Data security – it’s been in the news all summer, mixed up with the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. High profile stories included the infiltration of Hilary Clinton’s campaign, as well as a cyber attack on the computer systems of Donald Trump and Republican Party organizations.
And while politically motivated hacks may receive the most attention, data breaches have become the status quo across sectors and industries, with hackers continuing to find ways to infiltrate networks and steal confidential information.
Enter Next-Gen NAC (Network Access Control, also called Network Admission Control) – designed to meet today’s security needs.
A Look at Some of This Year’s Top Hacks
This article on Forbes illustrates the scope of the problem with its list of notable hacks in 2015 that includes companies like Experian and T-Mobile, the infiltration of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the breach of dating site Ashley Madison. Health insurer Anthem is the largest incident on their list – with a whopping 80 million patient and employee records that were compromised.
Part of the reason for the magnitude of these breaches is that network boundaries today are ever more porous, extended by mobile apps and cloud environments. As described in one of our earlier posts, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), together with the rapid growth of IoT (the Internet of Things), has led to real changes in the nature of network security, with a renewed focus on visibility and control from the inside-out vs. traditional outside-in focus.
Because any device connected to your network can function, potentially, as a gateway into your infrastructure, the need for comprehensive, real-time visibility and control is increasingly important.
A sign of the times is the growing adoption of cyber security insurance. A Wells Fargo report from September 2015 states that, “Most companies purchase cyber security and data privacy insurance to protect against financial loss.” According to the report, nearly half of companies with this insurance have had to file a claim.
And the high rate of claim filers comes as no surprise – especially as, according to the 2016 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, “There’s a 77% gap between time to compromise and time to discovery. While attackers accomplish their goals in days, detection is slower.”
The Growing Need for NAC
NAC certainly is not new. Infrastructure vendor solutions, 802.1x and other pure-play solutions have been available for years. NAC enables you to check whether a device meets a configuration check before it is allowed on the network, or helps you restrict access rights when a machine violates policies after it is admitted.
But today’s NACs must go much further, providing real-time device awareness and automated controls for all devices across all access layers.
Given the increasing complexity of IT challenges, you need to be able to see all users, devices, and applications attempting to access or operate on your network, including:
- Employees and visitors
- Remote and local
- Wired and wireless
- Virtual and embedded
- PC and mobile
- Corporate and personal
- Authorized and unsanctioned
But – Why Should Your NAC Stop There?
If a NAC solution is so “aware” of your network and connected devices, shouldn’t it be capable of providing operational values beyond traditional NAC?
The answer is a resounding yes. Next-Gen NAC solutions are evolving to bring more to your enterprise than the traditional NAC feature set.
When considering a NAC solution, don’t ignore operational values and benefits the solution can provide – features and capabilities that can help you respond to events and resolve device issues, connectivity issues, VoIP issues, and application issues.
Explore the degree to which a NAC solution can help make your daily network and security operations more effective, efficient, and responsive.
Providing Comprehensive, Real-Time Visibility and Access Control
Next-Gen NAC has become a game changer in the world of information security, allowing you to answer a host of daily, operational questions that arise such as:
- Which devices in my environment are running application X, which has known security issues?
- Do I have any devices without the latest hotfix or critical hotfix applied?
- What actual port is VoIP extension x5012 connected to?
- Which ports and access points is user John Smith currently connected to?
- Do I have any XP systems in my environment?
- Does the environment detect and react to rogue access points?
- Can the environment detect and react to unauthorized hubs?
- Can I obtain a detailed port history and device history?Can I obtain a detailed port history and device history
With a Next-Gen NAC solution like Portnox that is truly aware of your network and devices, you can have the answer to these types of questions at your fingertips at any time. Portnox audits your network and gives you real-time information – assuring full visibility and easy-to-manage compliant access controls of devices reaching out to the network.
Bottom line: It’s time to expect more from your NAC!