Monday, February 13, 2006

NAC confusion reigns

Security products that perform health checks on desktop and laptop computers will be in abundance at this week's RSA Conference. But industry leaders Cisco Systems and Microsoft remain mum about a long-promised integration of their dominant network access control architectures, leaving IT managers wondering whether to go with one of the solutions that is already available or wait for an integrated offering that may never come.

Security industry mainstays and startups alike will unveil new NAC products and show off updates at the RSA Conference in San Jose, Calif. The show could serve as a launching point for rapid adoption of endpoint security products by enterprises in the coming year, experts say.Executives at Cisco and Microsoft still have little to say about how their endpoint security architectures will work together, almost 14 months after they pledged to cooperate.

"Everybody's heads are down, and we're working on collaboration," said Mike Schutz, group product manager in Microsoft's Security and Access Product Management group in Redmond, Wash. "Both companies feel like we're on track, but there's nothing new to report." In an interview with eWEEK, Jayshree Ullal, Cisco's senior vice president of Data Center, Switching, Security Technology and Application Networking Services, said the company had done internal testing of NAC technology with Microsoft and agreed to use a single client and the 802.11x protocol for policy enforcement. Beyond that, Cisco will wait until Vista ships to announce more plans, he said.

In the meantime, a slew of companies have jumped into the void created by Cisco and Microsoft and plan to use the stage at RSA to highlight their wares.
Most notably, the Trusted Computing Group plans to demonstrate new capabilities for its standards-based NAC architecture, called TNC (Trusted Network Connect), at RSA, said Brian Berger, marketing chairman of TCG, in Portland, Ore.

CATEGORIES : 1rsa2006, 1nac, 1endpoint security
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