We live in a world where access redefines control and power. In our digital age. whoever can reach and hold the information and data gets the upper hand. It is especially crucial for businesses of all sizes, who store sensitive data, to secure access, deploy access control solutions, enforce robust access policies, and enhance their network security posture against malicious actors lurking around the Internet.
These malicious cybercriminals and cyber threats continue to advance at a fast pace without taking a break. If they manage to infiltrate your network, your company will be in danger financially, reputationally, and even physically. Also, this situation shifted from “if” to “when” your company will be a target of cyber attacks.
That’s why, businesses must implement robust network access control solutions and security policies to mitigate security threats and protect their network assets and its existing infrastructure.
One of the most encompassing security tools is the NAC solution. Network access control technology suite protects any organization’s network by restricting unauthorized users and devices from accessing, ensuring continuous monitoring, and enforcing a solid authentication method like multi factor authentication.
Benefits of deploying network access control solutions will be today’s focus. Also, we will discuss the role of NAC solutions and explain the top benefits of deploying Network Access Control in modern enterprises.
Understanding Network Access Control (NAC) Basics
The most basic yet the most effective instrument for network security is NAC solutions. A network access control system includes a set of security solutions that control fine settings regarding access rules and permissions, provide complete visibility of enterprise networks, and enforce access policies.
NAC solutions ensure no unauthorized users or devices are granted access to the network. Also, network access control handles the processes of determining all devices connecting the network, listing device type, and deciding how to manage these devices according to security policies.
NAC solutions can be applied as pre-admission, post-admission, or both. Pre-admission network access control detects access requests, authenticates users or devices, and grants access to only users with verified identities.
Post-admission network access control handles authorization of pre-authenticated devices or users. So, managed devices or users can only access certain company resources according to their privileges. Also, post-admission re-authenticates users when they request access to a different part of the corporate network, therefore restricting lateral movement and attack surface.
NAC solutions encompass various functions and capabilities ranging from security posture check to incidence response. Network access controls also operate profiling, manage policy life-cycle, limit access to connected devices, and control guest access. Network access servers perform all network access control functions in the process. On top of this, network access servers support additional network controls such as load balancing, resource management, and network user session tracking.
The Role of NAC in Modern Enterprises
Nowadays, modern business network perimeters require constant connectivity as more and more users and devices join the network. So, corporate networks continue to expand and evolve into more complex and unpredictable environments.
Now that remote work has become essential to modern businesses and the majority of sensitive data is being stored in the cloud, the number of connected IoT devices and wireless access points has been critically increased. In fact, there are 16.7 billion connected IoT devices and endpoints globally as of 2023. Also, this number is expected to reach 29 billion by the end of 2027.
On top of this, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) practices are now trending. BYOD allows companies to establish flexible working and enhance collaboration among employees. Unfortunately, BYOD devices also increase the threat surface and could potentially lead to network management issues.
Of course, with this kind of connectivity demands and the expansion of the network, cyber attacks don’t slow down either. Since the threat surface is widening, the cybersecurity risks pose serious threats to modern businesses. That’s mainly why implementing NAC solutions is crucial to businesses for mitigating cybersecurity threats, and protecting the network infrastructure and assets while meeting compliance requirements.
NAC solutions enable an automated response to threats and immediate measures for eliminating any forms of cyber attacks when they strike. Also, incidence response allows for quarantine devices and endpoints and no lateral movement.
Overall, a NAC solution offers enhanced security, effective threat mitigation, access management in diverse networks, regulatory advantages, endpoint visibility and monitoring, and complimentary economic benefits.
Top Benefits of Deploying Network Access Control in Modern Enterprises
1. Enhanced Security and Threat Mitigation
Network access control solutions offer enhanced security and threat mitigation to organizations by enforcing access policies, mapping endpoints and user inventory, restricting unauthorized access, authenticating users, and managing what authorized users can do with accessed resources.
Also, monitoring connections and network traffic across all endpoints and devices allows organizations to allocate impersonating devices, suspicious activity, or cyber attacks. So, organizations can take immediate measures and reduce cybersecurity threats in real time.
2. Access Management in Diverse Networks
Network access control tools manage access with multiple layers in diverse or extreme networks. These access management layers include internal access management, guest networking management, network management, and user profiling.
Internal access management concerns authorization elements for internal sensitive resources and data. When a user or device accesses a network, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have access to sensitive files or confidential areas of the network.
Here, the task of NAC is to keep unauthorized users off the limits. Guest networking management is similar in a sense but different in operation. NAC solutions enable companies to admit guest users or noncompliant devices without compromising security.
On the other hand, network management as a whole concerns operational tasks such as load balancing and resource allocation. NAC tools can assist in regular policy tracking, network admission control, and updates. On top of this, instant user profiling enables the system to authenticate users and exclude unmanaged devices and individuals.
3. Compliance and Regulatory Advantages of NAC
The NAC solution enables businesses to establish policy enforcement and management from a single point. Also, it ensures easier access policy management for all the endpoints in the network and addresses security policy compliance requirements. So, a network access control system provides valuable assets for organizations to comply with cybersecurity standards and regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR.
These cybersecurity regulations hold stricter standards for handling sensitive data and protecting customer information, especially regarding payment and personal information.
By implementing network access control, organizations can provide evidence of upholding the highest level of security and enforcing security policies. That’s how they can also demonstrate compliance with industry-specific regulations and laws.
4. Endpoint Visibility and Monitoring
Network and endpoint visibility is key for continuous monitoring, management, and protection. The increase in remote work, Bring Your Own Device policies, third-party services, and IoT connections, e.g. virtual appliance, challenges organizations in network control and visibility due to the number of users and devices.
Network access control solutions solve this issue by keeping track of all endpoints, mapping network assets, establishing network segmentation, monitoring network traffic, and enforcing protocols. In other words, NAC offers a real-time inventory of every endpoint and enables constant inspection.
So, organizations can obtain a complete list of IoT devices, mobile devices, users, and third-party services connected to their network with NAC. It makes it easier to identify and mitigate threats. Full visibility of the network provided by NAC also enables passive discovery, vulnerability assessment, and security management.
5. The Economic Benefits
Network access control, NAC, gets rid of the need for additional operational technology, disparate access control solutions, and other IT resources. Eliminating unnecessary resources helps businesses cut down expenses for maintaining access control, enforcing security policies, and protecting corporate networks.
Also, the NAC solution saves costs for organizations with its automated tracking, endpoint configuration, and device protection at a large scale. On top of this, businesses can avoid financial losses by preventing cybersecurity threats and blocking unauthorized access.
After all, network access control solution is a key technology for the cybersecurity of modern businesses. Since connectivity demands skyrocket, NAC provides many economic benefits, enhanced security, endpoint visibility and monitoring, access management flexibility, and compliance with industry-specific regulations and standards. As a modern organization, you can establish robust network access control and protect your network.