Facility Security, Part Four: Network Access Control

December 7, 2016

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Mobile phones are everywhere, and the number and types of devices used by employees, customers, healthcare providers, patients, and visitors are growing at a rapid pace. While these devices can be crucial to the functioning of your facility, they are also changing on a regular basis with new apps and updates, raising the risk for infection and security breaches. The Pokémon GO app is an example of a notorious security risk.

With all of these devices coming and going into your facility, your network is at risk for infection or hacking. One way to prevent this threat is to use network access control (NAC).

NAC is a computer networking solution that aims to control access to a network. NAC offers the ability to identify each type of user and device, scan for threats, and provide the appropriate level of access. This system can also implement anti-threat applications such as firewalls, antivirus software, and spyware-detection programs, as well as regulate and restrict the things individual subscribers can do once they are connected.

When NAC first came out, it was seen as an annoyance that stopped legitimate network authentication requests. Now, however, a good NAC system should provide seamless connections for the appropriate users.

NAC is not suitable for all businesses. If you are considering an NAC solution for your facility, here are some questions to ask:

How many devices are connected to your network? What are they and who owns them?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then a NAC is strongly worth considering, as it will provide visibility to your infrastructure and the devices connecting to the network.

Do you have the IT capability to monitor and run your NAC?
You need an IT staff capable of ensuring network access is delivered seamlessly to legitimate users as well as the ability to interpret NAC alerts. Depending on how many endpoints are being managed by the system, this may be time-consuming or even a full-time job.

Do you have current security systems that would need to integrate with NAC?
If you choose to implement NAC make sure it integrates with your MDM or security information and event management (SIEM) products so you don’t have to manage different security systems on separate platforms.

Does your facility need to scale up deployment?
NAC products are often sold on a per-endpoint basis, so consider the cost of adding more endpoint licenses as you expand.

With a well-implemented NAC, you will be able to allow legitimate users to seamlessly connect with your network, while preventing any major threats to your data or your system. For more information on managing your IT security, contact Vanguard Resources.