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Microsoft Touts Growing NAC Interoperability

Microsoft pushed its Network Access Protection (NAP) strategy forward at the RSA show in San Francisco this week, hosting interoperability demonstrations with an array of security-platform and switch vendors.

Microsoft's partnering program is aggressive, probably more so than Cisco's. Microsoft has the desktop presence with Vista, XP and Longhorn, but it's relying on its partners to support other operating systems, including Pre-XP desktops. Microsoft also is dependent on infrastructure vendors to perform integration and testing for 802.1X as well as for other forms of enforcement in routers and switches.

How this shapes up is that Microsoft is partnering with everyone including the Cisco and the Trusted Computing Group's Trusted Network Connect. Nearly all NAC vendors except Cisco are a member of or following the activities in the TNC. The IETF Network Endpoint Assessment (NEA) group has been formed, but whether that group will fullfill its charter any time soon remains to be seen.

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