As the number and variety of devices seeking to make network connections increase, every new connection presents an opportunity for cyber attackers. NAC solutions follow gold-standard security protocols to ensure a device is vetted and authorized before connecting to wired and wireless networks.
Remote working and Bring-Your-Own-Device practices allow for flexible collaboration but can expose corporate networks to expanded threat surfaces. NAC solutions can help to limit these threat surfaces by segmenting guest, BYOD, and non-employee devices.
Prevents Unauthorized Access
As the number of devices in a company network continues to grow (driven by bring-your-own-device policies and an increase in Internet of Things, or IoT, device use), IT teams don’t have the time to verify users and their devices manually. Network access control solutions automate this process, saving companies time and resources.
NAC solutions also allow organizations to grant guests, contractors, and partners a different level of network access than full-time employees. This is particularly important for healthcare organizations, which must comply with HIPAA regulations and manage a growing volume of at-risk IoT medical devices. Additionally, if an IoT device becomes compromised, NAC can quarantine it on the network so that it cannot spread malware to other devices or servers.
The policy-based model used in most NAC solutions also allows administrators to instantly change the rules that govern access for tens of thousands of devices. This functionality is critical for responding to fast-moving threats, such as a worm or ransomware attack that exploits recently-published vulnerabilities. This prevents the threat from spreading laterally within the organization and limits the time required to return systems to normal operations.
Prevents Malware Attacks
As organizations rely on mobile devices to collaborate remotely and work from home, they must be able to trust that their data is secure. NAC solutions probe devices before connecting to wired and wireless networks to verify that they meet an organization’s security standards.
The solutions also help prevent cyberattacks that would otherwise infiltrate the network by quarantining non-compliant devices until they can be remediated. This reduces the threat surface and enables IT teams to focus on other areas of cybersecurity.
Infected devices can infiltrate a corporate network and spread malware throughout the digital infrastructure. NAC solutions detect and quarantine infected devices, preventing the malware from extending laterally.
The solutions’ visibility features provide a 24/7 inventory of the endpoints authorized to connect to the business network. This is essential for network auditing and life-cycle management when the IT team needs to know which devices are on the web and their status. This helps organizations comply with regulations that require them to protect client information. It can also reduce the financial losses from unauthorized access and a cyberattack.
Prevents Data Loss
Like door locks and security badges keep intruders out of physical and organizational resources, network access control solutions prevent unauthorized data and devices from accessing corporate digital assets. By verifying users and their devices before granting access to an organization’s network, NAC ensures that only those who meet its standards can use its digital resources. It also prevents hackers from collecting information or stealing data to sell on the Dark Web.
NAC solutions offer a centralized way to manage network access for new and existing endpoints, allowing IT teams to instantly add or modify policies for tens of thousands of devices. NAC also provides visibility and profiling features that help organizations discover, track and manage devices connected to their networks while identifying rogue devices.
As BYOD and work-from-home policies become more common, it’s essential to have strong network controls that can identify when a device has been compromised. NAC can isolate the device and prevent it from spreading an attack across the rest of the organization, giving IT teams more time to focus on bringing systems back online at total capacity.
Prevents Data Breach
While cybercriminals, hackers, and data thieves need to be kept out of networks, companies must also be gatekeepers for authorized users. NAC solutions can authenticate devices and prevent employees from accessing company-sensitive information without authorization. That way, a work that needs to access the corporate intranet won’t have access to private customer information unless their job requires it and they are authorized.
NAC can even protect the Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices used in the manufacturing, healthcare, and transportation industries. NAC solutions can detect, identify and manage IoT devices on a network while ensuring they follow security policies.
Many NAC solutions allow businesses to customize access for different types of users based on the security requirements that best fit their company’s needs. Additionally, NAC solutions can automatically update IoT devices with critical patches and updates to keep them secure. Finally, NAC solutions can reduce the time and resources needed for IT staff to manage non-compliant devices by allowing them to connect to the network only if they comply with the company’s security policies.
Prevents Data Exfiltration
Data exfiltration is one of the most dangerous threats facing businesses. It can be carried out by malicious cybercriminals or even by disgruntled employees. These attackers may want to sell the stolen information to a competitor, use it to launch a ransomware attack, or get revenge on their former employer.
When appropriately implemented, network access control solutions can prevent the exfiltration of sensitive data. They limit device and user access to the network and infrastructure. This also helps companies avoid the spread of malware that could cause data breaches, reducing the risk of damage to the organization’s reputation.
To do this, robust NAC solutions use a combination of pre-admission and post-admission access control techniques. This includes inspecting a device and assessing its security posture before giving it full or limited access to the network. They also have visibility and profiling tools that help identify devices that aren’t complying with policy and block them from the web. In addition, these solutions can monitor traffic and detect suspicious activities, such as users transferring large files to external devices.