McAfee gives Cisco Total Protection

* McAfee's Total Protection software now supports Cisco's NAC architecture

McAfee has upgraded its Total Protection software to support Cisco's NAC architecture.

This means customers that are Cisco shops with switches or other network devices upgraded enough to support a workable C-NAC deployment, can use McAfee's NAC software to check whether a device should be allowed on the network. It can then invoke Cisco gear to enforce admitting, quarantining or blocking the device.

The McAfee NAC software consists of three parts, Policy Enforcer server, which sets policies and checks whether machines logging on to networks comply with them, and Policy Enforcer sensor and Policy Enforcer scanner, both of which evaluate the security posture of individual machines and report back to the server. NAC can force machines that come up short to achieve compliance using McAfee's ePolicy Orchestrator. NAC can also trigger policy enforcement in these same machines.

Customers would use Policy Enforcer to create the access policies for individual machines or groups.

Companies deploying Microsoft Vista clients will have to wait if they want to use McAfee's new NAC software with Cisco gear. Specific support for C-NAC that comes with Vista has not been tested enough yet for McAfee to include support for it in this software release. McAfee does plan to support Cisco's NAC with Vista when it has been tested, the company says.

This combination of NAC technologies can work to customers' advantages especially if they are already customers of both McAfee and Cisco, which represents not an inconsiderable number. The combination offers more than just NAC because McAfee's Total Protection also includes antivirus software, antispyware and intrusion prevention for individual machines.

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