Cisco Lets Guests on the Net

Cisco's Network Admission Control Guest Server tries to ease the strain on IT staffs with guests on the network.

Cisco hopes to ease the process of managing guest network access with a new feature in their network admission control product.

The companys new Network Admission Control Guest Server adds the Secure Guest service to other existing Cisco NAC services and can operate with the Cisco NAC Appliance or the Cisco Wireless LAN Controller.

The idea, Cisco officials said, is to simplify the process of managing guest network access without overburdening IT teams by giving other employees the power to create guest accounts.

"At the moment, all NAC systems out there have some sort of captive portal to pop up and ask users to put their username and password from a guest perspective, but how do you create that account for them in the first place, how do you do that in a secure manner? How do you report on it as well and how do you tie all of that together? Thats the aim of the solution," said Niall El-Assaad, product manager for NAC Guest Server.

The product is designed with the needs of businesses seeking to accommodate suppliers, contractors and customers that need guest access to the network on a frequent basis. To create an account, authorized employees submit the guests details into a secure portal and set start and end times for the guests access.

The guest accounts are provisioned on the network and are governed by the policy established by the network administrator.

"A guest wouldnt be able to create their own account, but the internal user within their organization can browse, authenticate with their corporate credentials and then create the guest account," El-Assaad said.

"If I was a malicious internal user and I wanted to use the Internet to make it look like someone else, then actually its going to record the fact that I created the account in the first place; I was the sponsor."

The record of the process includes a detailed history of guests accessing the network, and is stored by the server and can be used to generate reports, Cisco officials said.

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