What is network level authentication? And how to enhance it with zero trust.

Woman working on a mountaintop overlook using network level authentication remote desktop


#GoToGetsIT: This article is part of an ongoing series from GoTo’s thought leaders on the frontlines: Our Solutions Consultants deeply understand our customers’ unique challenges and connect the right solutions to meet their goals using GoTo technology. Here, they share their industry knowledge on what it takes to help businesses everywhere thrive in a remote or hybrid world.

With the rise of remote work and distributed teams, remote access has become increasingly important in today's digital world. However, as remote access becomes more common, so does its vulnerability to security threats. Companies have begun to implement network-level authentication (NLA) protocols in order to mitigate these risks.

What is network level authentication remote desktop?

Have you ever tried to log in to a remote desktop session and been asked to enter your credentials first? Well, that's network level authentication in action! NLA is like a bouncer that checks your ID before letting you into a club. In the same way, NLA verifies your login information before granting access to a remote desktop session. This security feature is crucial because it prevents malicious cyber-attacks like brute force or denial-of-service attacks on the remote desktop server. So, next time you enter your credentials before logging into a remote desktop session, know that NLA has got your back!

How does remote desktop with network level authentication work?

When a user launches remote desktop session, the user is required to enter valid login credentials, such as a username and password or a security token. Before the user can access the remote desktop server, they must first authenticate.

This process must employ encryption algorithms and secure communication channels to ensure the confidentiality of authentication data exchange. This way, it can prevent unauthorized access and eavesdropping or tampering with transmitted data.

Looking beyond NLA for added protection

Network level authentication remote desktop protects the front end of the connection process – getting connected to establish a remote access session in the first place. There’s still the issue of taking sensitive actions during the session that need to be protected.

This is where zero trust security comes in. Zero trust is an enhanced security measure that ensures further protection when performing sensitive tasks like remote controlling a device, executing IT automation, or deploying unattended access. Zero trust requires additional verification using a unique signature key, which is not stored anywhere other than the agent's memory. This extra layer of security helps shield your organization and its agents, even when operating outside the protected office infrastructure.

Together, NLA and zero trust authentication work in tandem to deliver a robust security framework, minimizing the risks associated with remote support and ensuring that only authorized users gain access to remote systems.

Top 4 benefits of network-level authentication

1. Improved security

NLA helps prevent unauthorized access and potential security breaches by requiring users to authenticate before accessing remote desktop sessions. This layer of security can safeguard sensitive business data and IT resources.

2. Defense against brute force and denial-of-service attacks

NLA protects remote desktop servers from brute force attacks, in which hackers try multiple username and password combinations to gain access. It also aids in the mitigation of denial-of-service attacks, in which hackers flood a server with requests in order to overwhelm and crash it.

3. Streamlined access control

IT administrators can better manage user access with network-level authentication. They can restrict access to specific users and control who has access to remote desktop sessions, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to critical business resources.

4. Compliance with industry regulations

Many industries, such as healthcare and finance, have stringent data protection and access control regulations. Implementing solutions with NLA can assist businesses in meeting these regulations while also maintaining a secure remote access environment.

How is network-level authentication implemented in GoTo Resolve?

The all-in-one IT management and support solution, GoTo Resolve helps IT professionals stay ahead of cyberthreats and improve the security of remote desktop connections by incorporating both network-level authentication and zero trust access controls. This helps to ensure a more secure and reliable remote access experience by protecting sensitive business data and resources while also assisting businesses in remaining in compliance with industry regulations.

The bottom line is that network-level authentication is now a critical security feature for remote access solutions. As remote work and remote support become more popular, IT professionals and businesses should prioritize implementing strong security measures such as NLA and zero trust to protect their digital infrastructure.

Related Posts

  • Remote access is a growing target: Trust no one with zero trust security

    By Chuck Leddy
    Read Article
  • How often do cyber attacks happen to small and midsized businesses?

    By Chuck Leddy
    Read Article
  • What is IT automation and why you need it yesterday

    By Mike Gutierrez
    Read Article