Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Cisco Systems’ John Chambers kicked off the focal RSA Security Conference in San Jose this week by revealing details about their companies' network access control strategies.
In addition, Microsoft, together with other security suppliers, unveiled the web portal for a new group called the SecureIT Alliance, which Microsoft began organising in October, and through which members will work with each other to make their offerings more effective in fighting security threats, especially in Windows environments.
A key topic for SecureIT Alliance members is Microsoft's Network Access Protection (NAP) technology, which is part of Microsoft's Vista desktop software, due out later this year. Vista is expected to provide a way, via NAP, to ensure that companies enforce security policies for anti-virus updates, patches or VPN use before they're allowed network access.
Cisco already has a similar network-access control strategy called Network Admission Control (NAC) with client software that works to enforce policies through Cisco switches and routers.
Juniper's Endpoint Defence Initiative is another key technology.
RSA’s conference often sets the security agenda for the coming year, and how Microsoft plans to work with the SecureIT Alliance to ensure that companies enforce security policies will make for interesting reading.