One of the pressing challenges facing IT managers is strengthening the security of networks, systems and data. It requires a comprehensive approach to security, and it starts with managing who has access to your company's most valuable asset: data.
The task of IT is to provide secure access to IT sanctioned networks and applications while keeping unauthorised users at bay; this is why providing robust network security is more important than ever.
The primary responsibility of a secure system is to ensure that only authorised users have access to the network. Legitimate users should be allowed in, and cybercriminals kept out. This is done by authenticating the user's identity seeking access, and then checking that the user is authorised to enter.
Authentication enables organisations to keep their networks secure by permitting only authenticated users to gain access to their protected resources. NAC is a building block in deploying a strategy to safeguard users fully, endpoints, and the network infrastructure from threats to data confidentiality, integrity and availability.
The ultimate goal is an environment where users can access resources with a frictionless experience that does not compromise IT efficiency, security or compliance.
Taking the end user out of the equation
It's a given fact that the user is the weakest link in the security chain; the cost of human errors adds up. For IT administrators, an ideal system does not require knowledge from an end-user, as end-users are more likely to make mistakes than an automated process. The person should not be there; they need to be verified correctly but not by themselves, so you should try to eliminate the user as much as possible.
Using digital certificates, you remove the user as part of the authentication process. Digital certificates provide credentials that identify a user (and often their device or devices) known to the network.
With certificate-based authentication, a business can verify that all devices connected to its network are authorised. Digital certificate authentication provides a unified way of authenticating users before authorising access to appropriate data and applications. It gives you full control, knowing that different elements are checked before granting access by providing authentication through a certificate instead of a username and a password or biometric identification. Meanwhile, your employees will appreciate they do not need to think about security matters.
How Network Access Control Helps Make it Happen
Network Access Control, or NAC, ensures that only authenticated users can access the private company network.
It is primarily a security solution designed to identify, assess, and enforce access control on all devices before connecting. It ensures that only users with authenticated and reliable devices (whether they belong to the company or the individual) can log on to the network.
Once granted access, NAC enforces policies to regulate the areas of the network users can access while continuously monitoring and logging their activity.
NAC allows for a complete centralised security approach to your network and follows the principle of the 3 A's:
- Authentication - The user is prompted for credentials and identity verification (Who are you? Can you prove you are who you say you are?)
- Authorisation - The system confirms or denies based on the access policies (What are you allowed to do on the network?)
- Accounting - The system tracks user activities (What are you doing, and for how long?)
NAC ensures that users who access networks, data, devices, and software resources are properly authorised. In many cases, this is a security concern, ensuring that sensitive data and functions do not fall in the hands of people who might purposefully or inadvertently use them.
Sounds good? Find out more in our eBook Network Access Control: One Step Before Your First Line of Defence.