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What is network access control?

Network access controls (NACs) restrict a user’s ability to view or change details on a network by requiring both authorization and authentication. These controls are implemented through enterprise policies that tell the network specifically what traffic is authorized to enter the system and how.

Examples of access controls include:

  • Having an allowlist or blocklist of permissible IP addresses on the company network
  • Requiring passwords for each endpoint device connected to the company network
  • Practicing least privilege access so users can enter the network only if they absolutely need access to do their job effectively

Network access control tools are some of the most critical technologies for enterprises because they significantly limit threat actors’ ability to reach important customer and business data. Enterprises that are legally required to protect their data, such as organizations in the financial services and healthcare industries, should particularly focus on good network access practices.

Businesses can choose how many access control technologies they implement on their networks. Ideally, businesses should have multiple security methods to protect network entry points.

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Why is NAC software important?

Network access controls are beneficial not just because they provide security for business networks but also because they provide clear methods of tracking user access to sensitive data and applications. With NAC tools, a business is better prepared to identify the root cause of an attack on its most sensitive database if it knows the database was protected by authentication controls and can identify which users had access to it. Consistently implemented network access controls foster better transparency and accountability company-wide.

Enterprises should implement NAC technology to protect their proprietary information and customer data, as well as to maintain standard business operations. For example, if an attacker breaches a network because the router’s access credentials had a default admin password instead of a strong password, the attacker could not only steal business data but also bring down a key customer-facing application. This could cost the business millions of dollars and endanger its data.

Explore Top Network Access Control (NAC) Solutions on eSecurity Planet.

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