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Microsoft has recruited 18 more security and networking suppliers for Network Access Protection (NAP) scheme. NAP, due to ship with Longhorn in 2007, provides a policy enforcement bolt-on to Windows that allows admins to restrict access to networks to machines without up-to-date OS patches or anti-virus updates.

NAP is designed to prevent computer worms, such as Nimda and Blaster, spreading across corporate networks. The approach and goal is similar to Cisco's Network Admission Control (NAC) architecture. Last month, Microsoft and Cisco pledged to work together to make sure the two approaches interoperate.

VPN vendors such as Check Point Software, Nortel Networks and F5 Networks yesterday pledged to support the Microsoft technology. Other new backers include intrusion prevention (IPS) firm TippingPoint, wireless IPS specialist Airespace, employee internet management firm Websense and IP address management supplier MetaInfo also got on board. Microsoft went public on NAP in July 2004, when it announced 25 backers. ®

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