Protecting Users with Always-On Security (Moderated Always-On and Recovery Mode - EA)

This article discusses how to configure your Always-On policy to increase Internet security for users in your account.

Note

Note: This is an Early Availability (EA) feature that is only available for limited release. For more information, contact your Cato Networks representative or send an email to ea@catonetworks.com.

Overview

The Always-on Policy enhances Internet security by defining rules for when users or User groups always connect to the Cato Cloud. This ensures all traffic goes through a PoP and Cato security engines inspect the traffic to ensure it complies with your security policies.

Working with the Ordered Always-On Policy

The Always-On Policy is an ordered rule-base. The rules in your policy are applied to a User or Group as follows:

  • When they meet a rule, the Client follows the configuration set in the rule

  • If they do not meet any rules, they are able to disconnect from the network

Use Case - Customize the Always-On Policy for Employees and Third-Party Contractors

Company ABC's network is used by its own employees, who have access to corporate resources, and third-party contractors, who cannot access corporate resources. They create a rule to enable Always-On for their employees while the third-party contractors are able to directly access the Internet. This ensures all traffic from company employees, is passed through the Cato Cloud and is protected by security policies.

Temporarily Bypassing Secured Internet Access

There can be some situations where users need to temporarily bypass the Cato Cloud and directly access the Internet. For example, to temporarily access a website that is blocked by an Internet Firewall rule. For each rule, you can configure how users temporary bypass the Cato Cloud.

On Windows v5.9 and higher, you can also configure how long users are able to bypass the Cato Cloud. During this period, Internet traffic does not flow through the Cato Cloud and is unsecured.

When the Client temporarily disconnects, events are generated that show the user details and the time duration that the Client was disconnected for. To view these events, on the Events page apply a filter for the sub-type VPN Never-Off Bypass. The Bypass Method in the event displays the method used to bypass the Client. For more about events in your account, see Analyzing Events in Your Network.

Admin Controlled Bypass with a Bypass Code

Note

Note: Supported on Windows, Android, iOS Clients and macOS Client v5.4 and above

Use this option to generate a one-time password (OTP) in the Cato Management Application that you can give to any user and let them temporarily disconnect the Client. In Windows Client versions lower than 5.9 and other supported operating systems, the Client is bypassed for up to 15 minutes at a time. Each code can be valid for up to 15 minutes.

In addition, you can use an authentication app (such as Google Authenticator) to scan the QR code in this screen. Then you can always get an OTP for users from the authentication app. The authentication app refreshes the code every 30 seconds, so each code is only valid for 30 seconds.

You can use the same bypass code for multiple users, as long as the code is still valid.

User Controlled Bypass

Note

Note: Supported from Windows Client v5.9 and higher

This option lets users temporarily disconnect the Client on request. In the Client, the user must provide a reason for disconnecting the Client in a free text field. and then can immediately directly access the Internet. This reason is included in the event.

The Client is allowed to disconnect for the time duration that is configured in the Disconnect Duration.

Use Case - Pre-approved Access to the Internet for Specific Teams

A retail company's engineering team are responsible for ensuring their website has 100% availability to receive online orders. This means that they always need access to an online SaaS application required for troubleshooting issues. Access to the application is required out of hours and when working remotely. The company's security policy states that all Internet access must be secure.

To comply with the security policy, the IT enable Always-On. As a precaution, to avoid a situation where during a potential outage the Client cannot connect to the Cato Cloud, the IT team provide the engineers with a way to immediately access the Internet. The IT team create a rule in their Always-On policy for the engineer User group, where the Bypass Mode is configured to let users temporarily disconnect on request.

If an engineer needs to troubleshoot website issues in the middle of the night, the IT team can be sure that they can access the troubleshooting SaaS application even if there is an issue with the Client. The engineer does not need to wait for IT approval to bypass the Cato Cloud and begin troubleshooting the website issues.

Client Recovery Mode

Note

Note: Supported from Windows Client v5.9 and higher

You can also choose the Client behavior in a scenario where a connection to the Cato Cloud cannot be established. The Client can be configured to:

  • Allow internet access: Users can access the Internet. Traffic does not flow through the Cato Cloud and is unsecured until a connection to the Cato Cloud is established.

  • Block internet access: Users cannot access the Internet until a connection to the Cato Cloud, and secured Internet, is established.

Use Case - Internet Connection When Traveling

Company ABC has Always-On enabled for all users. Their C-suite executives often travel and connect to the Internet from airports and hotels. Occasionally the Client doesn't detect the captive portal and is unable to establish an encrypted tunnel. To ensure the C-suite are able to continue to work when they are traveling, the IT team configures Recovery Mode in the Always-On rule for the C-suite User group to allow access to the Internet.

If the Client doesn't detect a captive portal, the C-suite users are able to continue to work, because the Client allows Internet access according to the Always-On policy. As soon as the Client reestablishes a tunnel, traffic flows though the Cato Cloud as expected.

Always-On Policy Prerequisites

  • Always-On is not supported for Linux Clients

  • Always-On with SSO authentication is supported for the following versions and higher:

    • Windows Client v5.3

    • macOS Client v5.0

    • iOS Client v5.0

    • Android Client v5.0

Preparing to Implement Always-On Policy

Before you enable your Always-On Policy, consider how Always-On interacts with other features and Client versions in your environment. This section provides recommendations for how to use SSO, Client Connectivity, Device Authentication, and the Windows Client with your Always-On Policy.

Working with Always-On and SSO

For accounts that use Single Sign-On authentication for users, you can also configure the supported Clients to always remain connected to the Cato Cloud (Always-On). This configuration provides users with the simplicity of SSO and the security of Always-On. The Client is able to access the IdP provider and access to other resources is in accordance with your security policy.

Note

Note: To help users who can't authenticate to the Client, we recommend that you enable the a method of bypassing the Cato Cloud and review bypass events. Otherwise, the unauthenticated device can't connect to the Internet or the Cato Cloud).

Implementing Always-On and SSO

This section contains best practices and recommendations for implementing Always-On with SSO in your account.

  • Start with enabling Always-On and SSO for a small number of users to minimize the impact on your account

  • Review bypass events, to monitor the usage of Bypass codes in your organization

  • Since unauthenticated users don't have Internet connectivity, make sure that users can log in to the device without relying on the Internet

  • Make sure that all the Clients are updated to the minimum supported version for the relevant OS. If a Client of an unsupported version is used, the Client cannot re-authenticate and traffic to the internet is blocked.

  • For deployments that use a third-party proxy, only In-Client Browser Authentication is supported for Always-On and SSO (for more about Browser Authentication, see Configuring the Authentication Policy for Cato Clients)

Using Client Connectivity Policy and Device Authentication with Always-On

Your Client Connectivity Policy and Device Authentication settings apply Device Postures and Checks performed on devices for users. If the device fails to comply with the policy that was set for the profile, then the user can't connect to the Cato Cloud. Your Client Connectivity Policy and Device Authentication settings take precedence over your Always-On Policy.

For example, a User's device does not meet your Client Connectivity Policy. The device cannot connect to the Cato Cloud even if the user is in a Group with Always-On enabled.

Installing Windows Clients and Always-On

For IT teams, delivering or shipping brand new devices to users around the world, we can provide Always-on Security out-of-the-box.

Starting with Windows Client v5.6, you can enhance Internet security even before an user authenticates to Cato. The Always-On policy is available out-of-the-box, and Internet access is only permitted after the user authenticates to your Cato account.

To enable this feature, simply add a registry key to the Windows device to enable Always-On. Once the user is added to the Client, the Always-On settings defined in the Cato Management Application are applied to that user.

For accounts that use the Pre login feature, the device is only allowed to access the Allowed Destinations before the user is added to the Client. All other Internet access is blocked.

Note

Note: Before users are added to the Client, it's not possible to bypass the Cato Cloud.

To configure the Windows registry to enforce Always-On:

  1. Go to the registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\CatoNetworksVPN

  2. Define this key:

    • InitialAlwaysOn=1 (DWORD)

Configuring the Always-On Policy

This section explains how to create the Always-On Policy.

Creating the Always-On Policy

The Always-On Policy lets you define the users or User Groups that for Clients that are required to always connect to the network.

Always-On_Policy.png

To create the Always-On Policy:

  1. From the navigation menu, click Access > Always-On Policy.

  2. Click New.

    The New Rule panel opens.

  3. Enter a Name and set the Rule Order.

  4. Define the Users & Groups, Platforms.

  5. Define the Connected status, Bypass Mode, Disconnect Duration, and Recovery Mode.

    Bypass.png
  6. Click Apply.

  7. Repeat steps 2-5 for each rule in the Always-On Policy.

  8. Enable the Always-On Policy and then click Save.

    The slider enable.png is green when the rule is enabled, and gray when the rule is disabled.

Configuring the Default Settings for Windows Clients

For additional security and convenience, you can configure the Windows Client to connect to the Cato Cloud during boot phase. If a user is in a policy with an On-Demand connected status, they can choose to temporarily disconnect and reconnect the Client whenever they need to. You can also configure the Windows Client to start minimized.

  • If the Connect on boot or the Start minimized options are selected in the Cato Management Application:

    • This is enforced on all Windows Clients in your environment

    • Users cannot disable this setting from the Windows Client

  • If the Connect on boot or the Start minimized options are unchecked, in the Cato Management Application:

    • Users can choose to enable these features on the Settings tab in the Windows Client

To configure default settings for Windows Clients:

  1. From the navigation menu, click Access > Always-On Policy.

  2. Open the Settings tab.

  3. In the Connect on Boot section, define the default settings for Windows Clients.

    Connect_On_boot.png
  4. Click Save.

Enforcing Authentication Behind a Cato Site

When a user connects behind a Cato Socket or IPsec site, the Client automatically connects to that site in Office Mode. For more information on Office Mode, see Configuring Office Mode.

From Windows Client v5.8, you can configure if users with always-on enabled are required to authenticate to Cato when the Client is connected in Office Mode. This configuration has no impact on security policies.

Authentication_in_Office.jpg

To enforce authentication at a Cato site

  1. From the navigation menu, click Access > Always-On Policy.

  2. Open the Settings tab.

  3. In the Enforce Always-On in Office section, select Require authentication in an office.

  4. Click Save.

Generating a Bypass Code

A bypass code is a 6 digit code that is entered in the Client to let users temporarily disconnect from the Cato Cloud.

To generate a bypass code:

  1. From the navigation menu, click Access > Always-On Policy.

  2. Open the Settings tab.

  3. Expand the Show bypass code or Show QR code for authentication app section

  4. You can now send the bypass code or QR code to an user.

Understanding the User Experience

Depending on the Bypass Mode configured in the Cato Management Application, users can temporarily disconnect the Client using either a bypass code or by entering a reason to bypass.

Entering a Bypass Code

The bypass code is generated by admins and sent to a user to be entered into the Client. After a valid code is entered, the Client temporarily bypasses the encrypted tunnel and the user can access the Internet. Windows Clients below v5.9, macOS, iOS and Android Clients can be temporarily disconnected for a maximum of 15 minutes. Windows Client v5.9 and above can be disconnected for the length of time configured in the Disconnect Duration.

Users who authenticate with SSO or MFA need to re-authenticate to the Cato Client when re-connecting.

Bypass_code.png

To enter a bypass code:

  • In the Windows Client, users can right-click the Client icon in the system tray and select Temporary Bypass

  • In the macOS Client, users can right-click the Client icon in the system tray and select Temporary Disconnect

  • In the iOS Client, on the Client home screen, select Bypass Always-on

  • In the Android Client, from the side menu, select Temporary Bypass

Entering a Reason to Bypass

Note

Note: Supported from Windows Client v5.9 and higher

Users are able to temporarily disconnect the Client after they provide a reason. After the users enters reason, the Client temporarily bypasses the Cato Cloud and the user can access the Internet. The Client is disconnected for the length of time configured in the Cato Management Application.

Users who authenticate with SSO or MFA need to re-authenticate to the Cato Client when re-connecting.

Bypass_reason.png

To enter a bypass reason:

  1. In the Windows Client, users can right-click the Client icon in the system tray and select Temporary Bypass.

  2. Provide a reason for temporarily disconnecting the Client.

  3. Click Enter.

    The Client is disconnected.

Customizing Always-On for Specific Users

You can customize the Always-On Policy for an individual user.

To configure the Always-On Policy for a specific user:

  1. From the navigation menu, click Access > Always-On Policy.

  2. Click New.

    The New Rule panel opens.

  3. Enter a Name and set the Rule Order.

  4. In the User & Groups section, select SDP User.

  5. Choose the specific user.

  6. Define the Platforms and Connected status.

  7. Click Apply.

  8. Enable the Always-On Policy and then click Save.

    The slider enable.png is green when the rule is enabled, and gray when the rule is disabled.

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