoint devices’ status and security configuration as they connect to a business network. This enables businesses to thwart threats as they emerge, regardless of location or device type. NAC also allows IT teams to monitor device usage and enforce real-time access policy.