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Network access control case studies show varied options

Network access control is controversial but needed, experts say. Read our collection of case studies to learn how three universities have put the technology to work.

Network access control (NAC) is complicated, evolving and controversial. However, researchers say it's also a must-have: Gartner Inc. has been pushing it for years; Forrester Research Inc. says it's a "key component of good network security architecture." You'll also likely hear that it lacks a dominant standard and is better left to those with big wallets.

To provide some clarity, we interviewed IT leaders at three universities about their NAC deployments. Each school has a diverse and very mobile clientele, and each has chosen a different approach to tackling NAC.

NAC capabilities have moved beyond simply checking and isolating an endpoint device that lacks the latest security updates to checking for anomalous behavior and even monitoring roles and rights to network access. This package of case studies and buying tips will help you see if it's right for your IT security strategy.

Part 1: Appliance-based network access control keeps university network secure
This NAC system enforces security policy for 25,000-plus students, faculty and staff, replacing a sneakernet form of worm control.

Part 2: Network access control: A hybrid approach
In our second case study on NAC, an organization deploys a hybrid in-line and out-of-band NAC solution from Cisco Systems Inc.

Part 3: For network access control, this shop chose Microsoft NAP; here's why
Our NAC series concludes with a look at why one security architect chose a software-based approach. Hint: Cost and standards were factors.

Network access control: Evaluation tips for CIOs
Network access control is hot for 2009, but this form of asset protection is not without faults. Here are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind.

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