[Tip] What Is Network Access Control (NAC) & How Does It Work? [MiniTool Wiki]

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Network Access Control Definition

Network access control is a computer networking solution that makes use of a set of protocols to define and implement a policy. Network access control policy describes how to securely access to Internet nodes by devices when those devices initially attempt to access the network.

What Does Network Access Control Do?

NAC may integrate the automatic remediation process, which fixes non-compliant nodes before allowing access, into the network systems. That enables the network infrastructure including firewalls, routers, and switches to work together with end-user computing equipment and back-office servers thus ensuring the information system is operating securely before interoperability is allowed.

A network access control system intends to do exactly what its name implies; that is controlling access to a network with policies such as pre-admission endpoint security policy checks and post-admission controls over where users and devices can go on a network and what they can do.

When a PC connects to the Internet, it isn’t be allowed to access anything unless it complies with a business-defined policy, which contains antivirus protection level, system update level, and configuration.

During the check carried out by a pre-installed software agent, the computer can only get access to resources that can remediate, update or resolve, any issues. Only when the policy defined by the NAC system is met, the machine can access network resources.

Also Read: How to Fix the IPv6 Connectivity No Network Access Error?

 Access control in network security is mainly applied for an endpoint health examination. Yet, it is usually tied to Role-based Access. Network access rights will be authorized to the profile of the person and the results of a posture/health check.

Network Access Control Aims

Since NAC represents an emerging category of security products, its definition is both evolving and controversial. The overarching purposes of the NAC concept can be concluded as below.

  • Network connection authorization, authentication, and accounting.
  • Traffic encryption to the wired and wireless relying on protocols like EAP-PEAP, EAP-MSCHAP, and EAP-TLS.
  • Role-based controls of users, devices, apps, or security postures post-authentication.
  • Automation with other tools to define network role based on other info, well-known vulnerabilities, and jailbreak status, for example. The main benefit of network access control solutions is to prevent end-stations that lack antivirus, patches, or host intrusion prevention programs from accessing the Internet and placing other machines within the same network at risk of cross-contamination of computer worms.
  • Policy enforcement. Network access control appliance enables network operators to define policies (e.g. the types of computers or roles of users permitted to access areas of the network), and enforce them in routers, switches, as well as network middleboxes.
  • Identity and access managing. Where traditional IP networks enforce access policies in terms of IP addresses, NAC environments try to do so relying on authenticated user identities, at least for client end-stations like desktops and laptops.
  • Zero-day attacks mitigation.
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Network Access Control List of Products

The following is a list of network access control products. All of them have their own advantages and disadvantages. You are recommended to search online to learn more about them before finally deciding which one to choose.

  • ActZero MDR Platform
  • Auconet Business Infrastructure Control Solution (BICS)
  • CGX Solution
  • Cisco ISE
  • Extreme Cloud A3
  • Extreme Enterasys Security Product Portfolio (Legacy)
  • Extreme NAC Appliance (Legacy)
  • Extreme Networks/Extreme Management Center
  • ExtremeControl
  • ForeScout CounterACT
  • Fortinet FortiNAC
  • Genian NAC
  • HPE Aruba ClearPass
  • iMaster NCE-Campus
  • Impulse
  • InfoExpress CGX Solution
  • InfoExpress CyberGatekeeper
  • Macmon NAC
  • NetCyte
  • OpenNAC Community (Legacy)
  • OpenNAC Enterprise
  • OPSWAT SafeConnect
  • Portnox Network Access Control
  • Pulse Policy Secure
  • RUCKUS Cloudpath Enrollment System
  • Sepio Platform
  • Tanaza
  • Venusense Network Access Control
  • Zero Networks Access Orchestrator
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