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December 20, 2004

Cisco opens NAC doors and boosts security catalog

Cisco Systems Inc has made two important steps deeper into the network security market after picking up privately held Protego Networks Inc for $65 million, and finally broadening its Network Admission Control initiative to a broader partner base.

By CBR Staff Writer

Protego’s offerings, software for collecting correlating and analyzing security event data, are peripherally linked to NAC, part of Cisco’s Self-Defending Network strategy, which seeks to take some of the work out of network security administration.

PN-MARS, the small firm’s flagship product, draws logs from networked devices, firewalls and the like, and tries to correlate them into events that can be sliced, diced and analyzed by administrators. Several Cisco products were already supported.

NAC is a set of Cisco products, and integration points with third-party products, designed to give administrators a way to restrict network access to computers that fail to meet corporate security policies, potentially mitigating the spread of worms.

The company has announced fifteen integration partnerships. Computer Associates, Citadel, Altiris, Bigfix, Caymas, InfoExpress, PatchLink, Secure Elements, Senforce, Sygate and WholeSecurity plan NAC-compliant products within 90 days.

IBM is also to announce the delivery of its first NAC-compliant products. The new version of Tivoli Security Compliance manager will be able to communicate with Cisco’s Secure Access Control Server, and prompt Tivoli Provisioning Manager to remediate non-compliant endpoints.

The year-old NAC initiative originally limited the integration points to antivirus software from the big three vendors McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro. Cisco said it wanted to make sure the technologies could integrate well before broadening NAC to others.

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