NAC software is a cybersecurity solution designed to manage and secure access to a computer network.
Its primary function is to make sure that only authorized users/devices can connect to a network while preventing potentially harmful devices from gaining access.
NAC software automates the implementation of network access policies, which reduces the need for manual intervention.
This is especially important in large or complex networks with numerous devices.
How Does NAC Software Work?
NAC software operates by enforcing security policies at the network level. Here’s a simplified overview of how it works.
Users and devices attempting to connect to the network are required to provide valid credentials for verification.
Devices are scanned to assess their security posture, which ensures that they meet the organization’s security standards and are free from malware.
NAC software makes use of predefined access policies based on factors such as device type, user role, security posture, and location.
Monitoring and Control
Continuous monitoring of devices and network activity helps detect & respond to any deviations from established security policies.
Must-Have Features of NAC Software
Here are some features to consider while choosing NAC software for your organization.
Strong authentication methods to verify the identity of devices and users.
The ability to enforce security policies based on device health and user credentials.
Monitoring and Reporting
Real-time monitoring of network activity & detailed reporting for security analysis.
Integration with other security solutions such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems(IDS).
Support for guest access while maintaining security standards.
The ability to adapt to the evolving needs of an organization – whether small or large.
So, why use NAC software?
Because it’s going to be your high-speed, error-free, 24/7 network security superhero. Plus, it won’t ask for a raise or complain about the coffee in the break room. It’s security without the hassle – and it won’t even ask for a tip! 😂
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best NAC software tools.
Ivanti NAC is a cutting-edge solution designed to revolutionize network security by giving advanced visibility and protection of local/remote endpoints.
It automatically detects, profiles, and continuously monitors all network devices including rogue ones – while assessing their security status. This real-time monitoring is important for maintaining a secure network.
It performs detailed security posture assessments both before and after device connections by considering both 802.1x and non-802.1x scenarios.
The Granular access control & segmentation ability minimize the risk of threats spreading laterally within the network.
Supports centralized and granular access policy management.
Adaptive authentication (AUTH), and role-based access control (RBAC) allow you to customize network access based on specific requirements.
Support for third-party Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions and Pulse Mobile Device Management.
Users can continuously switch between remote and local networks through Connect Secure Integration.
Integrates with Ivanti Neurons for Workspace and third-party EMM solutions to streamline BYOD onboarding.
Also, Ivanti NAC makes use of User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) to detect anomalous behavior such as Domain Generation Algorithm (DGA) attacks and MAC address spoofing.
PacketFence is an open-source NAC solution for securing wired/wireless networks. It helps companies enforce security policies & control access to their network resources.
And also it uses a captive portal to authenticate users and devices before granting them access to the network.
PacketFence is known for its BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) capabilities. It allows companies to securely integrate personally-owned devices into their network infrastructure while maintaining compliance with security policies.
Integrated Network Anomaly Detection feature that can identify & isolate problematic devices on the network. This helps in actively addressing potential security threats.
The portal profiles feature allows admins to customize the behavior of the captive portal to align with their organization’s branding and specific requirements.
Automatic registration simplifies the onboarding process for users and devices by automatically registering compliant devices on the network, which reduces administrative overhead.
Ability to integrate with firewalls to control traffic flow and apply access policies at the network perimeter.
Advanced authentication mechanisms such as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) & EAP-TLS (Extensible Authentication Protocol with Transport Layer Security) are also supported by PacketFence to improve network security.
FortiNAC is an advanced NAC solution designed by Fortinet. It actively scans all devices connected to the network, including traditional IT/IoT devices, Operational Technology, and Industrial Control Systems (ICS).
FortiNAC operates on the principle of zero-trust access – which means it doesn’t trust any device or user on the network. Instead, it continuously verifies the identity of devices before granting or maintaining their access to network resources.
It responds to security vulnerabilities automatically. It can take action when it detects compromised devices or abnormal activities, which helps companies mitigate threats more effectively.
Can identify devices without requiring the installation of agents on those devices.
Makes use of 21 different methods to determine the identity of a device. This extensive device profiling helps in the accurate classification of devices on the network.
Ability to implement micro-segmentation for limiting lateral movement and restricting access.
Supports configuration with network devices from over 150 different vendors.
macmon NAC is another fantastic NAC solution that combines advanced security measures with ease of use.
Its ability to provide real-time visibility, control over endpoints, and integration with various security solutions makes it a valuable asset for organizations looking to improve their network security.
macmon NAC excels in network security by making use of state-of-the-art authentication methods. It allows for easy network segmentation and the swift isolation of threats.
In the event of security incidents, the system can automatically react which reduces the burden on the operating team.
It provides users with an instant network overview through graphical reports & topology maps.
Gives insights into OT devices and their communication relations that help in detecting deviations from the expected status.
Adaptable and can be integrated into heterogeneous networks – regardless of the infrastructure manufacturer.
Encourages close collaborations with a variety of IT/OT security solutions
Regulates endpoint access and makes sure that only authorized devices are permitted to connect to the network.
macmon NAC is more than just a tool – It’s literally a centralized security authority for your network.
It constantly provides visibility into connected devices and safeguards your corporate network by preventing unauthorized access and intrusion from unapproved devices.
Forescout is another excellent solution designed to address the evolving challenges of network security and access control in today’s complex IT environments.
It goes beyond traditional authentication methods with features that improve security across networks of all sizes.
Forescout has demonstrated innovation leadership by addressing top security concerns faced by organizations. This includes providing differentiated NAC solutions that align with the evolving security paradigm of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).
It also helps in detecting & fixing outdated security agents within your existing ecosystem of security tools.
Aligns with the principles of Zero Trust Network Access Capabilities.
Supports network segmentation by implementing access controls based on device attributes. This reduces the attack surface within the network.
The centralized management console for configuring policies, monitoring devices, and generating reports.
Ability to Integrate with existing security ecosystems such as SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) systems and endpoint protection solutions.
Automatically responds to security threats and policy violations.
Organizations can define granular access policies based on device type and security posture. Also, It Supports various customizable authentication methods including 802.1X for managed devices and post-connect assessment for unmanaged devices.
HPE Aruba Networking
The HPE Aruba networking solution offers an advanced NAC system designed to improve security & streamline network management. This tool is particularly important for implementing zero-trust security principles, hybrid workplace initiatives, and managing IoT devices.
Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager is a key component of the solution that helps in implementing role-based policies. These policies are instrumental in realizing Zero Trust security principles. Every device is thoroughly verified with robust authentication/authorization mechanisms.
Network policies are defined and implemented using a centralized platform.
Dynamic segmentation adds an extra layer of security.
Aruba addresses the blind spots using AI-powered Client Insights and ClearPass Device Insight.
Access privileges are executed based on user identity – whether they are connecting via wired or WAN networks.
Aruba ClearPass security products allow organizations to profile devices, manage guest access, secure BYOD onboarding, and monitor device health.
HPE Aruba integrates with other cloud identity stores like Google Workspace and Azure Active Directory. This helps users to make use of existing cloud identities, which reduces the need for additional credential management.
Portnox Cloud is a cutting-edge NAC solution that provides advanced Zero Trust Security features for corporate networks. It provides an advanced collection of authentication and access control solutions to improve management.
Portnox takes automatic remediation actions when an endpoint’s security falls outside your company’s defined risk threshold. You can also establish unique access control policies for guests who need temporary or limited access to your network. It reduces the risk of unauthorized data exposure.
It is entirely cloud-native which eliminates the need for on-site hardware/ongoing maintenance and complex management.
Define and enforce access control policies based on various factors such as user roles, geographic locations, device types, and more.
Continuously monitors the security posture of connected devices – both managed and BYOD.
Also, it supports passwordless authentication using digital certificates. This generally reduces the risk of phishing attempts. Portnox can act as your certificate authority and can integrate with third-party certificate services.
OPSWAT is a cybersecurity company that specializes in providing solutions to protect a company’s critical infrastructure/data from malware and other security threats.
MetaAccess analyses the security posture of devices that attempt to connect to an organization’s network. It checks various aspects of the device’s security including the OS, antivirus software, firewall status, and more.
It provides the ability to integrate with other security solutions & network infrastructure, which allows it to work in conjunction with firewalls and other security tools to implement network access policies.
MetaAccess can be deployed with or without agents on endpoint devices.
Deep device fingerprinting is used to actively identify & profile devices attempting to access the network.
It goes beyond basic identification to gather detailed information about the device’s hardware and security protocols.
Provides reporting and logging capabilities to view real-time/historical reports on device assessments and access control decisions.
MetaAccess NAC conducts deep compliance checks on devices. This involves verifying whether devices meet specific security such as having up-to-date antivirus software, firewall configurations, and operating system patches.
As discussed already, NAC software is an important component of modern network security.
It’s better to consider your specific requirements and integration needs while choosing a perfect NAC solution.
I hope you found this article helpful in learning the best NAC software tools. You may also be interested in learning about the best data management tools for medium to big business.
Hey there, my name is Ashlin, and I’m a senior technical writer. I’ve been in the game for a while now, and I specialize in writing about all sorts of cool technology topics like Linux, Networking, Security, Dev Tools, Data Analytics, and Cloud… read more
Narendra Mohan Mittal
Narendra Mohan Mittal is a versatile and experienced digital branding strategist and content editor with over 12 years of experience. He is a Gold Medalist in M-Tech and B-Tech in Computer Science & Engineering.
As the world becomes more connected, it’s essential to protect ourselves from possible cyber threats. We all use digital technologies at work, in our personal lives, and to move around us. With improved protection measures, we can play an active role in creating a safer online environment for everyone.
The internet is a double-edged sword for small companies. On one hand, it presents tons of opportunities for small companies to increase their reach, grow their customer base, and significantly boost their revenues. However, it also presents a huge security risk in the form of cyberattacks.