Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Cisco 1st out the block with Integrity Architecture - #58

Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and the Trusted Computing Group have big plans for their competing client integrity architectures, but while the TCG and Microsoft are still finalizing their technologies, Cisco already is moving ahead with its second wave of products. Since launching its NAC (Network Admission Control) effort in June, Cisco has been steadily expanding the program. In February, Cisco added ATD (Active Threat Defense) features to NAC for traffic inspection and application security. Last month, the company released a NAC appliance called Cisco Clean Access Out-of-Band that integrates with Cisco's switching infrastructure and can detect, isolate and clean infected or vulnerable devices that attempt to access a NAC-protected network. This summer, Cisco will release software updates for its switching gear to support NAC policy compliance within LANs and WANs

Meanwhile, Microsoft's NAP (Network Access Protection) architecture is complete, but the technology is still being tested and won't see the light of day until Microsoft releases the "Longhorn" operating system in 2007.But Microsoft is hedging its bets, saying that it will integrate Longhorn with both NAC and the TCG's TNC (Trusted Network Connect) platforms. Microsoft is also working "relentlessly" with Cisco on an architecture that brings together NAC and NAP, and gives customers a choice of where to do policy enforcement "far ahead of when Longhorn ships."

At the Interop show this week, TCG will release its first specifications for building client and server plug-ins that can handle TNC integrity information. The group is moving ahead with more specs, scheduled for next quarter, including APIs that work across any network transport layer and strong authentication of TNC data using TCG's Trusted Platform Module chip.
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