Risk
5/23/2007
04:10 PM
Sharon Gaudin
Sharon Gaudin
Commentary
50%
50%

At Interop, Security Talk Is Largely About Network Access Control

Here at Interop, there's a lot of focus on security and a lot of that security attention is aimed right at network access control. It's a hot-button topic here. The question plaguing many IT and security managers, though, might be where to get started.

Here at Interop, there's a lot of focus on security and a lot of that security attention is aimed right at network access control. It's a hot-button topic here. The question plaguing many IT and security managers, though, might be where to get started.After several years of availability but no real steam behind it, businesses are turning their attention to NAC. Big businesses. Small businesses. They're all talking about NAC here at Interop. With all of the news out in the past few years about intrusions, zombie computers, and data loss, NAC technology seems like a smart answer to a lot of security questions.

Network access control is largely about enabling IT managers to take control of who and what devices come onto their networks. When an employee, visitor, or contractor tries to log onto the network, a NAC solution can check to make sure that the machine isn't infected with any malware, that its software is patched and updated, and that antivirus products are running. And if it's a visitor logging on, well, she doesn't need access to the company network, just an Internet connection.

I've been interviewing a lot of vendors about NAC this week. What it's all about… what it can do for a company… what it can't do… and the challenges around deploying it. I've talked with people from Identity Engines, Juniper Networks, LANdesk Software, and Microsoft. There's some interesting things coming up in the area and I'll be reporting on them soon.

But there's one common theme to most, if not all, of these interviews.

How should companies get started with it? How much is not enough? And maybe even worse, how much is too much?

You can set up a NAC solution to check and see if a desktop, laptop, or smartphone has antivirus running and updated software. However, you also could set it up to check for a slew of other things, like configurations and settings. If you go whole-hog on this, the machines coming onto your system will be safe and clean as a whistle. The problem, experts told me, is that very few systems may actually be able to get onto your system.

And what would that do to productivity?

Paul Mayfield, a group program manager at Microsoft, said there are some basic steps to follow when setting up a NAC solution.

First, decide what your policy is going to be. Where are the areas you really need to provide protection for versus areas you're not so worried about? And then start out slowly. Get your feet wet. Don't worry about setting up the system to check for more than just a few things right out of the gate.

And this is key -- go through every desktop, every laptop, and every handheld device or smartphone to make sure they all comply with your new network access regulations. If you don't do this, you might have a big mess on your hands the day you flip the switch. Mayfield advises that managers may want to set it up so people who aren't in compliance at the beginning get a window of time to get their systems into compliance. After a matter of days or a week, they'll be excluded from the network if they aren't up to speed.

"When you're thinking about your policy, it's about bringing your teams together to work through this process," said Mayfield.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-5426
Published: 2014-11-27
MatrikonOPC OPC Server for DNP3 1.2.3 and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (unhandled exception and DNP3 process crash) via a crafted message.

CVE-2014-2037
Published: 2014-11-26
Openswan 2.6.40 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (NULL pointer dereference and IKE daemon restart) via IKEv2 packets that lack expected payloads. NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE 2013-6466.

CVE-2014-6609
Published: 2014-11-26
The res_pjsip_pubsub module in Asterisk Open Source 12.x before 12.5.1 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) via crafted headers in a SIP SUBSCRIBE request for an event package.

CVE-2014-6610
Published: 2014-11-26
Asterisk Open Source 11.x before 11.12.1 and 12.x before 12.5.1 and Certified Asterisk 11.6 before 11.6-cert6, when using the res_fax_spandsp module, allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) via an out of call message, which is not properly handled in the ReceiveFax dia...

CVE-2014-7141
Published: 2014-11-26
The pinger in Squid 3.x before 3.4.8 allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information or cause a denial of service (out-of-bounds read and crash) via a crafted type in an (1) ICMP or (2) ICMP6 packet.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?