TCDconnect--What are the benefits of a NAC service

Why did Trinity implement the Network Access Control?

Since 2006 IT Services has been using Network Access Control (NAC) on the data network in Trinity residences and on the student wireless network.  We decided to use Network Access Control both to provide significantly quicker registration and access for new student computers on the network and to provide Trinity students with a secure and reliable data network for their personal computers in order to carry out their academic work.

Faster Registration and Access to the Network

Prior to 2006 each request to connect to the Trinity network was processed manually and meant a turnaround time of several working days following the submission of an online form. Registration using Network Access Control now allows automated access to the network that same day for those computers that meet the basic security requirements.

Providing a More Secure College Network

Viruses, spyware, bots and other malware can cause serious problems for any private network and the computers connected to it. By using Network Access Control we are ensuring that computers on the Trinity network have the most basic security software updates to prevent infection from malware and in doing so, help to provide a much more secure network for all.  This also helps individual users when they make use of less secure networks, at home or in hotels for example, as their computers have been brought up to a higher level of security.

What if we had no Network Access Control?

On large data networks that do not have any security requirements it is often the case that the network is congested and so slow as to be unusable, due to the abundance of computers infected with viruses and malware.  On smaller prviate networks, at home or in hotels for example, this often does not become a major issue.

If using a computer on a less secure network then your data, both local and online, is at much greater risk of being compromised.  Subsequently any support clinics for such networks can become overwhelmed with the requirement to help students clean and restore their computers to working order, and if possible recover data, following infection.

In the absence of an automated connection process the only way to ensure those connecting meet certain security requirements would be to return to a manual process of dealing with connection requests.  This would be unfeasible given the large numbers connecting to the student network currently.

IT Services will be endeavouring to improve the experience of using the IT services in Trinity based on the feedback from our surveys and will, at relevant times, make the findings available.  Undoubtedly the introduction of Network Access Control has brought change to how students access the Trinity network but we do believe the benefits significantly outweigh the consequences that we would face without it.