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Cisco, IBM and MS in network security love-in

Approval for Network Admission Control

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Computer Associates and IBM have both signed up to Cisco's Network Admission Control program over the last few days - proof that the company is enjoying success with its new scheme to stop computer worms running rampage around corporate networks. Microsoft is also reportedly poised to come on board.

Worms like Blaster and Slammer have hit corporate networks hard. Cisco's approach is designed to minimise the threat posed when mobile or guest users connect infected PCs to internal company networks, a frequent cause of secondary infections. Network Admission Control technology (AKA Cisco Trust Agent) allows Cisco routers to enforce access privileges when an endpoint device (such as a laptop) attempts to connect to a network. So devices without up-to-date patches or anti-virus signature definition files can be denied network access, placed in a quarantined area, or given restricted access to computing resources.

Cisco announced that it had licensed the technology to three leading anti-virus vendors (Network Associates, Symantec and Trend Micro) when it launched the technology back in November. On 13 October it announced CA had joined this select group of networking security firm signed up to the program. Last Friday (14 October) Cisco and IBM announced tighter integrates between Cisco's security technology and IBM's Tivoli management suite.

All this activity hasn't gone unnoticed in Redmond. Microsoft is reportedly about to join forces with Cisco in making sure Microsoft's Network Access Protection (NAP) architecture, a technique due to ship with Longhorn in 2007, interoperates with Cisco's technology. ®

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