A Complete Guide to Network Access Control Tools


Network access control (NAC) tools are essential to a security strategy for various reasons. For example, they prevent unauthorized devices from connecting to the network while identifying existing ones.

In addition, NAC enables a zero-trust access strategy. It implements this by forming part of a security policy posture management service that selectively allows or denies access to the corporate network.

User Tracking

User tracking is an essential part of network access control tools. It allows businesses to monitor the activities of endpoints and users on their networks, which helps IT teams prevent security breaches and data leaks.

This feature can track user behavior on websites and mobile apps, which is helpful for marketing and A/B testing. It also provides insight into the features people like and dislike, helping business owners and managers deliver a better customer experience.

Choosing a tool that meets your organization’s needs and budget regarding user tracking would be best. You should also train your team to use it and ensure they regularly update their knowledge.

The best tool will offer a wide range of monitoring and alerting options to help you identify issues before they become problems. It is essential to detect issues before they become costly and disruptive to your operations.

Moreover, the tool should be easy to configure and use and have various features that benefit different teams. These include incident detection and alerting, data analysis, and security reporting.

Some of the best network access control tools for user tracking have browser monitoring features that can store a simple session identifier in a browser. It helps identify which web pages users have visited and how long they stayed on them.

Device Management

Device management is a broad term that covers a wide range of administrative tools and actions that are beneficial in keeping a computer or network operating smoothly. These include obtaining and installing devices, component-level drivers, and associated software; configuring a device to behave as intended with an operating system, business/workflow applications, and other hardware components; and putting security processes and protections in place.

With Mobile Device Management (MDM), organizations can monitor, manage, and secure employees’ company-owned or employee-owned mobile devices with a single platform. Administrators can easily configure new employees’ devices to comply with organizational policies and remotely wipe data on lost or stolen devices to protect business information and reduce risks.

MDM also helps companies manage their corporate-owned devices by enabling users to access business apps and resources using bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, which saves on costs while increasing productivity. However, if appropriately managed, BYOD devices can be protected from malware and other security threats.

A network access control (NAC) solution is a proactive approach that prevents unauthorized devices from entering the enterprise network, regardless of who they are or where they’re connected. NAC solutions protect an organization’s network perimeter, including physical infrastructure, devices, software, applications, and cloud-based assets, preventing the exploitation of vulnerabilities that can lead to data breaches.

Device Authentication

Authentication is an essential step in the NAC process, as it allows NAC tools to verify devices and their security policies before allowing access to your network. It ensures that only valid devices can access the web and makes attacks easier to detect.

A traditional device authentication method uses a unique identifier to identify the device. This identifier can be generated through various methods.

While these approaches are practical for identifying devices, they can also introduce vulnerabilities if the private key is not adequately protected. As a result, they do not offer the same level of security as a device authentication method that uses hardware security modules and is fully encrypted.

Another way to secure device authentication is by using Trusted Device Authentication (TDA). Using a safe crypto processor, TDA creates a key pair with a non-exportable private key. Once the key pair is created, the device can use the corresponding public key to authenticate to a remote system.

This solution can be very beneficial for passwordless authentication, as it eliminates the need to enter PINs or passwords on each login occasion. It can also protect data if a device is lost or stolen.

Device Scanning

Network access control (NAC) solutions allow organizations to monitor their network and identify devices and users. They can also help bring security policies into compliance with HIPAA, SOX, and NIST regulations.

NAC can also prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data or a malware attack. In addition, these tools can reduce the cost and effort involved in securing devices at scale using a combination of policy enforcement and automation.

Before permitting devices to join the network, pre-admission designs examine their postures and impose restrictions. This approach works best when a device needs up-to-date antivirus or anti-malware software. In contrast, post-admission designs focus less on the stance of the device and more on user behavior.

Some NAC approaches also include a centralized system to automatically onboard new devices onto the network. These systems are often delivered as a physical appliance or cloud service.

In addition, many NAC tools can thwart unpatched and unauthorized hardware and software. They can also block and quarantine devices that don’t meet predefined standards, including device type, OS version, and updates.

Once a device is connected, the panels show basic information and metric data about the device. Those panels can be customized to display the metrics most relevant to your organization.

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