Handling Network Complexities in Today’s Highly Decentralized Organizations Part 3: 5 Things Your Next 802.1X Authentication Solution Must Do

Implementation Issues Solved with 802.1X NAC Delivered from the Cloud

In parts 1 and 2 of this blog series we spoke about the idea that decentralized organizations, where mobility plays an important role in network security functionality and visibility; should seriously consider implementing NAC solutions delivered from the cloud, as-a-Service, due to the fact that endpoint risk assessment, as well as network visibility and control can be obtained for all locations and provide flexibility in terms of growing the coverage as the company grows.
With that in mind, today I will explain the five points that we believe are essential in choosing your next network security solution.

When deploying 802.1X NAC as-a-Service, complaints about lengthy deployments, implementation hassles and limited capabilities do not have to be prevalent any longer. In fact, IT security teams can now succeed where others have failed and be the superheroes of network security projects. NAC doesn’t have to be complicated. With NAC as-a-Service, there is no need for physical deployment or network hardware (unless it already exists, such as RADIUS or Active Directory servers), which significantly cuts the costs and deployment-time that were previously associated with the 802.1X authentication protocol.

Additionally, NAC as-a-Service allows for secure and remote access for the geo-distributed workforce, without the need for localized branch appliance deployments. It also enables business continuity, because if appliances go offline at one of the locations, the rest of the locations and endpoints can continue accessing the network without interruptions and regardless of which type of device is being used (corporate, BYOD, IoT, etc.).

As you can see, the NAC as-a-Service cloud delivery model is a different approach altogether for dot1X authentication in the enterprise, as it solves key security issues with the ease, agility and efficiency of a SaaS solution.

Here are the top 5 items you should look for in selecting your next 802.1X NAC solution.

I. SaaS delivery – With the shift to cloud-based solutions in businesses world-wide, many businesses no longer maintain their own data centers and have come to expect and rely on many solutions to be Software as-a-Service orientated. 802.1X NAC solutions provided from the cloud fit the bill and allow for easier and more cost-effective deployments and implementations.
II. Turn-key solutions with pay-as-you-go options – your next network security solution should have a low TCO – Total Cost to Ownership (both in terms of price and man hours), without forcing you to have so many pieces of equipment, installations and cumbersome access controls. These are the traits of NAC solutions which are not a good fit for decentralized organizations. A simple, pay-as-you-go model will allow you to gradually implement your NAC solution, while maintaining the highest standards for network security. While TCO is a major driver for IT infrastructure management, there is no reason to compromise on a network security project, but rather choose a solution that will provide a full and mature solution from day one.
III. A scalable and adaptive multi-branch solution – with enterprise mobility and multi branch businesses that in some cases span across countries and continents (without always having an IT professional available), your NAC solution should be able to follow your company wherever it goes. Your solution should also be able to adapt to growth in the number of endpoints, locations and ports, no matter where they are and which layer of the network is being utilized (wired, wireless, VPN).
IV. A Holistic approach to cyber security – your 802.1X NAC solution should not be limited just to port security. It is advisable to have a system in place that can provide a full network security vulnerability assessment. Once your solution can provide full visibility of all network access layers as well as all types of devices that are currently connected on the network, your IT managers can maintain tighter controls and set up automated actions.
V. Automated policies and actions – automation is a must-have option, as there are so many challenges to deal with in keeping today’s organizational network secured. Having one simple and consolidated platform that handles all access layers and all potential port security dilemmas, will allow for easier automation, configuration and segmentation (as required) of the endpoints for a connection that is based on group permissions. dot1X port control allows for full end-to-end provisioning, automated deployment, management and troubleshooting tasks.

Taking these top 5 points into consideration before selecting an 802.1X solution will assure that decentralized organizations wind up with an easier deployment process in terms of time and budget, as well as a holistic solution that does not ignore any part of the network.

Portnox CLEAR is the recommended solution for simple 802.1X deployment. Without compromising on security across the enterprise. By using a RADIUS and repository servers from the cloud, dot1X port control is delivered as-a-Service, and admins can embrace the benefits of dot1X authentication by deploying a zero-touch solution that eliminates geo-redundancies. Within weeks, it is easy to see and control every device connected to the network and thanks to automated monitoring, risk assessments and automated actions it isn’t necessary to be glued to the admin console ever again.

To find out how 802.1X authentication delivered from the cloud works, read more in the White Paper, “802.1X Authentication Is Simpler Than You Think“.

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