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Securing peace of mind with network access control

Ernest Lee, VP, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise | Dec. 22, 2015
In this day and age of BYOD, implementing a solid NAC infrastructure and strategy is crucial to any organisation.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

According to MarketsandMarkets, the global Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) market will grow from US$71 billion in 2013 to US$266.17 billion in 2019, with Asia Pacific expected to contribute significantly to the influx. In the business world, the proliferation of personal devices in the workplace results in a data deluge, exposing a new set of both internal and external security challenges to enterprise networks.

To combat the concerns of information security, the best solution is a robust network access control (NAC) infrastructure that allows businesses to harness the power of BYOD and mobility without compromising security. Traditionally, when BYOD was less prevalent, maintaining network control was relatively simpler and more straightforward. All the devices used to access the enterprise network were physically on site and usually corporate-owned. With BYOD, however, the device-centric approach to management no longer works. Employees now connect to the enterprise network anywhere, anytime and on any device. It also becomes unfeasible to keep security software on the various personally-owned devices up-to-date, presenting businesses with external security challenges. Without necessary controls in place, hackers may gain unauthorised access to the enterprise network, compromising sensitive and confidential information.

Automate enforcement of access policy
In any business, employees have different levels of access to the enterprise network depending on their credentials. NAC systems help to automate access enforcement, by limiting access of employees to specific set boundaries. Without having to manually restrict access of employees' personal devices, it frees up IT's time for other business-critical tasks. It also helps prevent network abuse in the form of peer-to-peer and instant messaging abuse, out-of-policy browsing and forbidden content access. With a secured network and control in place, enterprises can rest assured that confidential data such as payslip information and business contracts are not compromised even when a personal device is lost or stolen.

Detects and mitigates web-based threats
On the rise, in recent years, are web-based threats that lead to security breaches or even degrade wire network performance. A recent study revealed that organisations in Asia-Pacific region were increasingly targeted by advanced persistent threats (APT).

NAC can help identify such external threats and stop them from negatively impacting the network. This would help prevent data leaks or unintended modifications while data is in transit. In addition, NAC can provide users with comprehensive insights on employee usage, ports, switches and network health statistics. These data allow management to exercise predictive analysis for better network planning, when to scale up or down, for instance scaling down during the Christmas break. This is to ensure a smooth user experience amidst high network traffic.


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