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Network access control with fewer delays

v3.0 has the knack of NAC, Nevis says

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Nevis Networks reckons it's the first to come up with a version of network access control for the LAN that doesn't get in the way of users.

The company says users no longer have to log in to an 802.1x client on the desktop, or sign in to its captive portal so their PC can be scanned, before being allowed access to the LAN. Instead, it has updated the software in its LANenforcer appliances to identify users in the background using Kerberos authentication, and then automatically associate them with their access rights.

"It's a well-known technique, but this is the first time it's been used to do NAC on a LAN," Nevis UK rep Matthew Nunney said. "The unique piece is not using Kerberos, it's looking up the user from that and then looking up policies and applying them on the firewall."

Nunney added that one of the big problems for first generation NAC gear was that it changed the user experience, as the user now had an extra log-in to deal with, plus a wait while their system was checked.

"A lot of the revision is about making it more flexible to use," he said. "The people in charge thought NAC was a good idea, but the people doing the work thought it was getting in their way."

As well as doing away with the separate log-in process, Nevis claimed the new version 3.0 of its LANsecure operating software is faster at what it calls "endpoint posture checks", and enables each appliance to handle three times as many users. It can also synchronise its user-based application access policies with existing identity management systems.

The Nevis scheme works by applying policies at the firewall to control what applications, services, and resources each device and user has access to. For example, a predefined VoIP device policy could be applied to all phones on the network, allowing only valid SIP traffic from those endpoints and preventing an attacker from masquerading as a phone.

The company said its LANenforcer appliances start at $15,000 (£7,800), and claimed this means that NAC can cost as little as $15 (£8) per user. ®

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