Cisco, Microsoft Unveil Plan

Cisco Systems, Microsoft are delivering on their previously stated commitment

BOSTON -- Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are delivering on their previously stated commitment to provide customers and partners with clear guidance on how Cisco Network Admission Control (NAC) and Microsoft® Network Access Protection (NAP) will interoperate. The two companies are demonstrating the new interoperable architecture at The Security Standard conference (, which opened today in Boston.

A technical white paper released today by the two companies describes how Cisco NAC and Microsoft NAP interoperate for security policy enforcement and health assessment. The white paper describes the architecture and provides details on how to integrate the embedded security capabilities of Cisco's network infrastructure with those of Microsoft Windows VistaTM and the future version of Windows Server®, code-named "Longhorn." The white paper can be downloaded at and

In addition, the two companies have revealed a general road map for bringing Cisco NAC and Microsoft NAP interoperability to market, including a limited beta program set to start later this calendar year. Customers will be able to start deploying the Cisco NAC-Microsoft NAP interoperable solution once Windows Server "Longhorn" is available in the second half of 2007. Cisco and Microsoft have cross-licensed the Cisco NAC and Microsoft NAP protocols to help ensure interoperability and to enable both companies to respond to future market and customer requirements.

"This is exactly what is needed in the market as businesses attempt to understand how to implement a network access control infrastructure in order to increase security amid an increasingly mobile work force and increasingly aggressive threat environment," said Zeus Kerravala, vice president of security and networking research at Yankee Group. "Microsoft and Cisco must work together on this, and I'm pleased to see these two companies make the investment and the engineering commitment for interoperability."

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

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Elizabeth Montalbano, Contributor, Dark Reading