LAS VEGAS—Cisco Systems Inc. on Tuesday announced partnerships with several anti-virus vendors to license the companys new Trust Agent technology to help enforce network access control policies. The partnership is part of a new program at Cisco, called Network Admission Control, that is designed to help prevent unprotected devices from connecting to corporate networks.
In the first phase of the project, Cisco will license the agent to Symantec Corp., Network Associates Inc. and Trend Micro Inc. The AV vendors plan to integrate the agent with their virus-protection and other security offerings.
Conspicuously absent from the list of partners is Computer Associates International Inc., which announced its own partnership with Microsoft Corp. at Comdex here Tuesday. As part of Microsofts Protect Your PC campaign, CA has agreed to give home users of Windows free copies of its eTrust EZ Armor AV software as well as a personal firewall. Users will get the AV software free for one year.
Ciscos Network Admission Control program will include software on the companys routers, which will query each device attempting to connect to a given network. The system will check the configuration of the machine, including whether it has AV software running and which patches it has installed. If the configuration doesnt match the corporate policy, the system can either quarantine the device or deny it access altogether.
The Cisco Trust Agent running on the client device gathers all of the data about the devices configuration and sends it to the router.
Cisco, based in San Jose, Calif., plans to have the functionality available in its routers by the middle of next year. The company also hopes to include the capability in some of its other products, such as wireless access points, switches and security appliances, in the near future.
Symantec, NAI and Trend Micro will begin integrating the Trust Agent into their offerings in mid-2004. The Network Admission Control system will only support Windows in its initial release.