Saturday, November 1, 2008

Implementing NAP and NAC Security Technologies Book Review

Implementing NAP and NAC Security Technologies: The Complete Guide to Network Access Control

Dan Hoffman

4 stars

Witty Title for Amazon: Clear and Actionable Advice on Choosing the Right NAC Solution

I was asked to read a pre-release copy of the book, my quote made it onto the book, and I was given a review copy.

I found myself in a position to learn about the different types of NAC appliances as well as Mobile NAC. The problem is that I don't work for a NAC vendor or install NACs for a living. Googling left me with tons of vendor hype on NAC but not a lot of good information to help me understand the different type of NACs, how they work, and why I would would choose one type over the other. Dan Hoffman's book is the only NAC book I know of that is (mostly) vendor neutral. The only other NAC/NAP books I know of are Cisco Press book which obviously tout Cisco products as the best way to go. Dan Hoffman breaks down the functionality of NAC and they different types of NAC solutions into simple easy to understand language, just like he did for Blackjacking on mobile threats. He has a great knack for explaining technical systems and topics in an easy to understand way.

Here is a list of what he covers in the book:

CH1 Understanding Terms and Technologies
CH2 The Technical Components of NAC Solutions
CH3 What Are You Trying to Protect?
CH4 Understanding the Need for LAN-Based NAC/NAP
CH5 Understanding the Need for Mobile NAC
CH6 Understanding Cisco Clean Access
CH7 Understanding Cisco Network Admission Control Framework
CH8 Understanding Fiberlink Mobile NAC
CH9 Understanding Microsoft NAP Solutions
CH10 Understanding NAC and NAP in Other Products

My favorite chapters are CH3 "What Are You Trying to Protect?", CH4 "Understanding the Need for LAN-Based NAC/NAP", and CH5 "Understanding the Need for Mobile NAC."

By far the most important chapter is chapter three where Dan walks through the questions an organization needs to ask itself before it purchases a NAC solution. The company needs to know if they are trying to protect LAN based or Mobile assets and they need to know exactly what they are trying to protect the answer from the first question against. Dan discusses the various scenarios that come about from those two questions and the two follow on chapters provide even more detail on how the two types of solutions (LAN based and Mobile NAC) work and how they differ from one another. Chapter two covers the details of the different parts of NAC and Chapters 6-10 give some of the specifics about different NAC vendor's solutions (not a complete list).

The only thing I didn't like about the book was that it really didn't cover bypassing NAC. It would have been nice to see some content on how NAC is currently being bypassed or what NAC doesn't protect against and how to mitigate against it.


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