What Are the Main Benefits of Network Access Control Solutions?

Business networks are constantly evolving, and new attack vectors emerge at an astonishing rate. Network managers need to consider this dynamic environment and protect themselves from known and unknown risks. 

Almost 45% of Americans now regularly work from home, making remote employment the norm. Around 50% of business data is currently stored in the cloud, and by 2025, there are expected to be 27 billion IoT-connected endpoints.

Ambiguous network perimeters have become a sought-after territory for malicious actors to penetrate networks. Cloud computing and remote workplaces have only added complexity to the expanding battleground. Just two decades ago, Network Access Control (NAC) was the complete answer to the network security challenge. In today’s borderless networks, NAC has evolved to meet the needs of the security landscape- but it is now just one piece of the network security puzzle. 

Network Access Control Solutions

What is NAC (Network Access Control)? 

NAC is a broad term for a solution that controls access to networks and devices based on selected criteria. Control is achieved through identifying users and devices and authorizing appropriate levels of access to the network, based on policies.

Let us examine how NAC works and why it’s beneficial to modern network security.

How does NAC Work?

The goal of a NAC is to enhance overall network security by providing visibility of the entire network, including physical endpoints and cloud storage domains.  To implement a NAC, network managers establish control policies that block unauthorized users and devices from private networks or domains, while allowing authorized users access to relevant resources and data.

NAC policies are set on a central policy server and enforced by components of the network architecture (switches, routers, firewalls, etc). For authentication and enforcement, many commercial Network Access Control solutions use the IEEE 802.1x protocol, while the policy server and endpoint agent frequently employ proprietary software.

Early NAC solutions mostly focused on managing and enforcing policies. These tools made Network Access Control problem-prone to the point the concept almost became obsolete.

Modern NAC solutions have given rise to a new era for NAC solutions by addressing key issues faced by today’s networks. Modern NAC systems completely outgrew their limited origins and expanded their reach by integrating features like endpoint profiling, guest management, visibility, and analytics as well as more comprehensive support for BYOD situations. Numerous products straddle the conventional lines that traditionally separate NAC from other types of solutions and are frequently advertised or sold as a component of a larger security product.

Two Types of Network Access Control

A plethora of NAC solutions exists on the market, each using different digital technology to secure network control. The types of controls used across all solutions boil down to the following two main categories: Pre-admission and post-admission.

  • Pre-admission control applies NAC policies before a device is granted access to the network. If the device does not meet policy conditions, it will not be admitted. In a preadmission system, everything happens before a user obtains access. Sometimes,  third-party authentication services are used to provide extra protection via MFA. Most, if not all, NAC systems use pre-admission control. 
  • In post-admission applications, pre-admission authentication stays the same. However, the difference is that post-admission control applies NAC policies even after a device has already been granted corporate resources. Using internal firewall rules to segregate a network, and internal security policies ensure data is accessed by authenticated users. Post-admissions NAC systems will detect suspicious traffic emanating from an endpoint trying to breach its privileges and deny access. This is especially important when new policies are drafted quickly in response to fresh threats.

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What Are the Main Network Access Control Benefits?

Network Visibility

Network managers face serious challenges as a result of the growth of remote working, BYOD, third-party services, and IoT connections. Complete network visibility is difficult to attain due to the growth of devices and users. This problem is resolved with NAC applications by mapping all network-connected devices and enforcing protocols on users.

With a NAC solution in place, you will be able to get a complete list of all the devices connected to your networks as well as their security posture. Your ability to manage possible network security issues is improved by having this broad visibility.

Improved Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks present a growing menace. Malware, ransomware, and DDoS assaults are a constant threat to corporate resources, and hackers are constantly looking for ways to access private information that they can then resell on the Dark Web. By rejecting unauthorized or dubious actors and restricting what users can do to gain access to the network, NAC cyber security solutions reduce these hazards.

Improved Network Performance

Network access control has an advantage that is frequently overlooked: it can enhance the general performance of your network traffic.

Businesses frequently install numerous SSIDs for employees as a workaround for implementing a NAC solution. Basic functionality (without the granularity of NAC) is possible, however, every SSID you broadcast consumes bandwidth. 

All employees can utilize the same SSID thanks to a NAC solution’s role-based access control feature, which enforces policies according to each employee’s position within the firm. A NAC solution will eliminate the unnecessary bandwidth usage associated with using multiple SSIDs.

Additionally, role-specific bandwidth agreements can be made to give priority to particular users or programs over others, such as an employee over a visitor or a business application over Snapchat or Facebook.


Regulators are being more stringent about how businesses protect customer information, particularly concerning payment and personal information. By upholding the highest level of security across all network endpoints, NAC can help demonstrate compliance with security and privacy mandates.

Incident Response

A policy-based system, used in most NAC solutions, allows for the flexibility needed for cyber incidents that need a quick network-wide response. This is a key feature when organizations face a threat that has reared its head in the network, such as a worm or ransomware. In moments, organizations can reduce lateral or vertical movement of the threat by editing network control policies for thousands of endpoints and devices instantly.

Safeguard Your Data

A NAC solution can stop employees and unauthorized users from accessing confidential company information without authorization. With this approach, a worker who needs access to the corporate intranet won’t have access to private customer information unless their job requires it and they have been given permission to do so. The risk of data breach and loss is significantly reduced with a NAC.

Save Time and Money

Too often, businesses tackle network security in a fragmented approach by utilizing an antivirus program and/or a firewall. However, using disparate systems for controlling access permissions might result in severe disorganization and high administrative overhead. Your business can profit from implementing a NAC solution by saving money and resources using just one instead of several solutions that can accomplish the same thing.

Final thoughts 

Although the importance of access control is indisputable, it’s crucial to keep in mind that this is just one element of a comprehensive security strategy. Limiting network access is important, but maintaining good data security and risk management are crucial. With its robust capabilities for risk identification, risk management, and process efficiency, the Centraleyes Risk and Compliance Platform make this all a breeze.

Get a live demo to see how Centraleyes can help you!

Start Getting Value With
Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

Looking to learn more about Network Access Control Solutions?
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