Network Access

The advent of computers has revolutionized the way that we process data. Many business operations and processes have been streamlined by utilizing this tool. Interactive media provides us with endless hours of entertainment. However, as with any complex system, the opportunity to exploit is present. There are many dangers out in the Internet, and precautionary steps must be taken to protect oneself. Every day, new vulnerabilities are being found in operating systems and applications we all use. It can be a daunting task to keep your machine secure, but we at Marist have implemented a solution that can ensure the security of your machine and the reliability of our network.

Prior to gaining access to the Marist network, you must go through the Network Access Control (NAC) process. This process ensures a number of things. First, it authenticates the user with their Marist credentials. This ensures that no one outside of the Marist community is able to access the internal Marist network. This act also provides accountability for Internet traffic in the event that we need to pursue copyright infringements or other malicious network activities. In addition, this process ensures that everyone has read and agreed to the Technology Acceptable Usage Agreement found at http://www.marist.edu/it/aup.html. This agreement sets forth the guidelines of how Marist network resources can be utilized and what kind of activities are prohibited.

The NAC solution also takes care of the technical implementation of desktop security. First, McAfee Antivirus must be installed on a computer before it can gain network access. The virus definition files must also be up to date, ensuring protection against the latest threats. The antivirus installation file and a step by step walkthrough can be found at http://www.marist.edu/it/resnet/antivirus.html. This will be provided to you during the login process if it is not already present. However, antivirus alone is not a strong enough defense against Internet born exploits, your operating system must be up to date with all the latest security patches as well. For Microsoft Windows, these updates can be obtained from http://www.update.microsoft.com. As with the antivirus, if the latest security updates are not detected, they will be provided to you during the login process. Once the compliance to the institutional security policies are met, access to network resources is provided. For a machine that is already up to date, this should only take a few seconds.

In order to make the login process as quick and painless as possible, we've opted for an agent based solution. An agent is a piece of software that resides on your computer to check for the latest operating system patches, and to streamline the authorization aspect of network access. The agent is provided to you the first time you open a web browser on our network. The agent itself is nonintrusive, and does not have any additional access to your machine. No one will be able to browse your files or control your desktop. Although it runs continuously in the background, it uses minimal resources and will not affect system performance. The agent is also integrated with the wireless VPN client, allowing single sign on for wireless network access.

Network Access Control is an essential process to prevent the abuse of Marist network resources and ensure reliable operations of the network. It is a means to prevent identity theft and theft of confidential data and prevents the use of Marist resources for malicious intent. By performing the aforementioned compliance checks for antivirus and security patches, we can maintain the integrity of network resources. During a time where other campus networks were brought down by Slammer, Sasser, Nimda, and other such worms and viruses, Marist campus remained fully operational. Our goal is to continue to keep the network stable and keep our information secure. If you need assistance going through the NAC process, please contact ResNet (x3135) for students, and the Help Desk (x4357) for faculty and staff.