Malware threats and unauthorized access are real dangers that can cost your firm millions in lost revenue and a tarnished reputation. Network Access Control (NAC) helps minimize these risks.
Virtual networking allows flexible connections to different services, tenants, and features/functions. However, each time a change is made, it opens up the potential for an unwanted link to be established between networks.
Network access control is a critical security measure that protects data and other resources from hackers and cybercriminals. By limiting access to a private corporate network, organizations can ensure that only authorized devices and users can connect. This is especially important for companies that use BYOD and remote work policies. With today’s rapidly evolving threat surfaces, it is crucial to have a system that protects against different attacks and vulnerabilities.
The pre-admission process takes place before a device can enter the corporate network. The NAC system verifies the device’s identity and then checks whether it complies with security policies before allowing it to connect. This includes checking for anti-virus protection status, device configuration, and system update levels.
NAC can also detect other anomalies, such as devices that try to reach out to servers they are not meant to talk to. It can also help prevent virtual machines restored from rest states from talking to other systems without the proper permissions.
Another essential feature of NAC is post-admission, which occurs once a device is inside the network. This type of NAC requires that a device re-authenticate itself each time it wants to move to a new part of the network. This stops lateral movement by attackers and restricts their ability to steal or delete data.
Network access control solutions are a critical component in today’s IT environment. It allows organizations to reduce threats from malware, ransomware, and other cyberattacks by inspecting devices and users at the point of connection to the corporate network. NAC systems evaluate and classify security-policy compliance on a user, device, location, operating system, and other criteria to help reduce the impact of a threat.
The most common type of NAC is pre-admission. This method takes an unconstitutional “guilty until proven innocent” approach, whereby every new device is denied access to the inner sanctum unless it meets business-defined policies (such as anti-virus protection level and system update status). Non-compliant devices can either be denied entry, quarantined into a restricted subnet or VLAN and given throttled Internet-only access, or provided with automated tools and instructions for how to fix problems.
Post-admission NAC also examines devices after they have connected, but this time based on their behavior rather than their initial status. It continually monitors and assesses a device’s security posture, and if it falls out of compliance, it takes appropriate action, such as revoking access or re-quarantining the device. This ongoing assessment provides the visibility that many IT managers desperately need. It allows them to see what devices are on the network at all times and helps them manage the growing number of remote working, BYOD, third-party service, and IoT connections that create serious visibility issues.
Many organizations have a mixture of managed and unmanaged devices connecting to their network. This includes BYOD devices, printers, IoT sensors, and cellular modems. Network access control solutions with solid support for guest networking can allow or limit these devices to a separate virtual local area network (VLAN) and network segment.
Virtualization allows IT to offload physical servers’ computing power, applications, and storage to a cloud-based software application service. This reduces the hardware required to run an organization’s IT infrastructure, reducing maintenance costs and the company’s carbon footprint.
The cloud also offers scalability. The pay-as-you-go model means that IT can scale up or down the capacity of a cloud application as business requirements change without needing to invest in new hardware or software.
NAC solutions use device visibility and profiling to identify endpoints on the corporate network. They can also perform security posture checks that evaluate a device against the company’s security policies. This can help to prevent lateral movement by blocking or isolating unauthorized or risky devices. In addition, these solutions can integrate with other network security and management systems, such as network firewalls, SIEM, IAM, and advanced threat prevention systems, to provide a unified platform for network and endpoint security. This integration enables them to identify and respond to threats faster than before.
Virtualization transforms network access control in various ways, from the data center to the WAN. The most obvious change is that network resources move from physical servers to the cloud. This allows businesses to scale up their processing environments without buying new hardware. It also makes it easier to manage these systems remotely. However, it is essential to understand that this change can impact the overall price of your service. It would help if you started small and scaled up gradually to avoid being surprised by an extensive billing statement.
Virtual environments also provide granular security options that are hard to achieve with traditional hardware-based systems. For example, you can isolate applications to prevent one application from infecting another with malware or stealing data. This can also help reduce the threat of denial-of-service attacks.
Finally, the virtualization of a VM allows organizations to use software-defined networking (SDN) more. This means that SDN controllers are replacing local network hardware and can deliver services on demand. This is a significant trend in the industry, as it can lower costs and improve efficiency and performance. SDN is also accelerating the adoption of software-defined vast area network (SD-WAN) technologies, which can apply zero trust and security partitions to ensure that only sanctioned traffic reaches the data center or LAN.