The Case for Cloud-Based: Evaluating Portnox Against Traditional On-Premises NAC Solutions

Advantages of cloud-based network access control

As change swirls around our digital lives, from the rise of AI to the proliferation of IoT (Internet of Things) devices to the never-ending tales of new and creative data breaches, the advantages of having a cloud-native NAC (Network Access Control) solution are of paramount importance to any organization’s success. Suffering a data breach has far-reaching consequences – from tangible losses like diminished sales, ransom payouts, and hours spent rebuilding compromised systems, to more nebulous issues like loss of customer confidence, demolished roadmaps, and burnout from employees struggling to keep things afloat.  

NAC has long been a stalwart of network security, but despite efforts to rebrand (zero trust! SASE! SDP!) traditional offerings like Aruba Clearpass, Cisco ISE, Fortinet FortiNAC, and other on-premises solutions have left administrators struggling with complex deployments, changing licensing agreements, difficulties meeting growing business needs, and the dreaded after-hours weekend patches and maintenance.  

Thankfully, Portnox has combined network access control with the innovation of a cloud-native platform; the advantages of a cloud-native NAC make it possible to get all the amazing access control benefits without the typical drudgery that was previously a heavy price to pay for security. 

 Simplified Deployment and Management 

Deploying a network security solution can often feel like a herculean task fraught with complex configurations and the potential for time-consuming setbacks. This is particularly true for organizations leveraging legacy NAC solutions, which are synonymous with intricate setup procedures and protracted deployment timelines. Such complexities not only heighten the operational burden but also elevate the risk of errors, which can compromise network security. Enter Portnox Cloud, a paragon of efficiency in the realm of network access control. Distinctly designed for simplicity, Portnox Cloud eradicates the barriers typically associated with the deployment and management of network access control. Unlike its traditional counterparts, this cloud-based solution eschews the need for specialized knowledge or extensive training, embodying a simplified deployment that is refreshingly straightforward.  

Organizations can activate Portnox Cloud swiftly, often within mere minutes, sidestepping the elaborate and cumbersome installation processes that legacy systems demand. This expedited deployment not only accelerates the path to robust network security but also significantly reduces the administrative load on IT teams. They’re liberated from the intricate web of configurations and architecture, able to focus instead on strategic initiatives that propel the organization forward. Moreover, the intuitive nature of Portnox Cloud’s management interface further streamlines ongoing operations. IT administrators find themselves equipped with a user-friendly platform that demystifies network security management, making it accessible to a broader range of personnel and ensuring that maintaining a secure network environment is no longer a formidable task. 

Scalability and Flexibility 

The digital terrain of modern enterprises is ever-changing, necessitating network security solutions that not only grow with the organization but also seamlessly adapt to new business directives and technological innovations. Legacy NAC systems often lag in these critical areas, tethered by their reliance on physical infrastructure. Virtualized solutions are an improvement, but they still require planning and time to scale up or down. 

 Portnox Cloud emerges as a beacon of adaptability in this regard, providing an agile framework that aligns with the dynamic needs of every organization. Its cloud-native architecture ensures that as an organization expands—whether through geographical spread, innovation of services, or an increase in remote workforce—Portnox Cloud easily scales in tandem. This scalability liberates enterprises from the constraints of traditional hardware-dependent models, which can become obsolete or require costly upgrades to meet expanding network demands. The flexibility of Portnox Cloud extends to its operational capabilities as well; it empowers organizations to swiftly adjust security protocols, add or remove access controls, and integrate with new systems without the procedural and technical rigidity often seen in legacy NAC solutions. 

Moreover, this scalability and flexibility do not compromise security or performance. On the contrary, they enhance it by ensuring that security measures evolve in lockstep with the organization’s growth and changing landscapes. This ensures that security postures are not only maintained but strengthened, even in the face of rapid organizational changes or sudden shifts in the global business environment, making Portnox Cloud an ideal partner for enterprises aiming to thrive in a fluid digital world. 

Enhanced Security Measures Beyond Legacy NAC Capabilities 

Unlike legacy NAC systems, which primarily focus on network access control, Portnox Cloud extends its protective measures to encompass more nuanced and sophisticated security needs. It integrates seamlessly with the latest in cybersecurity technologies, from a SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solution to an MDM (Mobile Device Management) and beyond. These features ensure that networks are not only shielded from unauthorized access but are also resilient against the lateral movement of threats within them, an area often overlooked by traditional NAC solutions. 

Portnox Cloud sets a new benchmark in network security by introducing an array of advanced features designed to address the complexities of modern cyber threats.  

With IoT Device Trust, Portnox accurately fingerprints devices on the network – preventing unauthorized IoT devices from acting as potential entry points. Along with fingerprinting, Secure MAB (MAC Authentication Bypass) makes Mac address bypass spoof-proof. Any device that suddenly changes its fingerprint will send an alert, and it can be automatically kicked off the network. Portnox also introduced Conditional Access for Applications, which extends the access control vital to keeping networks safe to cloud-based and on-prem applications. Implementing Conditional Access with Passwordless Authentication enhances the security posture across all of your most critical assets.  

Real-time Compliance and Access Control Across All Devices 

The best security policies in the world are meaningless if you have no way to enforce them. Legacy NAC solutions often stumble when it comes to offering the depth of visibility and the immediacy of control that today’s fast-paced, device-diverse environments demand. This gap in capabilities can leave networks exposed to unnecessary risks, from unmanaged devices slipping through the cracks to delays in responding to emerging threats. Portnox Cloud, on the other hand, excels in providing comprehensive, real-time enforcement of security policies for every device with a powerful risk policy engine. You can define detailed criteria for devices to successfully connect – from passcodes on smartphones to Windows registry keys to drive encryption on Macs to unauthorized peripherals on Linux. 

Even better, rather than just the deny/allow/quarantine of traditional NACs, Portnox has a host of automated remediation options that can bring devices into compliance with no IT or user intervention required. Actions like starting services or updating anti-virus can save time and frustration for everyone.  

While NAC has been a security stalwart for good reasons, the advantages of cloud-native NAC solutions represent a significant leap forward in innovation and efficiency, offering unmatched scalability, real-time security management, and seamless integration across diverse IT environments.  Portnox’s cloud-based NAC emerges as the clear choice over legacy systems for businesses seeking a modern, efficient, cost-effective solution to safeguard their digital assets. 

Advantages of Cloud-Native NAC At-A-Glance 

NAC at a glance table












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