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Microsoft Introduces Security Architecture, APIs

Microsoft hopes to rally the industry around its new network access protection (NAP) architecture and related set of APIs for the next Windows Server, even as it prepares two enhanced security frameworks for future Windows releases.

At its Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Microsoft said it plans to establish NAP as an industry standard. The technology, described by some executives in the past as Active Defense technology, will give end users secure access to the corporate network and IT administrators a way to set policies and detect the "health" and security configuration of incoming PCs, laptops and handhelds, executives said.

Looking beyond NAP, the software giant is also developing two major security enhancements for Windows in the future including Next Generation Authentication and Authorization (NGNZ) and Application Security (AppSec) frameworks, sources said.

The momentum behind NAP is already substantial. More than 25 security, firewall, patch management and networking ISV partners including Symantec, Trend Micro, Citrix, Shavlik and Juniper Networks announced support for the NAP architecture and application programming interfaces (APIs) planned for the next Windows server upgrade, codenamed R2 and due in late 2005.

While Cisco Systems was noticeably absent from this list of ISVs, Microsoft hinted a deal is close at hand. The vendor is in "deep negotiations" with the leading networking vendor on a variety of security technology including quarantine, VPN, wireless and wired technologies, said Steve Anderson, a product marketing manager with the Windows Server group.

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