March 31, 2022

IoT is everywhere, use Aruba ClearPass to get on top of security risks

Take a moment to count how many connected devices you use your in home. Beyond smartphones and laptops, think voice-activated speakers and all those ‘smart’ things – home appliances, security, lighting, heating, even garden devices. If you counted 20 or so, you’ve hit the average. By 2025, it is estimated that figure will reach nearly 34 per household.

IoT is everywhere. It surrounds us from the moment we wake up and throughout our working day.

Speaking of the device counts, in businesses it’s significantly higher. Each employee connects to the network with multiple devices – laptops, smartphones, tablets or smartwatches. Then for every human connected, there are also multiple machines or bots accessing the network. Things like printers, VoIP phones, computers, cameras, door locks, sensors, routers, servers, switches, the list goes on.

The patchy security problem

The thing you probably already know about IoT devices is, they are easy to connect to networks, but some are notoriously unsecure – making IoT devices, and the businesses using them, a prime cybersecurity target. At scale, the challenge of securing them becomes exponentially greater.

It’s fair to say that the improved operational efficiencies and business outcomes that stem from IoT adoption are outpacing security best practices. As a result, IT and security teams are playing catchup. It’s difficult to stay on top of when, where, and what types of devices are connecting to the network and then accurately identify, onboard, and assign policies for users.

To do that, they need visibility and control. Even better, they need centralised, continuous discovery and monitoring of every single network-connected device and enforced policies for all devices and users. They need Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager and ClearPass Device Insight.

What is Aruba ClearPass?

Aruba is a leader in wired, wireless, and SD-WAN solutions for the enterprise, and ClearPass is their family of network access control solutions. In a nutshell, ClearPass products provide uniform and precision profiling, authentication and authorisation for users, systems and devices seeking access to IT resources. They overlay any networking solution and vendor – you don’t have to run Aruba. Along with ClearPass Policy Manager and Device Insight, there’s also ClearPass Profiler, Guest, OnBoard, and OnGuard, but we’ll be talking about the first two in this blog.

First, there’s ClearPass Device Insight, enabling network and security administrators to discover, monitor, and automatically classify every new and existing device that connects to a network. Nothing connects without some form of authentication or approval.

Then, there’s ClearPass Policy Manager for role-based and device-based policies and access rules for employees, contractors, and guests across any wired, wireless, and VPN infrastructure.

When both products are combined you get the full Monty – real time enforcement, visibility, security, and compliance for all devices and users connecting to the network.

Under the hood, there are some pretty impressive innovations and capabilities.

ClearPass Device Insight 

Enhanced device discovery | The network continuously scans to detect devices, classify them and collect device details, plus multiple scans can be scheduled at a time and frequency of your choosing.

Crowdsourcing | Crowdsourcing technology is used to share the latest device information for new devices across customer networks using Device Insight. This is particularly important for IoT devices that otherwise remain ‘unknown’.

Advanced device classification using machine learning | Device attributes – such as communication and behaviour patterns – are analysed to dynamically build clusters of similar devices. Machine learning models then constantly learn and update these attributes to dynamically update device “fingerprints” and provide classification recommendations.

Evaluating security posture | Provides risk scoring by analysing device vulnerability and security posture attributes such as potential vulnerabilities and related CVE scoring.

Clear device visibility | Details about each device such as manufacturer, device location, and even the type of applications the device is running, are displayed via the user interface.

ClearPass Policy Manager

Role-based, unified network access | Policy enforcement based on a user’s role, device type and role, authentication method, UEM attributes, device health, traffic patterns, location, and time-of-day – across extensive multi-vendor wireless, wired and VPN infrastructure.

Secure self-service | End users can securely configure their own devices based on admin policy controls.

Deployment scalability | Supports tens of thousands of devices and authentications.

Advanced reporting | Customisable dashboards for authentication, endpoint profiling, industry standards, and information for guest, onboarding, and device health.

When integrated, the security strength is magnified.

To explain – ClearPass Device Insight is responsible for device profiling and fingerprinting and connecting this information to a policy. For example, a printer is identified and given access to the network. When combined with Policy Manager, they can leverage more sophisticated profiling and fingerprint capabilities. Ongoing device behaviour is monitored, and the gathered data is used to help determine policy decisions. For example, ClearPass Device Insight uses device fingerprinting to detect a device that is a Raspberry Pi running Linux. Contextual data then enables ClearPass to deduce that the device is actually a smart lock system that is built on a Raspberry Pi operating system or platform. ClearPass can then make a smarter policy decision based on the importance of door locks to the organisation.

Let’s talk end user

Despite the enormity and scale of complexity these applications handle, end user management remains easy.

The user-friendly dashboard for ClearPass Device Insight clearly displays every discovered device with filtering to quickly find specific devices when troubleshooting. Users can view devices organised by different levels such as summary level, device level, and network level, or drill down to view the specific details of those devices.

Meanwhile, the customisable Policy Manager dashboard can be arranged to display the latest system-level events, requests processed and any failed authentication requests (as examples). There are also links to the most commonly used functions – such as configuring policies, viewing the Access Tracker, and so on.

ClearPass is the IoT answer

Connected devices are not going anywhere anytime soon and businesses simply cannot ignore their significant security flaws. If you:

  • are currently manually handling IoT or user onboarding,
  • have minimal network visibility, or
  • want IT to move past the small stuff and focus on the big picture…

…then you really do need to deploy Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager and/or ClearPass Device Insight.

See ClearPass in action with a 90-day free trial

Test drive ClearPass to experience unmatched visibility and control of your network.  Data#3 is an Aruba Platinum Partner and current National Partner of the Year. Contact one of our Networking Specialists to request a demonstration or trial of ClearPass today.