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Issue of April 2004 

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Cisco envisions self-defending networks

Cisco Systems announced a new initiative to counter viruses, worms and other threats. It made enhancements to its IOS software and will also introduce new hardware and security offerings—all components of its self-defending network strategy, designed to create an end-to-end security system. Self-defending networks will be able to identify threats, respond according to risk level, and reconfigure network resources where needed.

Cisco says the Self-Defending Network initiative is a multiphase security approach that improves network capability for identifying, preventing, and mitigating

security threats. Cisco Network Admission Control (NAC), the first program announced under the Cisco Self-Defending Network initiative, enables customers that use Cisco network infrastructure to limit damage from viruses and worms.

Developed in conjunction with anti-virus vendors like Network Associates, Symantec and Trend Micro, Cisco said the initiative will tackle the risks posed by mobile and remote workers who connect to corporate networks.

The NAC essentially detects noncompliant devices, those that may harbor viruses, and denies network access or quarantines the device until the network administrator can correct the problem.

Using NAC capabilities, organizations can provide network access to only endpoint devices, such as personal computers and servers that fully comply with established security policy.

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