Security is a top priority for both private and public networks. It’s a foundation for trust among guests, vendors, and employees. Network Access Control is a security solution that functions to ensure that whoever has access to the network has the proper authorization.
In simple terms, Network Access Control controls who has access to what parts of a network and when. Applicable to both wired and wireless networks, access control measures help enforce specific policies regulating the devices, data, and user access connected to a network. In turn, a network can operate with less disruption and greater security.
How Does Network Access Control Work?
Network Access Control works by identifying the different devices connected to a network and the extent of authorization they have. When establishing network access control, administrators will determine which security protocols are put in place. These protocols dictate how devices and users are configured for the proper level of authorization. In most cases, this process is conducted by digital security personnel of the company or an Internet vendor.
Whether for a dedicated private network or free public WiFi network, the security protocols dictating a network’s access control can significantly vary. Different protocols can be applied based on the device used, the location accessed from, the access rights of various individuals, and the specific data and resources being accessed. Network administrators can open, close, and quarantine access regularly, enabling greater security control over sensitive networks.
Importance of Network Access Control for Hotel WiFi Networks
Providing WiFi access to a wide range of people can prove daunting for hotels and hospitality businesses at all levels. Employees, contractors, guests, and vendors all need unimpeded access to network infrastructure, but they also introduce potential vulnerabilities.
Hospitality network administrators face the reality that not everyone is accessing a network from the same controlled ecosystem. In hotel environments, BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is a widely leveraged policy not only physically but also through remote working arrangements. BYOD has also made Network Access Control vital in maintaining optimum security, as some parties may be using a wide variety of devices, and unfortunately, sometimes with ill intentions.
Network Access Control Best Practices
Below are several network access control best practices that apply to hotels and other hospitality businesses that service guests.
1. Create a User Baseline and Monitor for Changes
Determine the volume of connected devices, what type, and who owns them. Network Access Control can provide visibility to existing infrastructure and alert you to new devices that connect if you aren’t aware of them. Specify the level of access available for guests and other parties, such as contractors and vendors. Once you have created a user baseline, you’ll be able to monitor changes effectively.
2. Establish Controls for Guests on the Network
Establish guest networking boundaries, including time and location fences. Use Network Access Control to better manage guests and other users, especially those with personal devices, to protected areas of the network.
Roll out significant changes, like quarantine networks, in monitoring mode. Unless you’re working with a professionally managed network solution, make sure to educate users about such changes and remediate systems to accommodate them. When conducting a full rollout, do so in phases that culminate in full enforcement.
3. Determine How to Alerts Will Be Handled
Ensure your IT or network administration staff is proficient at interpreting Network Access Control alerts to ensure that network access is delivered securely, with minimal disruption to users. This oversight may be a full-time job, depending on the number of endpoints established in the network.
4. Prepare for Network Access Audits
Make a habit of regularly producing and reading historical and real-time reports so you are ready for an audit. Network Access Control can prove invaluable in arming you with proof that you control and monitor your network and manage the introduction of rogue devices and restrict access to critical information.
Today’s Network Access Control measures can help ensure a safe, productive, and compliant computing environment for hospitality businesses. These best practices can enable hotels to limit guest access, ensure compliance, and provide a frictionless experience for users.