Network Access Control (NAC) Solutions

Network Access Control (NAC) Solutions Overview

Network Access Control (NAC) Solutions are network security platforms emphasizing asset usage monitoring and restrictions and protections around sensitive data. They operate as traffic controllers, executing on defined policy and enforcing rule-based restrictions for identity and access management and preventing cross-contamination of critical network components by unsecured endpoints. Total NAC solutions combine hardware appliances with software, and they are often bundled with other networking or security capabilities, such as authentication, incident response, and network monitoring.


Network access control solutions help organizations enforce zero-trust security postures by automatically requiring both valid authentication from the requesting device and authorization from a pre-set list of policies and rules. They are most commonly set up at the network’s edge, but can also enforce policies when devices attempt to access different segments of the network internally. These policies and restrictions can be set based on IP address, device security profiles, or other user identifiers. NAC software is primarily focused on enterprise networks, although there are some products that can serve the SMB market as well.



Best Network Access Control (NAC) Solutions include:

Aruba ClearPass, Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), and Forescout.

Network Access Control (NAC) Solutions TrustMap

TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 10 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.

Network Access Control (NAC) Products

(1-25 of 31) Sorted by Most Reviews

The list of products below is based purely on reviews (sorted from most to least). There is no paid placement and analyst opinions do not influence their rankings. Here is our Promise to Buyers to ensure information on our site is reliable, useful, and worthy of your trust.

Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)

The Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) offers a network-based approach for adaptable, trusted access everywhere, based on context. It gives the user intelligent, integrated protection through intent-based policy and compliance solutions.

SolarWinds Access Rights Manager (ARM)

SolarWinds Access Rights Manager (ARM) is designed to assist IT and security admins to quickly and easily provision, deprovision, manage and audit user access rights to systems, data, and files. By analyzing user authorizations and access permission you get visualization of who has…

Forescout Platform (CounterACT)

Forescout Technologies headquartered in San Jose actively defends the Enterprise of Things by identifying, segmenting and enforcing compliance of every connected thing. Forescout boasts a widely deployed, enterprise-class platform at scale across IT, IoT, and OT managed and unmanaged…

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall

Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls provides a wide range of security and connectivity features, including web filtering, NAC and SSL VPN and other features for remote access, as well as protection as edge devices and IoT security.

Key Features

  • Firewall Management Console (9)
    83%
    8.3
  • Active Directory and LDAP (9)
    75%
    7.5
  • Reporting and Logging (9)
    70%
    7.0
SAP Access Control

SAP Access control streamlines the process of managing and validating user access to applications and data with minimal support from IT.

Aruba ClearPass

Aruba ClearPass is network access control (NAC) technology from HPE company Aruba Networks. Aruba acquired Avenda and its eTips NAC in 2011.

Twingate

Twingate allows businesses to secure remote access to their private applications, data, and environments, whether they are on-premise or in the cloud. Built to make the lives of DevOps teams, IT teams, and end users easier, it replaces outdated corporate VPNs which were not built…

FortiNAC

FortiNAC is an IoT security and network access control solution that provides the network visibility to see everything connected to the network, as well as the ability to control those devices and users, including dynamic, automated responses.

Appgate SDP

AppGate SDP (software-defined perimeter) from Cyxtera Technologies headquartered in Addison is a zero trust network security product.

Delinea Cloud & Server Suite

Delinea Server PAM solution (Cloud Suite and Server Suite) secures privileged access for servers on both on-premise and cloud/multi-cloud environments. It allows humans and machines to seamlessly authenticate, enforcing least privilege with just-in-time privilege elevation, increasing…

Sophos NAC Advanced (discontinued)

UK-based Sophos provided Network Access Control technology. Sophos NAC Advanced is now discontinued.

Restorepoint Universal Console

Universal Console acts a single access gateway to all devices, controlling, monitoring and auditing access to network devices and servers. The vendor states that unlike most Privileged Access Management solutions that require weeks or months to deploy, users can start taking control…

Eltima Serial to Ethernet Connector

Serial to Ethernet Connector is a software product developed by Electronic Team Inc. and has been available commercially for over a decade. The application lets users create multiple virtual COM ports on a machine with no physical serial interfaces. This virtual serial port redirector…

PacketFence

PacketFence is a free and Open Source network access control (NAC) solution. Boasting a feature set including a captive-portal for registration and remediation, centralized wired, wireless and VPN management, BYOD capabilities, 802.1X and RBAC support, integrated network anomaly…

macmon

macon is a software defined perimeter (SDP) and NAC (network access control) solution from the Berlin-based company of the same name.

Delinea DevOps Secrets Vault

Delinea DevOps Secrets Vault is a high-velocity vault for automating secrets management in DevOps CI/CD pipelines, capable of high-speed secrets creation, archiving, and retrieval. This solution is built with the velocity needed to match a CI/CD environment that Secret Server is…

CenturyLink Cloud Connect

CenturyLink® Cloud Connect delivers secure, high-performance and virtualized networking functionality to leading public and private clouds — Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and many other leading public and private cloud…

Open Systems SASE+

With a network of global access points, Open Systems states that SASE+ secures users no matter where they work. It aims to deliver direct, fast, and reliable connections to the internet and cloud and is centrally managed to make it easy to expand reach to anywhere and anything. SASE+…

Bradford Networks Sentry

Sentry from Boston-based Bradford Networks is network access control technology.

InfoExpress Network Access Control

InfoExpress in Mountain View, California offers Network Access Control technology.

Auconet Network Access Control

San Francisco-based company Auconet offers Network Access Control.

SecureTrust Managed Network Access Control (NAC)

Chicago-based Trustwave offers Network Access Control technology via the SecureTrust Managed Network Access Control (NAC) solution.

UserLock

UserLock from IS Decisions is a network access control and identity management solution.

McAfee NAC (Discontinued)

McAfee NAC is discontinued since 2012.

Vidder

Vidder from the company of the same name in Campbell, California, is network access control technology.

Learn More About Network Access Control (NAC) Solutions

What Is Network Access Control?

Network Access Control (NAC) Solutions are network security platforms emphasizing asset usage monitoring and restrictions and protections around sensitive data. They operate as traffic controllers, executing on defined policy and enforcing rule-based restrictions for identity and access management and preventing cross-contamination of critical network components by unsecured endpoints. Total NAC solutions combine hardware appliances with software, and they are often bundled with other networking or security capabilities, such as authentication, incident response, and network monitoring.


Network access control solutions help organizations enforce zero-trust security postures by automatically requiring both valid authentication from the requesting device and authorization from a pre-set list of policies and rules. They are most commonly set up at the network’s edge, but can also enforce policies when devices attempt to access different segments of the network internally. These policies and restrictions can be set based on IP address, device security profiles, or other user identifiers. NAC software is primarily focused on enterprise networks, although there are some products that can serve the SMB market as well.



Network Access Control Use Cases

NAC Solutions are important resources when establishing a zero-trust security posture, particularly at larger organizations. They can also provide additional network visibility. However, there are some newer use cases that modern NAC solutions have focused on serving.


Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policies


BYOD has become an increasingly standard, and even expected, policy for employees. However, the policy also creates a host of security risks and potential vulnerabilities. NAC solutions help mitigate that risk by forcing all devices, including BYOD, to prove they have the appropriate login credentials and security postures to gain access to requested resources. Since NAC policies can be heavily customized, it allows employees to bring their own devices without jeopardizing the entire network.


Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

IoT devices are becoming an ever more central part of modern business operations. However, IoT devices require some level of network access, and can be a rampant vulnerability for enterprises. NAC solutions can tailor resource access and permissions for specific devices or classes of IoT devices to give them the necessary access without giving vulnerable access to unneeded portions of the network.


Guest Access

Much like BYOD policies, network guests come with unpredictable security measures and often only need access to specific portions of the network. NAC solutions can give network guests a quality experience on the network while minimizing the risk that guests’ devices could be exploited by malevolent 3rd-parties.


Regulatory/Medical Compliance

NAC solutions can help certain industries stay compliant with data privacy and protection regulations. This is particularly true for medical organizations, who are at the intersection of a highly-regulated industry and exponentially-increasing volumes of at-risk IoT devices.


NAC Solution Comparison

When comparing different Network Access Control solutions, consider these factors:


  1. Scalability: How many endpoints is each product optimized for? Consider both the functional limitations of each product, as well as any pricing tied to scaling, such as the number of endpoints supported.

  2. Policy Customization: How easily customizable are the policy controls for each NAC policies? Consider the routine maintenance and updating that comes with adding on new device classes, increased network complexity, and other new factors that require administrator attention.

  3. Integrations: How well, and easily, does NAC solution integrate with the business’s broader networking and security tools? The main systems that should be evaluated include the business’s existing SIEM, networking monitoring, or endpoint security solutions.


Start a NAC solution comparison here


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Frequently Asked Questions

What does NAC stand for in networking?

NAC stands for “Network Access Control”.

What does Network Access Control do?

Network Access Control solutions let enterprises control whether each device/endpoint can access the network and what level of access/resources each device can get.

What is a Network Access Control List?

A Network Access Control List (NACL) is the set of policies and rules that determine what network access each device gets.

Why is network access control important?

Network Access Control is important to maintaining a zero-trust security posture. It is particularly crucial to securing the network against IoT and BYOD vulnerabilities.

Who uses NAC solutions?

NAC solutions are most commonly used by enterprises, particularly large enterprises, who need the centralized network policy management at scale.