In my previous blog posts , we learned about how nothing is 100% secure and how threats are finding new ways to compromise an organization. We also learned about the steps that the organization should take, to keep themselves all prepared for any kind of cyber-attack. Thus, in continuation to my previous articles, here, we will talk about who should be having access to a corporate network.

And hence, the term “Network Access Control (NAC)” comes into the picture.

Access Control means selective restriction in an enterprise where the authority is taking care of who is having the access to their network. Of course, we can not allow any random node to get connected to the network and by nodes, we mean the network devices. So, we can say that Network Access Control is a solution for securing access to the network with an enterprise or a corporate. And how does it take care of that access control? By applying a set of policies. So these policies are helping in controlling access to the network. These policies again look after 2 aspects

  1. Endpoint security
  2. Security after a user gets into the network and what it may do.

Obviously, the aim is to keep the insecure nodes away from the network.

But why is it such an important measure to be implemented by an organisation? Because it is making sure that only the authorized and authenticated nodes are able to access the network. In case, an unidentified node enters the network and somehow gets connected to it, it may compromise the entire network. We did talk about the threats in our previous blog posts.

Let’s roughly talk about what a NAC solution consists of and also deep dive a bit into comprehending each step.

1. Enforcing policies

We need to enforce policies for almost everything like who is entering the network, what kind of IPs should be allowed, or what kind of network should a node within the internal network be allowed to connect to an external one.

2. Being aware of the malicious activity that can happen through a particular device.

An organization should have strict policies on how many devices an individual can connect the corporate network to. We can’t trust them all. Also if the connection is made faithfully through multi-factor authentication, it should also be checked. And logs of all these connections should be looked upon as well on a regular basis.

3. Being ready

Again coming back to the same point, which I always make and is true as well - nothing is 100% secure. So an organization has to be ready for every kind of worst-case scenario. Each day a new zero-day or exploit is coming into the picture, you never know when it has already bypassed all the security measures and a backdoor has already been set. So a regular check and being completely ready for these scenarios should be taken into consideration.

4. Providing guest network

In case, some other individuals who are not employees of the corporate, need to get connected to the corporate network, a guest network can be created for them.

5. Compliance check

A Compliance check is a process of reviewing all the policies that have been implemented in an organization to check if they meet the security requirements. This is an important measure that should be done in every organization, big or small on a regular basis.

6.Integrating with other security & network solution

There are different kinds of security and network policies available, and it’s a matter of quite an intelligence to have an integration with them to take care of the network. Just having an IDS(Intrusion Detection System), IPS(Intrusion Prevention System), and/or WAF(Web Application Firewall) in an enterprise is not enough. After all, precaution is always better than cure.

While concluding, it can be said that each and every security aspect is interlinked. And all the precautions are important and they all work the best for an organization when they are implemented together.

References:

WHat is NAC and how it works?

WIkipedia